Former F1 designer Sergio Rinland offered his thoughts on the Scuderia’s latest challenger, plus the new cars from Red Bull, Mercedes and Lotus.
Rinland previously worked for Benetton and Arrows and is perhaps best known for his ‘twin-keel’ design on the 2001 Sauber C20.
He says the RB7 is at “a higher level” than the rival cars launched so far and believes Ferrari are now “followers” when it comes to F1 car design.
From the outside, it transpires that now has become a “follower” instead of a “leader”. This is what happens when rule mature and one car shows that way, as it has the Red Bull.
The front of the car now has a clear high nose, the Red Bull trend, allowing the use of below the nose barge boards and deflectors to improve the flow to the rear diffuser. The front wing shown so far it looks as last years, and bearing in mind that this element alone equates for a big chunk of aero performance in a modern F1 car (even more that in the past, “thanks” to the new rules of wings in front of the tyres), I would venture to say that the real F150 front wing is still cooking.
The sidepods show that the had to use some of the side channels volume for cooling due to the use of KERS.
The rear end, even if they still use push rods, looks as if Ferrari had found a different solution than the Red Bull to clean the flow to the lower rear wing, achieving a good result. From the bulges we see on the pictures, it looks as if they had located the dampers on the side of the engine cam covers to clean up the top of the gear box and hence the air flow to the rear.
The rear diffuser looks too clean and simple to be true, that is the second high performance differentiator of a modern F1 car, so again, expect more to come on this area before the first race.
For what they have said, I understand that they have opted for the KERS unit fitter in front of the engine, hence transmitting the power “through” the crank shaft of the V8 unit.
This solution has the advantage of weight distribution, by locating the KERS unit around the CG of the car, but the disadvantage of compromising the reliability of the engine itself. It will be interesting to see what Ferrari’s competitors are doing on this respect.
Red Bull RB7
The Red Bull has taken all the solutions seen on the other cars to a higher level. The attention to detail is gorgeous, the head rest, the exhaust exit the rear wing adjuster, all neat and purposeful.
The nose is a development of last year?óÔé¼Ôäós just adapted to the new rule, with a neat treatment underneath the chassis to improve the flow downstream.
The rear end is as clean as you can get it, and so neat that looks simple, as all good solutions should look. As we said, the exhaust exit is neat, but here is probably where the Renault has had a more innovative idea.
The rear wing flap adjuster is neat and allows them to have more freedom with the end plates shape and thickness.
As what we said for Ferrari, Mercedes had to follow on the Red Bull footsteps, down to the rear push rod suspension type.
A very clean rear end as a consequence, with a blowing exhaust, that for the look of its current shape, it has a lot of development ahead of it, if we compare it with the Red Bull or the more adventurous Renault.
The front end has a nose as high as it can be, very similar to the Red Bull, which demonstrates the convergence of solutions as a set of rules mature into its second and third year. The side pods are a development of last year, but with wider radiators, due to the cooling needs of KERS.
Interestingly, while Lotus follow last year?óÔé¼Ôäós Mercedes roll hoop, the later had opted for a conventional system.
What really got my attention was the roll hoop, very much like the Mercedes last year, very strange, I thought it was banned!
Nevertheless, I was never a big fan of splitting engine ducts; it is very tricky because when in yaw, it may have enough pressure differentials from one side to the other to create circulation.
The rear end is clean, but not as good as the Red Bull, even though it has the same engine and gearbox.
The front end is what has become “standard practice” in F1, with a nose as high as possible. The front suspension shows the push rod at the lower wishbone, hence the steep wishbones.
As far as we know, Lotus will not use KERS initially, hence it must have the advantage of smaller radiators and perhaps a lower centre of gravity, it should benefit from that in the first races until all the KERS teams get their act together.
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Thanks to GoCar.gr for the translated quotes