For the final test at Barcelona, Ferrari brought the long awaited revisions to the F150 (although the cars name has frequently changed, I’ll continue to use this title). This consisted of a revised wings, new sidepods and new exhausts. It was Ferraris assertion at its launch that the car would have evolved aero and specifically different exhausts before the first race. So despite some people suggesting the changes are copying their rivals, it’s more likely that different teams have converged on the same ideas.
At the front the main changes are to the front wing and its supporting pylons. These pylons have been extended in a similar manner to Renaults ideas from 2009-2010. Since 2009 the rules on vanes and bargeboards around the front of the car have been severely restricted. The rules mandate a limit on the cross sectional area for the front wing mounts, Ferrari have therefore extended their wing mounts, but also narrowed them. Thus meeting the rules and still providing the car with some aero advantage.
3.7.2 Any horizontal section taken through bodywork located forward of a point lying 450mm forward of the front wheel centre line, less than 250mm from the car centre line, and between 125mm and 200mm above the reference plane, may only contain two closed symmetrical sections with a maximum total area of 5000mm2. The thickness of each section may not exceed 25mm when measured perpendicular to the car centre line.
Details of the front wing have also changed, in particular the endplates, these now feature a more sculpted vane on the footplate. As well as the endplate fro the main front wing, the inner endplate for the small cascade mounted to it is also now shapelier. The small endplate now having a distinctly flared shape, aimed at redirecting flow inside the front wing.
Along the middle section of car, Ferrari have produced a new sidepod, initially similar to the launch specification. But the main radiator inlet is now reshaped, being much more of a “U” shape and smaller with it. The sidepod inlet retains the distinctive protruding upper lip. I was told by Nick Tombasis that this was an aero feature and not a structural one (i.e. side impact crash protection). Curiously this lip features a removable panel to allow for cooling. Being so far forward of the radiators its hard to understand how heated radiator flow could be ducted into the small exit, or perhaps some electronics of KERS components are sited within this hollow section.
Further back along the sidepods, the new exhaust system is routed along the floor and into an open section of floor in the outboard 5cm section of diffuser. This is the same solution as Red Bull has come up with, as already explained this was an obvious area in the 2011 rules for exploitation, as I even proposed this location in my pre-season trends and solutions article. Ferrari route the flattened exhaust inside heat shielding along the floor. The blowing effect of the exhaust passes under the floor for a more effective method of blowing the diffuser. Ferrari wanted to produce the exhaust in glass ceramic composite (such as Pyrosic), but this request was denied by Charlie whiting who clarified the exhaust must be made of materials on the permitted materials list. Such composites, while allowed to be used in some exceptions, are not allowed to be the actual material of the exhaust pipe.
Also the middle of the car gained revised wing mirror pods. these appear to be split into upper and lower mouldings. Presumably to allow sensors or electronics to be fitted inside the pods during testing or free practice.
Lastly the rear wing has also been modified with a smaller flap. Several teams have switched their rear wing to smaller flaps, at first this is counter intuitive to the exploitation of the Drag reduction system (DRS) also termed the adjustable rear wing. As one would initially deduce that adjusting a larger flap would reduce drag by a greater amount. However, shallower flaps effectively flatten out when the leading edge is moved 50mm from the trailing edge of the main plane (50mm is the maximum slot gap allowed for the DRS). Thus they produce very little load and therefore little drag.