Why Ferrari has gone back to old ideas to move forward

Ferrari has been working hard in recent races trying out a raft of updates in a bid to make the progress it wants with its SF1000.

In order to get the best out of it car though, Ferrari has not only been looking to introduce a stream of new parts. It has also rummaged through some of its old design ideas and reapplied them to this year's car too.

One such idea that has returned in recent races but escaped our gaze until now is a roof panel for the coke bottle trench to form a tunnel.

Ferrari SF1000 detail
Ferrari SF1000 floor detail

It’s a solution that the team has had for the last few seasons but discarded going into 2020. However, it had left behind the trench in the floor, in order that more airflow could make its way through the coke bottle region and under the gearbox, before exiting over the central portion of the diffuser.

As we can see from the specification used in Russia, a small strap-like appendage remained: perhaps in an attempt to funnel the airflow that might be leaking out at that point.

The retrograde solution, introduced at Portimao, is more substantial and reaches forward to create the sort of tunnel section previously favored by the Scuderia.

Ferrari SF1000 floor tunnel detail
Ferrari SF71H floor channels

As we can see from the front, the tunnel extends out under the lower wishbone (red arrow) in order to give the airflow flowing into the trench a pathway to follow, rather than being able to spill out over the sides.

Looking back through the design lineage of this section of the car, the trench itself predates even this ruleset, with Ferrari having in mind to use such a solution as far back as 2016 (left inset).

For its next phase of development it obviously saw fit to include the roof panel in order to isolate that flow so that it works with the corresponding diffuser layout.

Taking two steps back to stride forward

Based on these retrogrades, it’s clear to see that the team has taken a large step back in its development programme, with the majority of the changes made to the rear-end of their floor and diffuser for this season now largely dumped. 

It’s also interesting that it decided to make this u-turn at a point when it was investigating the effects of the 2021 regulations too, seeing as the changes are focused largely on the floor, diffuser and rear brake ducts.

Ferrari SF1000 floor detail with 2021 rules

Ferrari SF1000 floor detail with 2021 rules

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

This would suggest that, whilst investigating the 2021 regulations, it discovered that this along with the accompanying retrogrades to its diffuser, floor and other areas of the car, yielded the best development path going forward. 

Three pronged attack

The Scuderia has made a succession of changes to the SF1000 over the last few races, all smaller changes that add up to a much larger package. Here we take a look through them...

Ferrari SF1000 nose inlet detail

Ferrari SF1000 nose inlet detail

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

At the Russian GP, the team focused on the front of the car, adopting a revised layout for its plough that captures airflow beside the nose tip and delivers it with more accuracy to the aerodynamic surfaces behind it. As we can see, this resulted in the team expanding the opening beside the nose tip.


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