Ferrari, not just the engine: key to redemption is also aerodynamic performance
Efficiency is an important word: it means the ability to succeed in what are your functions or to be able to achieve your purpose. The efficiency of an F1 car, on the other hand, is a much more technical concept, which concerns the relationship between the aerodynamic load generated and the drag of the car.
In other words, a single-seater is efficient if it manages to have good grip (and therefore remains flattened to the ground when cornering) but the grip generated does not slow it down too much on the straight, driving it like a brick in the middle of the track when it comes to opening wide the gas.
One of the weaknesses of the damned and unfortunate SF1000 was precisely the “drag”, or the resistance generated by the car body, an issue that, combined with the engine crippled by the agreement with the FIA, contributed to the literal slowness of the last single-seater of the Prancing Horse.
2021, as we know, is the famous – yet another – year of transition. The cars will remain largely unchanged, with the teams being able to spend only two tokens to intervene in the most crucial areas. On the other hand, the development of the engine and the aerodynamic look is free. Two fundamental points for the eventual and desired redemption of a Red that would at least like to return to the fight for third place.
We are talking, therefore, of the new power unit as a decisive factor. With a good engine, Ferrari should already take a substantial step forward, but still it would not be enough. This is why technical director Enrico Cardile and the aerodynamics department led by David Sanchez (a technician in which Mattia Binotto places great trust) are hard at work to develop the SF21, taking care of the smallest details, an SF1 that should have a renewed “heart” (rumored to be 30 hp more) and should match a suit that this time should look better: the hope is in fact based entirely on the tokens spent for the rear and on the aerodynamic elements.
The goal is to find mechanical and aerodynamic grip to the rear, compensating for the load that will be missing due to the reduction of the bottom, according to the 2021 regulation. The revised aerodynamics will have to make the car more performing and avoid having a single-seater with little grip when cornering and “heavy” on the straight. A car that can cut through the air and not hit it like a wall.
Even with a competitive engine, the SF1000 would have been slower than the SF90, precisely because it was less aerodynamically efficient. The SF21, in the designers’ ideas, should recover the efficiency of the SF90, and the renewed engine should do the rest, allowing Ferrari to be stable in the corners and no longer slow on the straights.
Scenes like those seen at Mugello, Monza or Bahrain were too humiliating. Even a super engine wouldn’t be enough for the Maranello team to raise its head, so a car that is competitive overall, aerodynamically refined and with a rear well glued to the ground would be needed.
Assuming that the new power unit will inevitably be better than the “penalized” one of 2020, all that remains is to hope (like Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz also hope) that the team as “reorganized” by the Mattia Binotto will be able to pull out a car that can cut through the air and is drivable.
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