With the new SF-23, Ferrari drew attention with the vertical intakes below the sidepod intakes, the function of which was at first a matter of speculation, but well-informed sources in Italy have confirmed that it is an interpretation of the S-duct system previously used on the nose, which will Ferrari’s rivals find very difficult to copy this year.

On February 14, the second-placed team of last year’s championship presented this year’s F1 car SF-23, which they tested live for the first time at Fiorano, driving 15 kilometers or five laps as part of a demonstration run, and a day later they did the first of two days for filming promotional materials (100 km) which served them to check all systems and examine data correlation ahead of the first test in Bahrain.

Although Ferrari remained faithful to the concept they presented with last year’s F1-75, the car has been thoroughly refined to extract more performance with improved reliability and better use of Pirelli tyres, which this year have a new front tyre construction.

But one of the things that attracted the most attention was Ferrari’s interpretation of the S-duct system in a place where it has never been seen before – on the sidepods. The entrance to the S-duct system is located under the sidepod cooling intakes, and the exit is on the upper side of the sidepods, below and behind the halo protection.

2023 Ferrari F1 car SF23 side front S-duct Photo Ferrari Edited by MAXF1net
2023 Ferrari F1 car SF23 side front S-duct Photo Ferrari Edited by MAXF1net

The idea of such a system is to use the high-energy air stream captured under the sidepod intakes and send it to the top of the sidepods through a curved channel, where there are both horizontal and curved vertical cooling slots, in order to accelerate the airflow.

The hot air coming out of the upper side of the sides is slow, low energy, so this way of accelerating the flow is very effective in order to improve the airflow towards the rear end where the rear wing and the beam wing below are located.

Previously, the S-duct system, named after the shape of the duct connecting the inlet and outlet, was used on the nose to improve airflow over the top of the nose, but Ferrari found a way to use the same principle in a completely different area for a similar performance benefit and improve the aerodynamic efficiency of the rear end.

Since in order to copy this kind of solution it is necessary to completely redesign the internal architecture around the beginning of the sidepods, it is unlikely that rivals will be able to copy this solution on this year’s cars, but for next season it should not be a big problem and we could very likely see this solution on many more cars in 2024. Of course, unless the FIA decides to ban it.

2023 Ferrari F1 car SF23 side rear S-duct exit Photo Ferrari Edited by MAXF1net
2023 Ferrari F1 car SF23 side rear S-duct exit Photo Ferrari Edited by MAXF1net
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