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  • Writer's pictureToni Sokolov

Ferrari SF-24 car analysis and comparison to SF-23


Ferrari SF-24 F1 Car
Credit: Scuderia Ferrari Media

The most anticipated F1 car got revealed on February 13th. Scuderia Ferrari SF-24 with a quick launch video and filming day in Maranello at their Fiorano factory track. The car went through a complete overhaul in its technical department and overall aero concept. It was necessary after Ferrari had a disappointing half of 2022 season and much worse 2023 F1 season, with Red Bull completely dominating the field on and off the track.


Ferrari presented us with the renders that match 1/1 with the real car seen at their filming day from two days ago. With that we can dive into the small analysis, with a further analysis in the coming weeks and testing that's starting on February 21st in Bahrain.


ANALYSIS AND COMPARISON



Macro changes in comparison to last year's Ferrari SF-23 are very visible. A complete change in philosophy on the sidepod design that went "conservative" in comparison to the famous "bathtub" design that was innovative back in 2022 with the F1-75 car. So, Ferrari went with a downwash route with much smaller dents that are more similar to what Alpine had last year and this year. Not as extreme on that front, but Ferrari went with a much deeper undercut in comparison to last year's concept. This will improve the airflow towards the rear diffuser which wasn't possible to do in the last couple of years with a much wider bathtub concept with less sculpturing with the undercut.


What is also interesting is a new halo "vein" that grew from the sides of the halo. This is probably made for better flow optimization but wasn't there on the other cars that we have on the grid. Underneath the new vein, Ferrari kept the S-duct exhaust that scoops the air from the intake that's positioned on the front part of the chassis. S-duct is a Ferrari invention back from the 2007-8 seasons that they still use on their F1 cars with the main function of better air attachment to the aero surfaces and overall cleaner air in that area. In this area of the car, the changes are drastic and very visible in comparison to the 2023 launch car.



With a rear-top view, we can see further changes that Ferrari made with their new car and philosophy. Much tighter bodywork and stretched-out sidepods with a proper downwash ramp that wasn't possible last season with Ferrari's emergency changes from Spain onwards. Also, it's interesting to see that Ferrari adopted "Merc style" shoulders behind the central intake, just not as extreme as Mercedes did last year or this year's Red Bull RB20. Teams did see some benefit in having better control of the air towards the rear wing and beam wing underneath.



From the front of the car, we can notice that Ferrari moved away from the small wing adjusters that were designed to create a small outwash towards the outer part of the front tires. I can't speculate on this change made by Ferrari, but it's definitely surprising to see them gone. Also, Enrico Cardile decided to go with a much wider and flatter nose design for the 2024. This is also a surprising change, but the most possible reason for this change is a different airflow control not only on top of the nose but bottom side of the nose and the way the air will work the floor edges at the front.



From this angle, we can see further improvements and changes that Ferrari made on their SF-24 challenger. The important thing is that the push-rod on the front is still there, and the pull-rod configuration on the rear is kept on the new car. Ferrari did make changes with better anti-dive and more flexible setup options that were crucially missing from SF-23, but Ferrari isn't going in the direction that others took with push-rod configuration for the rear suspension. This leaves only Ferrari and customer Haas that will run with this configuration in 2024 and probably the 2025 season.


We can also see the cooling/S-duct entry underneath the sidepod cooling entry. This section is probably split for cooling and S-duct as the entry is big enough to possibly cool some ECU elements if needed. Also, Ferrari adopted that "lip" from last year's Red Bull car under the sidepods for better flow control and a better undercut potential for that area.



Lastly, we have a side view of the new car in which we can see that Ferrari positioned SIS (side-impact structure) into the floor area for more aero gains. Last year Ferrari's SIS obstructed their sidepod upgrades due to not having the same potential for an undercut. This year, they've dropped it in a lower position, so they have a much cleaner airflow and more space for aero gains in this area. We can also see a much bulkier engine cover bodywork for better flow control towards the rear of the car. 


Conclusion:

The Ferrari SF-24 doesn't seem like a car that brings any innovations. At least for now. Ferrari has a challenge to understand the new concept they adopted in 2023. And this is what the Ferrari SF-24 feels like. Car with solutions from 2023, without many risks or innovations that would make it stick above the others. This may be the better platform going forward, with higher development potential in comparison to last year's car concept which had obvious development limits. Ferrari needs to improve a lot to catch on Red Bull and defend itself from the competition in Mercedes and McLaren, and this is what will be their battle at the start of the season.






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