Ferrari has attracted a lot of attention with smoke from the rear end of their 2018 F1 car SF71H, but also from the Alfa Romeo Sauber and Haas cars that also use their engines – which is the cause of white smoke and why Ferrari’s cars have it more than others?

In pre-season tests in Barcelona cars with Ferrari engines created really large quantities of white smoke, especially before leaving the garage and practice starts.

Teams connect their exhaust pipes to separate hoses to expel exhaust gases out of the garage, but the white smoke from the Ferrari cars did not come out of the exhaust pipe but through the rear safety structure.

Since the past few years we have not seen the smoke from this part of the car, it is logical to wonder why is the smoke in this place. The reason is rule change that the FIA imposed for 2018 F1 season.

Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari F1 2018 engine smoke rear end topPhoto: Federico Basile

In 2018, the FIA decided to ban  controversial tricks that teams used to get more performance from their engines, and according to what was forbidden, we could see what the teams were doing to gain advantage over their competitors.

In addition to controlling the engine air plenum temperature and even more stringent oil usage regulations (this year reduced to 0.6 liters per 100 km), the FIA also prohibited the alternative use of recycle fluids.

New Article 5.1.12 states that all recycle fluids in the power unit can only go into the atmosphere and must pass through the opening at the back of the. Fluids should not return to the power unit.

This suggests that engine manufacturers used such fluids to extract extra power from the engine by returning them to the combustion process.

Ferrari SF71H F1 2018 smoke rear end crash structure Photo AMuS
Smoke from the 2018 F1 Ferrari SF71H exits from the bottom part of the rear crash structure (Photo: AMuS)

Gases produced in the crankshaft case have to be released into the atmosphere, and because of cold temperatures in Barcelona they were even more visible. Last year, these gases were returned to the combustion process and used for extra power.

But due to the large amount of white smoke, there has also been a theory that Ferrari smoke contains certain amount of water that evaporates in some part of the process, and together with smoke is released into the atmosphere.

As the new rules say that such fluids can only go into the atmosphere and have to go through the opening at the rear, the teams had to find a space and a way to get rid of the excess of these fluids.

Renault RS18 F1 2018 rear end exhaust fourth pipe Photo AMuS Renault
Rear end of 2018 F1 Renault R.S.18 and fourth, smallest, pipe which serves as a recycle fluid exit (Photo: AMuS)

Ferrari uses a very small diameter pipe placed in the lower rear crash structure, and the smoke that was released was very intense and white, just like in the Alfa Romeo Sauber and Haas.

Other teams also had to find a way to get rid of the excess of these fluids, but the other engines did not release even close amount of smoke as the Ferrari 062 EVO.

For example, Renault’s excess fluid tube, with a larger diameter than Ferrari, was placed on the right of three exhaust pipes while Mercedes used a plastic hose which was probably a temporary solution.

Why Ferrari’s engines produce so much smoke remains unknown, but it will be interesting to see if such a picture remains in Melbourne.

Alfa Romeo C37 F1 2018 rear end Ferrari engine smoke red Photo AMuS
Smoke from the rear end of Alfa Romeo Sauber C37 looks red thanks to rear crash structure light (Photo: AMuS)
Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari F1 2018 SF71H
Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari SF71H (Photo: Federico Basile)
Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari F1 2018 engine smoke rear end
Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari SF71H (Photo: Federico Basile)
Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari F1 2018 SF71H top umbrella
Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari SF71H (Photo: Federico Basile)
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