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10 Apr 2015

Much has been made of Ferrari's improved pace but little tangible evidence to explain the giant leap.  It is clear the team have simply rectified many issues that have plagued them for several seasons and the SF15-T is clearly much kinder on it's tyres than it's predecessors, which will stand the team in good stead for strategy calls throughout the season.

Aerodynamically the Scuderia have struggled with several key areas for some time now, with the team hurrying through upgrades too quickly, often resulting in components that didn't resolve the problems at hand.  Since his arrival James Allison has installed a different structure, with a more pragmatic approach, addressing the core issues.

An area where Ferrari are leading the way this season is their sidepod cooling package, which has allowed the team to close down the cooling outlets at the rear of the car, which in turn will reduce their aerodynamic inefficiencies.

Before we have a look at their solution lets just examine how the radiators in an F1 car differ to those we see on our road cars too.
In the example above, left (showing a road car radiator) we can see that the radiator is vertical as the space available to the designer dictates getting the largest possible surface area into the freestream is at the front of the car.  In order to create more surface area within the sidepods aperture Formula One teams 'bank' their radiators (right), creating more surface area within the given space. Note the red lines marked at either end of the radiator to determine how much larger the radiator is made when 'banked'.  Banking the radiator does mean that further changes have to be made to the design for it to remain efficient, such as a re-orientation of the cooling fins and core tubes.
Above: This image captured by Giorgio Piola shows the orientation of the radiator within the SF15-T's sidepod.

From this image you'll note that Ferrari's radiator is much flatter than we'd normally see, making it more difficult to keep flow through the radiator efficient.  They've not only banked their radiator for this layout but also staggered it (twisted) allowing for more surface area, maximising the exterior aerodynamic bodywork shape.
In order to achieve this flatter, elongated radiator configuration the team have opted to use some clever flow conditioning methods, marked in yellow and green on the image above.
The airfoil shaped slats added inside the sidepods inlet (marked in green on the image above) condition the airflow moving under the radiators surface, increasing performance over a wider operating window.
The ductwork (yellow) added above the radiator has several cavities that allow the airflow to pass through the radiator and then continue to cool its upper surface until such point it passes out of the larger curled ducts (purple).  This keeps the airflow passing through the radiator segregated from the sidepods internal flow structure, increasing both its capacity to cool the air whilst improving both flow structures.

Having already visited the hot climes of Malaysia without having to open up the rear bodywork, it's clear that the team have an efficient solution, allowing for a more adventurous rear end aerodynamic package.


  1. Fascinating stuff Matt. I have often wondered about the internal aero of an F1 car, you don't get to read much about it besides s-ducts and such like. This seems a very elegant and beautiful solution to the cooling problem, I am curious about how the post-radiator flow is treated... Thank you for your analysis, as always.....

  2. Nice article!
    The challenging part is getting the inlet to be an efficient diffuser, not stalling, not losing any impact pressure. If they succeed at that and use a large radiator, then closing the exit and getting good exit velocity and thrust to offset the inlet drag is easy, i.e. nozzles can't stall.
    These concepts were used successfully in WW2 war-birds, with the P-51 Mustang being a notable example.

  3. Hello friends! Videos with all models of Ferrari.Part 1 , Part 2 ,
    Part 3
    Part 4
    Part 5

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