Silverstone brought Ferrari’s major mid-season upgrade to the F150, which was effectively a complete new rear end package. Their upgrade comprised of new exhausts, rear suspension, engine cover, diffuser and rear wing. While the changing rules and weather conditions made it hard to judge if their win was a result of these changes, it was clear that the car had found new pace in fast turns. This in its self is a sign of improved downforce, one of the aims of the upgrade.
Ferrari have been open throughout the year in stating they lack downforce and struggle to get heat into the tyres. The former issue hurts pace on faster turns, while the latter has the combined effect of lost pace on harder tyres and poor single lap qualifying pace.
Again Ferrari s honesty in saying the car was not aggressive or innovative, was clear from its launch. Red Bull, McLaren and other teams tried new ideas. Not all these created the package to beat Ferrari, but Red Bull and McLaren were well ahead of Ferrari in the aero race early in the season.
It seems Ferrari chose to make the car as soft on its rear tyres as possible; as the original expectation was that the Pirelli rear tyres would degrade more rapidly. Certainly Ferrari have been easy on their tyres, but the flipside of this characteristic is that the car can struggle to get heat into the tyres. This is why their pace at Barcelona on the hard tyre was so poor and why they struggle to get the pace on a single flying lap qualifying run.
So with this Silverstone package these areas were addressed and the initial signs are the car has improved.
Firstly the rear wing was all new, aerodynamically, structurally and with its DRS operation. Their new rear wing no longer used a central pylon to support the upper wing and house the DRS actuator. This clears up the underside of the wing from obstructions; this was probably not to reduce the minimal amount of drag created by the support, but more to removes its turbulence from the underside of the wing. Perhaps this will aid the reattachment of the air flow when the DRS closes the flap. Instead the DRS actuator is inside a small pod above the wing, where it will less affect the airflow. Cabling and hydraulic lines to the actuator route inside the wing and endplates. As the pylon has been removed there remains a small section of it on the crash structure ahead of the beam wing (highlighted).
Ferrari have been playing with their rear suspension layout for several races. Visibly the main change appears to be where the upper wishbone meets the upright. This has been moved away from the wheel, by making extending the position of the pickup point on the on the upright. This creates a shorter upper wishbone. The effect of this would be more camber change and lateral scrub as the suspension is compressed. In simple terms as the cargoes down on its suspension the wheel will tilt inwards more and slide across the track surface towards the centre of the car. Both these actions move the tyre about a lot more and help create heat in the tyre. This is how Ferrari have been able to get their tyres into their operating temperature window.
The team ran a new engine cover, with the tail of the sidepods formed in a tighter shape, with some of the cooling accommodated by louvers in the tail of the coke bottle shape.
Lastly the floor and exhaust were subtly changed, with the exhaust pipe shape being altered and the cut away sections of floor being a different profile. Unlike Red Bull, Ferrari have not gone very far in aiming exhaust flow under the car. However they have still gone further than the other teams running the outer blown diffuser. The floor in between the tyre and the diffuser is no longer carbon fibre. But instead a plate of titanium, pictures show this flat metal floor is fully exposed and carefully curved to invite some flow to pass under it. Changes in this area no doubt were made with the 10% engine mapping rule in mind, but also as the diffuser itself used a new geometry.
The next series of races with fast turns and harder compound tyres will prove if Ferrari have reversed their cars characteristics and can take the fight to Red Bull for the remaining ten races