This is the media event we’ve all been waiting for. Not Apple’s iPad launch, nor Obama’s State of the Union address, but the first Formula One car launch of 2010. (Perhaps I’m mistaken, but I’m given to understand that Mercedes GP unveiled their new livery on the BGP01.) Anyway, here’s the monster from Maranello:
The biggest visual difference from last year is the front end of the car, which looks an awful lot like the Red Bull RB5 — only with a wider, Williams-ish nose and slightly more complex front wing endplates. I’m not at all surprised that Scuderia Ferrari adopted some of Adrian Newey’s ideas — they’d be foolish not to. Looks to me like the front wing is managing airflow around the front wheels more aggressively than the F60 did, which makes sense as wheel fairings are on the verboten list this year. Let’s have a look from the front:
Look at those suspension links: that’s gonna put the front roll centre force application points well above the ground. I guess jacking forces are pretty minimal compared to the downforce you get from that bigass front wing, and feeding clean air to the underbody is a higher priority than mechanical grip from suspension geometry. I knew that Formula One put great emphasis on aero efficiency, but I didn’t think it was this extreme. (Looking back, instant centres have been this high since at least 2008.)
Okay, so, aero. The front endplates look well-designed to channel air around the outside of the tires and create vortices to seal off the low-pressure region behind them. Four planes on the front wing, but the last one (outside, behind the adjustable flap) looks like it’s more for conditioning the air coming off the wing than for creating raw downforce. I bet the tip vortices from the raised forward wing elements flow right into the brake ducts. The barge-boards look beefier than last year’s models, and the camera fairings look like they’re placed to interact with the suspension links, the barge-boards, and the sidepod inlets. The clever mirror mounts are, happily, still around.
From the side, the car’s high and thin nose is even more obvious. I swear the airbox intake is “inspired by” the RB5 as well, although McLaren did the same thing on the MP4-23. I’m a bit surprised that there’s no shark fin to control air flow to the rear wing (did the FIA go and ban them for 2010? They were great for advertisers liveries), but it’s early days yet.
Generally I think I’m looking at a car that’s much more serious about controlling air over and especially under the nose section than the F60 ever was. That lesson was well-learned from the MP4-24 (which introduced a double-deck diffuser before it had the front-end aero to feed it properly) and especially the RB5 (which introduced a double-deck diffuser only when it had the front-end aero to feed it properly).
Update: Apparently it’s called the F10. Uh, okay. Names don’t mean things any more, but one could be forgiven for thinking that the F10 is a massive step back from the F60, if one had only come across the name.
Super high-resolution photos are up at gurneyflap. A number of interesting details can be seen therein, like the fact that the F10 has much more compact rear end packaging than the F60, comparable to the RB5, but with pushrod rear suspension. (The virtue of the RB5’s pullrod rear suspension was that it placed the springs, dampers, and &c. near the floor of the car, lowering its CG and reducing the height of the engine cover for better airflow to the rear wing.)
The gurneyflap photos also show two winglets just in front of the sidepod intakes, similar to the mirror mounts on the BGP01 but without, you know, mirrors on them. It might be more appropriate to say that the BGP01’s mirror mounts were similar to the F2008’s arrow-head fins, only smaller, closer to the cockpit, and with mirrors on them. So between the outboard mirror mounts and the sculpted sidepod profile (look at the front view, they’re clearly sloping down toward the car’s centreline as they meet the airbox), I suspect that a lot of attention to detail has gone into keeping the airflow over the car and under the rear wing’s main element smooth and well-attached. I’d guess that the outboard mirrors generate less turbulence over the airbox cover, and might even help reduce lift at the rear tires.
Finally, here’s a thread on the F60’s development over 2009 from the impressively-dedicated bar555. It’s useful to compare the season-end car from last year to the pre-testing car this year. In particular, the much-ballyhooed front wing endplates haven’t changed that much since Singapore, but the fourth element is new front and rear wings are both bolted on from the end-of-season F60 rather than new developments; I’m an idiot — and the exhaust outlets are much further forward.