If you're a Ferrari fan, keep reading - its effort for the 2016 F1 season is, the SF16-H, is a remarkable piece of engineering.

A huge amount of work has gone into the design and optimisation of the SF16-H. I am very surprised a quite how different machine this is to either the 2014 or 2015 cars, especially considering that there really was not a lot wrong with the SF15-T.

Ferrari's choice of an online and social media friendly launch has allowed the Italians to skimp on the amount of technical information available about the new design, so I thought I would start with the parts which were not that discussed during the launch.

Power unit

The new power unit in the car is substantially different to that of 2015 (itself a major departure from Luca Marmorini's much criticised size zero unit of 2014). Ferrari has left almost nothing in the unit untouched but the biggest changes come around the V6 combustion engine. The charge air cooler has been relocated from its original and rather odd location between the cylinder banks to a new location (I think in one of the sidepods) while the space it has freed up has allowed Ferrari to introduce a variable inlet system. In 2015 the Ferrari was the only power unit not to use the technology which was re-introduced at the start of the year.

But this is not the only change, Ferrari is reported to have relocated the MGU-H into some of the volume freed up by the charge air cooler move, while the turbo is of a totally new design aimed at further improving efficiency and thus power. The Magneti Marelli supplied MGU-K which has been mounted at the rear of the V6 block in the bell housing area is rumoured to have been moved to a more conventional spot under the left hand side exhaust manifold.

More tantalising is the work Ferrari has done inside the engine, in particular in the combustion chamber. I read some reports that the Italians have managed some kind of partly compression based ignition, I assume with the spark completing the work. I know that the current F1 V6's engines are very extreme in this respect but perhaps not as much as that. Nonetheless it has been confirmed that Ferrari have made some major gains in the combustion chamber which have required new types of fuel pump to be used as well as a new fuel from Shell.

The turbocharger plays a role in this too and it has been significantly redesigned and slightly relocated, notably the cooling louvres for it which were present on all Ferrari powered cars in 2014 and 2015 have vanished. It maybe some of this excess heat is lost through the two new waste-gate exhausts which sit either side of the tail pipe.

The cooler arrangement has been substantially revised too with the charge air cooler now located in one of the sidepods the large louvred coolers of the SF15-T will have to have been changed somehow details are scare for now but the sidepods are pretty tight so it could be something really innovative.


Overall the aerodynamic package on the new car is quite different to that of 2015, the new nose is an instant sign of that. The front impact structure is much shorter than the one used on the SF15-T and is extremely close to the one used by Sauber last year in terms of concept. It looks to me a bit like Ferrari tried to achieve a Mercedes style nose but could not quite get the structures right to get that through the crash tests. That said during the launch the technical staff were keen to highlight the change so maybe it is a concept choice.

Getting the nose so much higher and getting more air under it has a substantial impact on the flow structures around the wheels and front wing endplates as well as along the whole side of the car. I would not be shocked to see a huge amount of variations of chassis 'ears' and 'barge boards' being tested in this area in the early part of the season. The front brake ducts too will be a key area of development. Indeed it would not shock me at all to see a new design of wheel in use at Barcelona as well as possible 'blown nuts'.

Downstream of the front end there is another fascinating feature of this 'ambitious' new car. The airbox has a big dimple behind it. I'm not sure if this is to do with something to do with the inlet tract or some external airflow reason but it is very interesting and I wait to see what developments Ferrari bring in this area.

At the rear of the car the bodywork is really quite tight and neat, probably the result of the reworked power unit.


Indeed it is clear to me that Ferrari's work has not been limited to just aerodynamics and power unit - the front suspension is a totally new concept compared to the '14 and '15 cars in that it is now a conventional pushrod layout. The torsion bars and dampers have been relocated to the top of the chassis, something which Ferrari claims saves weight but clearly has the side effect of raising the centre of gravity slightly.

The chassis is conventional with the nose pushed quite high, the new driver head protection seems to have had little impact on the overall structure. At the rear the transmission is a one piece carbon fibre unit with integrated bell housing accommodating the rear suspension components, hydraulics, turbine, and possibly the exhaust collectors as in 2015. The rear suspension is still pull rod but I hear a rumour that working with Brembo Ferrari may be planning to introduce a one piece upright and calliper unit to reduce un-sprung weight.

Ferrari is clearly going all out to catch up with Mercedes and if this car works well then it is clear that it will be one of the most interesting technical development stories of the season.

Max Yamabiko

Max Yamabiko will bring you a closer look at the technical side of F1 and motorsport in 2016, from the latest developments and solutions employed to keep you ahead of the game



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