Tech Analysis: Ferrari F14 T
As planned, today marked the launch of the F14 T – Ferrari’s 2014 creation. Outwardly different to its currently revealed competitors, the new-era Prancing Horse has some bold, calculated design choices that stand out from the rest so far.
Ferrari are the first team to truly step away from the “finger” nose concept, introducing an elegant design that almost encapsulates what the FIA were trying to achieve when writing the technical regulations for this season.
Whereas Force India went for a stepped chassis route to create more space beneath the car, Ferrari have gone down a similar path although it has been executed much more efficiently. The top of the chassis remains very high until swooping down steeply to the required 525mm front bulkhead line, continuing downwards to form the nose. No vanity panel is needed to gloss over the fairly sharp descent created along the top.
Although this creates the illusion of a stepped chassis, images of the car before it had been finished revealed that this is not the case. This creates space beneath the chassis without the violent step.
At the tip of the nose we find a very wide, thin cross section that makes up the 9000mm2 requirement, stretching back towards the car at a fairly shallow angle. Once the base of this area reaches the front bulkhead height at the bottom of the car, the nose tapers outwards and upwards to meet the width of the chassis. This allows airflow to pass freely either side of the chassis and through the suspension members.
To compliment this effect, camera pods (with small, angled extensions) are placed ahead of the suspension arms, aiding the efficiency of this process. Interestingly, Ferrari have stuck with their pull-rod front suspension for a third season running despite being less aerodynamically beneficial this season due to the lower chassis height.
The front wing pylons are very rounded and spread as far apart as possible in a very similar fashion to those on the MP4-29 released yesterday. The pylons then extend backwards to form a long, tight space for airflow to pass through. This creates a venturi effect, lowering air pressure beneath the nose to increase downforce as well as guiding it onto the under-chassis turning vanes. These vanes have been split into at least two segments, creating vortices to keep the front tyre wake away from the floor.
Finally, the front wing itself is new, but appears to be very basic on the launch car. Expect this 4 element solution to change as the testing period begins to unfold.
The size of the intakes of the F14 T’s sidepods are a little smaller than the McLaren we saw yesterday, but still larger than last year’s. They are heavily shrink-wrapped around the new Ferrari V6 turbo power unit beneath, tapering towards the centre of the car very quickly at the base of the ‘pods. This creates a rounded profile that allows the airflow to reach the floor more easily.
Two large outlets have been formed that exit at ahead of the rear suspension, creating an undercut where the bodywork tapers inwards.
Having the undercut allows for airflow to pass to the central section of the diffuser whilst maintaining a good cooling system for the power unit. The sidepods are formed in such a way that the downwash, formed by the two vanes placed above the air intakes, over the bodywork can still reach the floor without the large cooling outlet blocking its path.
The two outlet exits appear to be directed between the upper and lower wishbone arms. This is probably to make way for airflow to pass over the upper wishbone and act as a miniature beam wing.
Ferrari have chosen to mount the rear wing via two central pylons. Although the launch F14 T does not feature a Monkey Seat winglet, it will be placed immediately behind the two pylons above the exhaust pipe, as shown in the launch video Ferrari published.
Mounting the wing is this way comes down to how the diffuser and brake ducts interact with the lower portion of the wing’s endplates, which are slatted in the same way as last year’s F138. The endplates themselves have received an overhaul for 2014, with an additional ‘tyre squirt’ slot placed behind the existing one at the leading edge of the ‘plate.
The multiple horizontal slots that transfer high pressure airflow above the main plane out into the ambient pressure airflow passing around the endplates have also been reconfigured, forming a similar arrangement to those seen on recent McLarens.
Diffuser detail has been hidden for now, although this is common practice among all car launches as to not reveal too much detail to their opponents.
Images courtesy of Ferrari
William Tyson - a Mechanical Engineering student at Swansea University - has been writing about the technical side of Formula 1 since February 2013. After joining the Richland F1 team for 2014 he has continued to establish himself as a more rounded technical analyst whilst maintaining a healthy following on his blog.