Ferrari is preparing a completely new engine for the new 2021 F1 season which should have 30 HP more than its predecessor, which was the weakest engine in Formula 1 last year while the more compact design should bring them significant aerodynamic advantages.
Ferrari’s main problem in 2020 was the engine falling from first to last place in power rankings thanks to new rules for measuring fuel flow and the situation was exacerbated by the car itself whose aerodynamics caused too much aerodynamic drag.
Another problem were the dimensions of the sidepods and the engine cover that did not taper compactly enough towards the rear end, which is a key feature that allows more air towards the rear wing and the area above the diffuser.
“If we talk about 2021, I think we need to be realistic, we can’t make up for all the performance gap,” said Binotto.
“It’s true that we’re going to have a brand new power unit because the rules give us that option, but a lot of the other components on the car are frozen, starting with the chassis.”
“Even in the aerodynamic area, which is free of restrictions, we have fewer development opportunities in the wind tunnel and CFD simulations because the time avalaible is reduced to 60%.”
“There are a lot of limitations, but in 2021, in addition to the new engine, we will have significantly different aerodynamics compared to last year as we hope to solve the most important problems with the 2020 car.”
Compact and stiffer gearbox for more efficient downforce
Ferrari has previously announced that it will spend its two development tokens on the rear end to have a narrower and stiffer gearbox – it has been the practice for years to integrate a titanium gearbox housing within carbon armor, and Ferrari plans to reduce width, increase structural strength and change mounting locations for the rear suspension.
Last year’s SF1000 had a problem due to insufficient strength causing insufficiently stable control of the rear end distance from the ground and improvements in this area, along with the narrower design of the entire transmission, should bring more grip and more predictable rear end behavior.
More downforce from the floor, instead of using more rear wing, should bring more pressure to the rear axle with less drag, which was one of the main weaknesses of last year’s car.
Narrower exhaust for compact sidepod design
Another factor that determines the airflow to the rear end is how narrow is the power unit, more precisely the exhaust manifolds that are the widest point on the sidepods, and Ferrari, according to Italian media, initially has problems with the reliability of such a design.
Teams are also allowed to use three engines per driver in 2021, but from this year there is a limit of eight sets of exhaust manifolds per driver which makes the reliability of the exhaust system even more important.
Better heat dissipation from the sidepods is key to keep the hot air outlet, located between the diffuser and the rear wing, smaller which directly brings more downforce and less air resistance, and the Ferrari SF1000 had very large openings at the rear although the engine was the weakest, which was a double blow to their performance.
Ferrari and their customers need more power
The new engine for 2021 had about 15 HP more than its predecessor at the end of 2020, and Ferrari is aiming for total of 30 HP more than 2020 by the end of the homologation period to reduce the gap behind the best.
After having the strongest engine in 2018 and 2019, which was especially pronounced in the qualifying and shorter periods in the race, Ferrari experienced a dramatic drop in power in 2020 due to a new way of measuring fuel flow, which was also very much felt by their customers Haas and Alfa Romeo.
The new rules on fuel flow measurement affected all manufacturers, but mostly Ferrari, which made the best use of the loophole in the rules and injected more fuel than the permissible flow limit of 100 kg/h in small time intervals between flow measurement moments.
In addition to more power from internal combustion engine, improvements are also expected on the ERS system so that the MGU-K can on average deliver more power on different track configurations, especially in a race when drivers cannot charge the battery to the maximum as in preparation for a qualifying lap when they can use a maximum of 4MJ of energy in one lap.