Newsletter 59 – FERRARI SF-23
The Ferrari SF-23
Ferrari’s 2023 Formula 1 Challenger may look like a natural development of the previous year’s fast but underperforming car, but the team describes it as a complete redesign. There are major aerodynamic and mechanical changes to improve performance and achieve the characteristics the team needs.
The new car is designed around more vertical downforce, adapting further to the new rules that came in last year, and also suspension changes that have been made to improve the aero and give the team more set-up options.
It’s impossible, at this stage, to say if Ferrari have achieved its objectives, but given the speed of last year’s car an improved version of its visually distinctive concept, combined with a reliable power unit package, it could be enough to make Ferrari a genuine Championship contender.
The Ferrari sf-23 follows the same aerodynamic template of the 2022 car, rather than going with the trend of others in copying Red Bull’s design. The radiator intake and the undercut at the front corner of the side pod have been optimized but have not significantly changed.
Ferrari has compacted the side pod under the radiator inlets and extended the upper shoulder, moving some of the radiator area upwards and rearwards to create that space.
All of that coupled with the vortex shedding front Wing slot Gap separators, suggests they are trying to feed the inlets more aggressively than before.
The radiator rearrangement is not so extensive however, as to require the rear exit cooling cannons, seen on Red Bull last year and many others this year.
The side pod front corner undercuts are a bit more aesthetically pleasing than last year. It’s not quite as vertical, which will be more sympathetic to airflow direction changes.
The SF-23 also retains a distinctive scallop shape of the top surface of the side pods. The top surface shape is not quite as dramatic as last year, the exit louvers just beyond the top section of the radiator will improve the efficiency of the cooling in this area.
The front suspension is a pushrod configuration, where the wishbone pickups mount to the chassis. There’s a small amount of anti-lift to help support the front of the car and reduce the ride height change, under braking loads. The steering track rod is low down Infront of, but slightly higher than the forward leg of the lower front Wishbone.
What also stands out is the amount of unpainted carbon fibre on a few of the surfaces, to save a few crucial grams of weight. That shows the 798-kilo minimum weight limit is still very difficult to hit.
Given last year’s engine problems, new Ferrari team principal Frederick Vasseur has declared reliability to be the top priority for 2023, above even strategic improvements and gains on tyre management.
Ferrari already had potentially the most potent engine in F1 last year. If its reliability problems have been solved it will finally be able to make the most of that performance, with an improved version of a concept that proved stunningly fast last year and better reliability, Ferrari could be a formidable team in 2023, that’s why there’s a real sense of optimism at Ferrari
If you enjoyed this article read our Formula 1 rant here.