2012 F1 season
Ferrari chief designer Nikolas Tombazis explained the key features of the new F2012, starting with the latest example of the distinctive 2012-style noses.
“The front wing is an evolution of the wing we introduced in the last races of last season. That was introduced in order to learn some initial lessons about this subject and we understood quite a lot and we have further developed it, and there’s going to be further development at the third test before the start of the season.
“The nose has a rather ungainly shape on the top. That is the result of the regulation which requires us to have the nose quite low, and an aerodynamic desire to have the lower part of the chassis as high as possible.
“So even though it is aesthetically not very pleasing, we believe it is the most efficient aerodynamic solution to that area of the car.
“Going slightly further back, we get into one of the innovations of this car, which is the front suspension. For mainly aerodynamic reasons we have selected the pull-rod solution.
“It took us quite a lot of work in the structural and design office and vehicle dynamics departments, in order to regain all the mechanical characteristics that we wanted the front suspension to have. We believe we’ve achieved that, but we also have, I believe, an aerodynamic advantage out of the solution.
“Moving back we reach the area of the sidepod inlets. There we have reviewed completely the project and we have changed out philosophy for the lateral crash structures. The crash test we had to do was much more difficult to homologate the car. But it has left us with some aerodynamic advantage in the area of the main turning vanes and the vertical profiles that lie next to the sidepod inlet.
“Going further back we have a much more narrow profile especially at the low part of the ‘coke panel’. That has been made possible out of the repackaging of the chassis and engine rear part, and also out of the gearbox that has been completely reviewed and made narrower.
“Whereas in the upper part of the sidepods we have a fairly wide solution because we have to host the new exhausts which are a result of the new regulations regarding exhausts.
“So we have had to abandon to low exhausts of the previous years because of the regulations. We spent quite a lot of resource and time in investigating the new exhaust scenarios and in fact it will be an area we will research during winter testing before we finalist the exact configuration for the first race.
“Regarding the gearbox, we have obviously got the external shape which is new and narrower but we have two different approaches from our side.
“One of them is the rear suspension we have adopted, like quite a few of the others in recent years, a pull-rod solution. But we’ve also hosted part of our radiator cooling on top of the gearbox so as to reduce the cooling area required at the lateral part of the car.
“The rear wing is basically similar to last year’s, but we have refined it and pushed the sections of the aerodynamic profile small, in order to produce more downforce.”
Tombazis said the consequence of Ferrari’s more aggressive approach to 2012 was that very few parts from the previous car had been carried over to the new one:
“The F2012 has a relatively small amount of carry-over compared to previous cars. The very desciptions I made indicate we have reviewed almost the whole car. So components that are either physically the same as last year or conceptually the same are much fewer, therefore we’ve had to work much harder in the technical office and in production in order to be able to do all this work.”
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Images © Ferrari spa/Ercole Colombo