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Ferrari: Mid-field to front-runner in nine races- a look at their development race
Monday 16th July 2012, 01:04 by Ryan Wood
Ferrari have done what many teams could never achieve in a single season, and that's to go from having a mid-field car, to front-runners capable of winning races.
Whilst the Maranello based outfit may have the best resources and the biggest budget at its disposal, development pace as shown by Ferrari doesn't happen often within Formula 1 no matter the team.
They've have managed to come from 1.5 seconds off the pace when both Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa failed to qualify in the top ten in Australia, to having the second quickest car (currently behind Red Bull) and taking pole and fifth just eight races later in Britain.
How have they achieved such a feat? Constant development at every single grand prix is the answer. Whilst most teams will bring minor updates to most races and a larger package to few, the opposite can be said for Ferrari.
The main hurdle the Italian marque had to overcome was the complicated exhaust layout. Ferrari have so far been through three different iterations, before finally settling on a similar system to McLaren which exits at the sidepod and features a channel to direct air toward the diffuser, using downwash coming from the sidepods.
With the new exhaust layout, changes have had to be made to the subfloor too. In order to direct the airflow better, vertical fins have been added, reducing airflow to the tyres, which is of course wasted.
(1) Shows the air entering the scoop, but this has been done away with (2) by channeling air between the tyre wall and vane.
Another visual change is the scoop-less brake ducts. Ferrari didn't invent the system, but they've managed to make it work. The new cooling system is a somewhat reversal of what we've come to expect. Teams have, in the past, concentrated on positioning the protruding vane as close to the tyre as possible, therefore decreasing airflow disruption caused by the scoops which direct air to the brakes.
The new innovation now sees the teams creating a large gap between the vane and inner-tyre wall to create a channel which cools the brakes, therefore doing away with the scoops which have a negative effect on aerodynamics.
These are just a few of the larger changes, but the many smaller ones account for just as much in terms of lap-time gain. The video below highlights some of these smaller areas of development.