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Taking a more in-depth look at the SF23, Ferrari’s latest F1 car



depth look SF23 F1
@Ferrari SF-23

Ferrari’s 2023 Formula 1 car, the SF23, shares a similar aerodynamic design as their 2022 model. During the SF-23’s debut in Maranello, observant viewers noticed that Ferrari was using slot-gap generators that resemble the ones that Mercedes used but were banned last season.

Mercedes tested the design during the Mexican Grand Prix practice, but refrained from using it during qualifying and the race to avoid potential protests.

The design was eventually prohibited for aerodynamic purposes, which went against the intended effect of the 2022 cars, designed to facilitate closer racing.

Although refined, the radiator intake and front corner undercut on the sidepod of the SF23 remain largely unchanged from its predecessor.

Ferrari SF-23

The ‘bathtub’ top surface on the sidepod has been retained by Ferrari in the SF23, albeit with fewer louvres. These louvres are likely to be adjustable to meet the specific cooling demands of each track.

Comparing the SF23 with its predecessor, it appears that the bathtub sidepod top surface has been toned down. Additionally, the exit louvres situated just behind the top part of the radiator are expected to enhance cooling efficiency in that region.

In the SF23, the sidepod inlet extends further around the corner and is longer and flatter than its predecessor, resulting in a similar open area. However, the inlet’s underside is likely higher, creating more space for the undercut.


The front corner undercut in the SF23 is more visually appealing compared to its predecessor. The new design features a less steep outer body surface that is better suited to handle changes in airflow direction. This is crucial in creating a sturdy surface that can handle different airflow conditions, particularly when the front wheels are steered. The difference in airflow around this area during fast corners compared to slow-speed corners is significant.

depth look SF23 F1

The use of unpainted carbon on various surfaces of the SF23 is notable, as it helps to reduce the car’s weight. This highlights the ongoing challenge faced by top teams to meet the strict weight limit regulations in Formula 1.

Compared to the previous year’s model, the front wing of the SF23 has undergone changes, featuring the now-common full-width slot gap between the front element and the second element (highlighted in green in the image below).

In the SF23, the trailing edge of the rear flap of the front wing (highlighted in red in the image below) remains relatively consistent towards the outboard before dropping off rapidly towards the inside of the front tire.

depth look SF23 F1

The SF23’s front wing design, with a consistent trailing edge towards the outboard before dropping off quickly towards the inside of the front tire, is expected to create a reasonably stable airflow between the inside of the front wheels and the chassis, even with varying front wing angles in that region. This design also enables the flow from the top surface of the front wing to connect to the tire squirt, resulting in maximum outwash as the airflow is expelled when the rotating front wheel makes contact with the track surface.

Ferrari has emphasized outwash with its SF23 design, utilizing vanes (indicated by the magenta ellipse in the image above) to direct airflow towards the outboard. The current regulations have attempted to reduce outwash, so it’s likely that the FIA will scrutinize these vanes closely.

The legality of the vanes highlighted in the magenta ellipse is in question due to the way they connect the third and fourth wing flaps.

depth look SF23 F1

At the 2022 United States Grand Prix, Mercedes introduced a solution involving brackets (as shown in the image below) but had to remove them after the FIA requested it.

Mercedes’ decision to use the brackets on their car implies that the geometry of the vanes was within the bounds of the regulations. The FIA’s decision to intervene and ask for their removal was likely based on their interpretation of the vanes’ intent and purpose, rather than any technical violation.

The regulations for the use of components like the vanes highlighted in the magenta ellipse have been revised for the current year, with specific limitations placed on their quantity, overall size, and curvature.

Given that the regulations have been revised to place specific limits on these types of components, it can be assumed that Ferrari’s design for the SF23 complies with the new rules. However, it ultimately falls to the FIA to verify whether the design adheres to the technical regulations.

There appears to be a difference between the three outer vanes and the inner two on the SF23. Ferrari may be trying to justify this design by arguing that each vane is serving a unique purpose, but it remains to be seen whether the FIA will accept this explanation.

In addition to meeting the technical regulations, there is also the matter of “primary purpose,” meaning that even if a component is considered legal and serves a specific purpose, if the FIA believes that it is primarily intended for aerodynamic gain, it could result in penalties or disqualification.

In order to minimize turbulence generated by the front tyre, it is critical to divert as much of the tyre squirt as possible towards the outboard. If the airflow moves inboard, it can have a detrimental effect on the airflow at the leading edge of the sidepods and underfloor of the car.

depth look SF23 F1

The SF23’s front suspension utilizes a pushrod-driven inner damper (highlighted in yellow) with a spring or torsion bar to support the car. The wishbone pick-ups at the chassis (highlighted in green) feature a slight amount of anti-squat/anti-lift, helping to support the front of the car and reduce ride height changes during braking load shifts.

The SF23’s steering track rod (highlighted in magenta) is positioned low down in front of the lower front wishbone’s forward leg, but slightly higher.

The curvature of the upper surface of the forward leg of the top wishbone on the SF23 is noteworthy. Typically, this component would be a simple symmetrical aerodynamic profile, but the 3.5:1 ratio regulation governs its curvature.

Ferrari’s design for the upper surface of the forward leg of the top wishbone in the SF23 appears to generate a one-sided aerodynamic profile, similar to an upside-down wing. This design is likely optimized to manage the airflow off the trailing edge of the front wing and reorient it to enhance the leading edge of the sidepod’s performance.

The SF23’s rear suspension layout utilizes pushrod operation and is similar to its predecessor. However, the inboard mounting for the forward leg of the top wishbone appears to be slightly lower in position, increasing the anti-lift effect and helping to reduce the rear ride-height changes during braking.

In the SF23, the body profile in the coke bottle region – where the car tapers towards the rear tires – is somewhat more bulbous than its predecessor. This design choice deviates notably from what has been seen in other cars, and it remains to be seen how effective it will be. The commentator is unsure if this design solution is optimal.

depth look SF23 F1 depth look SF23 F1 depth look SF23 F1

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