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Ferrari SF15-T for 2015 in the technical check: Vettel's red rocket

Ferrari SF15-T technology check for 2015
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F errari presses the reset Button. Once again. How often have we had this in the history of the traditional racing team? But this time with completely new staff. All key positions have been filled. Only not those of the technical director and the aerodynamics director. James Allison and Dirk de Beer are still on board. A wise choice. If constancy is required anywhere, then in the design office.

The new SF15-T is the first car that was built entirely under Allison's directive. Lorenzo Sassi and no longer Luca Marmorini is responsible for the technology of the engine. So there are no more excuses. One world champion replaced the other in the cockpit. A richly disillusioned Fernando Alonso left, a fully motivated Sebastian Vettel came.

The former Red Bull driver brought something like optimism with him. And he was cautiously optimistic after the first test drives. The first impression fits: 'A good starting point.' Kimi Raikkonen confirms: 'Better than last year in almost all areas.' The engine also plays a major role. It is more mobile, more predictable and stronger. And the last flagpole has not yet been reached. Ferrari wants to upgrade in several steps.

That caught our eye

The new Ferrari is that after the Mercedes shortest car in the field. Nevertheless, Mercedes manages that the side pods are further away from the front wheels than on the Ferrari. Also because the cockpit is further back. In return, Ferrari brings more space under the chassis tube. There Vettel's red rocket is at Red Bull level. One could say that Ferrari had used a mix of Red Bull and Mercedes for the dimensions.

The wheelbase has also shrunk compared to the old F14-T. In addition, the new car is flatter than the old one. This is particularly noticeable from the beginning of the side pods to the rear. The old Ferrari was bigger. The delicate construction already bears the signature of Allison and de Beer. The 2012 and 2013 Lotus were also compact, easy-to-drive cars. According to the drivers, the Ferrari SF15-T has also adopted the latter characteristic. The aerodynamics are less sensitive to changes in ground clearance.

The front end - attempts to run with a short nose

The Ferrari next to the Toro Rosso has thelongest nose in the field. It protrudes 30 centimeters beyond the front wing, which until now has only been modified at the end plates. Apparently, it didn't harm the SF15-T. Vettel and Raikkonen were positive about the driving behavior.

Of course, the Ferrari engineers did not escape the fact that the trend is towards the short nose. Ferrari also runs tests with shorter noses internally, but one hears that the aerodynamicists have not yet seen any decisive advantages. Nevertheless, we are working on a short nose and the crash test for it. You want to be prepared for all eventualities.

On the front axle, Ferrari stubbornly adheres to the pull rod technology. This year again as the only team. The chassis has been refined at the front and better adapted to the aerodynamics. For the first time, the brake calipers are attached below.

Together with a lower wishbone, which, like the Mercedes model, only spreads just in front of the chassis, this results in a low center of gravity and a significantly better flow behind the front axle. Because the articulation point of the drawbar is now hidden behind the lower wishbone.

The ears of the TV cameras spread out much wider than on the previous model. They are misused as mini wings. Not much has happened under the nose. The baffles are reminiscent of the previous year. A lot of fine tuning is required in this area to capture the realigned Y250 vertebrae.

Between the axles - side pods with less belly

Even the old F14-T had the smallest side boxes of all cars. This is also the case this time. Just with a different architecture. Higher at the front, more compact at the back. In the middle, the belly is less pronounced. This frees up more space on the base plate at the beginning of the side pods.

Last year, the widest point almost reached the underbody edge. Nice to see in photos from above. The side box retracts a little later, but is as slim at the back as last year. And clearly flatter. Good for the airflow to the underbody.

Ferrari continues to use the wickedly expensive coolers from Mezzotech. Compared to conventional coolers, they achieve the same performance with 15 percent less area. The advantage of the cooler is particularly evident in slow passages. The faster, the less benefit.

But the technology also has a disadvantage. It reacts more strongly to pollution. The cooling inlets are further triangular and trimmed for minimalism. There are also two periscope-like hoods next to the airbox fin, which Ferrari customer Sauber also integrated into its cladding.

The bow wings and the vertical guide plate at the beginning of the side boxes have been redesigned. The design language of the side guide plates is also new. The runner of the underbody is much wider on the new Ferrariconnected to the rear of the chassis than with the F14-T. The bridge met the floor plate right behind the front axle.

The rear - exhaust almost completely closed

As in the previous year, the charge air cooler is placed in the V of the six-cylinder. To do this, the oil tank was moved back from the gearbox housing to its original place between the chassis and the tank. Ferrari has taken the biggest step with the engine. The exhaust is better packed, the exhaust lengths have been optimized, the tailpipe is thinner, and the turbocharger got bigger. The engineers working with Lorenzo Sassi still have something up their sleeves. The charger during the test was only an interim solution. It should be even bigger.

At first glance, the profile of the airbox is identical to that of the previous year's car. The difference can be seen in the rear. The new engine cover is lowered significantly lower. The outlet at the end of the engine cover hugs the exhaust and diffuser roof more closely. But there is still some air between the fairing and the tailpipe.

The rear brake ventilation is a work of art with seven little wings stacked on top of each other. Red Bull brand. The diffuser is also reminiscent of the Red Bull with its sloping edges. Ferrari has attached three horizontal strips to the two vertical windows in the rear wing end plates. That gives more stable downforce. Parts of this arrangement were already tested in the last races in 2014.

Technical conclusion on the Ferrari SF15-T

Vettel can be pleased. And annoy Alonso. Ferrari is apparently better sorted than in 2014. The car made a good impression from the first lap. The best times in Jerez were not show times. However, Mercedes is still ahead. The SF15-T is aerodynamically healthy. Now it all depends on what else comes from the engine. If everything goes according to plan, the desire for two GP victories may not be so utopian after all.


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