Although technical director Enrique Cardele labels the new Ferrari SF-24 a “major departure” from the 2022 and 23 models, there is a lot that feels very familiar.
The change in aerodynamic concept, which is at the heart of the Cardell Manifesto, is a move away from washed-out side fascias towards what has become a more traditional, undercut style. This is just a visual giveaway of the change in how the flow is distributed under the floor.
First look: Ferrari unveils new SF-24 ahead of the 2024 season
Moving the lower side shock bar down has allowed the front to be cut out of the side much more than was the case last year.
The car also gained Red Bull-like lower lips before the radiator inlets above the bottom to give a less aerodynamically disruptive path for air spills once the radiator inlet is submerged at speed.
The side slope is steeper than last year but is still at a moderate angle compared to the other 24 cars seen so far. There is also no discernible “water slide” groove in the upper surface.
The nose is wide, like last year, and the car retains its previous front push bar/rear pull bar layout, although there has been a slight tweak to the upper wishbone angles to enhance the anti-dive effect at the front and anti-squat at the rear.
We understand that the gearbox housing has been shortened by approximately 5cm (and the body length increased by the same amount to retain the same overall length). This gives more volume around the diffuser for aerodynamicists to exploit.
GALLERY: Take a look at every angle of Ferrari's new F1 car, the SF-24
Combined with the more undercut side aspect, the airflow along the edges of the floor and in the gap around the diffuser should be greatly enhanced, thus acting on the subfloor more strongly. All of this will have implications on the optimal shape of the channels within the floor.
Activating airflow through these tunnels is the absolute key to performance, but this flow must be robust to still provide good characteristics at high ride height/low speeds and at various angles of roll and pitch. Ferrari hopes this will eliminate the tendency of last year's car to suffer a sudden loss of rear aerodynamic stability at high speeds, which made the car difficult to drive at the limit for most of the year.
Cardell stresses that much of the focus on the SF-24 was on giving drivers confidence. “We took what drivers told us and turned those ideas into engineering reality with the aim of giving them a car that is easier to drive and therefore easier to get the most out of and push to the limits.
“We did not set ourselves any design constraints other than to deliver a powerful, honest race car that could reproduce what we see in the wind tunnel on the race track.”
This process of realigning priorities was already underway in the latter part of last season and was responsible for improving the car's competitiveness late in the season. However, those same priorities have been built into this car, and moving away from the airwash philosophy should theoretically make that easier to achieve.
As it happens – the latest news with Ferrari launching the new SF-24
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