Having revised their exhaust position throughout the opening races, Ferrari had found some stability with their Mugello package. However, for the Canadian GP the team brought what will probably be their definitive set up for the year. Like most teams Ferrari have followed McLaren’s practice of a exiting the exhaust pipe out of the side and housing it within a duct to help the flow to be redirected inwards and downwards towards the diffuser footplate. This solution diffusers from McLaren’s in several areas, but like other teams who have followed the McLaren exhaust set up, the differences are a pragmatic approach to save having to redesign the entire sidepod package. The team have also brought revised brake ducts, turning vanes and a Canada specific wing package to Montreal.
Much as I proposed back at the Mugello test, Ferrari have retained the tighter sidepod shape of the Mugello package and slotted a new opening for the exhaust to exit through, the cooling outlet now sitting at the tail of the sidepods coke bottle shape. This effectively rids the car of most of the philosophy of the launch spec ‘Acer’ ducts.
Despite the exhaust tailpipe pointing upwards and outwards, apparently over the rear tyres, the plume actually gets diverted by the crossflow towards the gap between the rear tyre and the diffuser. Air flowing over and around the sidepod meets the exhaust plume and forces it downwards and inwards. This replicates some of the effect of the 2011 Exhaust blown diffuser. So far, Sauber, Williams, Toro Rosso, and Force India have all followed this path.
Other detail changes to the Ferrari in Canada are the continued testing of the curved turning vanes under the front suspension. Rather than the “L” shaped vanes hanging below the nose cone, the front of the monocoque gains a pair of curved vanes. Sauber and Renault (now Lotus) have run these for a few years. Mid way through last year Red Bull adopted a similar solution, Ferrari’s iteration is even curvier and the vanes diverge far more than the Red Bulls relatively parallel design. Although akin to Red Bull they have split each vane into two sections. These will help direct the airflow across the lower leading edge of the floor for better diffuser performance.
Front Brake Ducts
A detail that I have tweeted about for over a year, but have yet to fully explain in the blog is the scoopless front brake ducts. For some time now, teams have been altering the method of ducting air to the front brakes. The rules allow brake ducts to sit 12cm inboard of the wheel rim and as far forward as the perimeter of the tyre. Typically we see a vane lead forwards from the drum shaped brake duct inside the wheel, wrapping tightly around the profile of the front tyre. Then a large scoop directs air in through the middle of the drum duct. It’s well known all these vanes and flicks on the brake duct area are nothing to do with brake cooling and all to do with aero efficiency in diverting airflow around the spinning tyre.
Increasingly teams are moving the leading vane away from the tyre and allowing the air that passes between the tyre and the vane to enter the drum duct and cool the brakes. This then allows the team to run smaller scoops for less drag. An additional benefit is the now flat and unobstructed outer face of the brake duct, which works better to direct airflow around the tyre. This year Williams went as far as having a brake duct with no outer scoop whatsoever, all the cooling required for the brakes passes through the gap formed between the tyre and the vane. Despite Canada have high braking demands, the brake do cool between braking zones, so with high speeds requiring low drag, teams opt to fit relatively small brake ducts. Ferrari have taken this opportunity to reduce their front brake duct drag by opting for the scoopless design.