The 2019 Formula One season will see some rule changes and, as part of this, Ferrari is adapting its front wing specification to fall in line with these new regulations. In this article we take a look at whether this will have any impact.
Put simply, the new regulations encourage closer racing between cars – heightening the excitement for spectators at the Monaco F1 Paddock Club, as well as others around the world. Ferrari’s testing hoped to develop a keener aerodynamic formula but in reality, 2019 front wings will be wider and deeper, thereby managing tyre airflow in an entirely different manner.
The test was run at an Abu Dhabi pre-2019 free practice session on Kimi Raikkonen’s car, removing parts of the wing on the mainplane as well as adapting its endplates. Its aim was to assess the pressure distributions behind each of the wheels. As part of the test, this was then compared with a conventional front wing, in order to help Ferrari understand the part played by smaller components. The test uncovered reduced outwash without the turning vanes, meaning more airflow within the tyres, creating more wake and therefore a less positive effect on the floor.
A positive note
On a positive note, Ferrari’s test was undertaken in real-time conditions and not as a simulation exercise.
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Only five wing elements are allowed next season with two strakes attached to the underside. Next season’s regulations also include a larger radius of curvature on the next generation of front wings. Other tests, which weren’t incorporated, included trialling a new floor on Vettel’s car, to understand airflow changes.
A step back in time
The Italian motorsport manufacturer Ferrari traces its roots back all the way to 1929 when Enzo Ferrari, having left Alfa Romeo, launched the Scuderia Ferrari racing team. Unlike many similar yet independent companies, Fiat Group-owned Ferrari continued to thrive after the death of its charismatic and charming founder and is today one of the most successful sports car companies in the world. In January 2016, Ferrari announced it was splitting off from its former parent company Fiat Chrysler Automobiles.