29
Jan
11

2011 Ferrari F150

Yep, the name still makes me smirk.

As usual for the past couple years, Ferrari have unveiled their 2011 contender ahead of the rest of the field, and again as usual they’ve put together a rather conservative design.  Here she is:

Rather than make my readers suffer through my half-informed wild-assed prognostication (as I did last year), I’ll simply direct you to Craig Scarborough’s frighteningly well-informed wild-assed prognostication:

I can’t, however, resist a few comments.

First of all, the F150’s most notable design characteristic is its similarity to the F10.  While the F10 was never a noticeably better chassis than the Red Bull RB6 last year, it was generally pretty close, and worked pretty well pretty much everywhere.  Since no-one really knows what’s going to happen with the new tires (see also the 2010 Bahrain GP) or the flappy rear wing gimmick, wait-and-see seems like a reasonable approach.

On the other hand, it’s not obvious that Ferrari have taken steps to recoup the lost downforce from the (for real this time guys!) double-diffuser ban.  Notably, the car features a pushrod rear suspension, while internet consensus is that pullrods are going to be de rigueur at the ass end of the car.  In 2009, McLaren went into the season with much less downforce than many of their competitors (chiefly the double-diffuser teams of BrawnGP, Williams, and Toyota, but also of course Red Bull), and suffered for it ’til mid-season.  We won’t really find out whether this is or isn’t the case with the F150 until Bahrain, but what the hell, I’m speculating on the internet.

Speaking of which, Scarbs comments that

Ferrari were rumoured around the pit lane to have run an interconnected suspension system last year. The front and rear suspension being linked to control the cars attitude. This could either be to control pitch (the nose rising or lowering through acceleration/braking) or warp (a mix of pitch and roll). Apparently used by Toyota and Williams without success in the past, this passive system could aid aerodynamics by keeping the underfloor in the correct attitude relative the track. However the front and rear suspensions may be interlinked, the rear suspension is certainly well packaged.

Is that legal?  I guess we would have heard a lot more about it last year if it wasn’t.  (How would you do that?  Shared fluid reservoir between the front and rear third dampers?)  At any rate, it’s pretty awesome.

Another noticeable difference between the F150 (at launch) and the F10 (at launch) is that the 2011 car has rather smaller airbox and sidepod inlets.  This speaks first of all to an effort to reduce drag and second of all to incrementally cleaner airflow to the rear wing.

2011 sees the welcome return of KERS, and Ferrari are one of three teams with significant experience with KERS from the 2009 season.  (I’m not counting Sauber, since BMW dropped KERS in the middle of 2009.)

More commentary on this f1technical forum thread.

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