Ferrari tease new 2021 F1 car & here’s why it might win again

Last week we were permitted a ‘tease’ for the new 2021 Ferrari Formula 1 challenger, the SF21 via their social media channels – The video sequence demonstrated the Ferrari technicians firing up the new Power Unit, revealing the new car’s air intakes above the cockpit.

Since then, and over the weekend, experts have analysed the airducts and deduced from that, that the Ferrari F1 2021 car will be very different in concept from the poor performing SF1000 of last year. In fact, some are saying we might see a Ferrari that could challenge for wins again.

Certainly the aerodynamic cues from the teaser and their implications to the overall car concept won’t be enough to make the Ferrari a winner again. But coupled with an ‘all new power unit‘, perhaps we might see a sudden leap in performance and a return to the sharp end that was a common feature of Grand Prix weekends in 2019 and before.



Team boss Mattia Binnotto remains bullish claiming that “Our 2021 season starts here” to assembled Ferrari staff in Maranello.

“We can expect plenty of challenges along the way and we are determined to do better.

“The car has been improved in all areas where developments are permitted,” he added. “We must work in a determined and focused way, aware of where we were and where we want to go.”

This appears not to just be wishful thinking, and analysis indicates a real change in aero philosophy just from the images of the roll hoop area on the teaser movie.


TJ13 has translated an interesting article below from the Italian publication with an in-depth analysis of the changes to the aero concept Ferrari has taken with the new car. Enjoy.


Ferrari SF21, hints of innovation

McLaren’s presentation kicked off the 2021 Formula 1 season, with the MCL35M being the first car whose preliminary images of the new single-seater could be seen in its entirety.

However, an event held the week before revealed some technical aspects of another of the cars on the grid. The video of the SF21 fire-up revealed a detail that reveals an important change of philosophy in the design of the Scuderia di Maranello car for the next World Championship.



From the images, it is possible to appreciate the new shape of the Ferrari’s air-scoop, the dynamic air intake located above the driver’s head. Two additional openings at the sides are particularly recognisable, the outer edges of which have been screened in the video with a white lining.

Overall, the air-scoop shifts from the triangular shape that distinguished the SF90 and SF1000 to an ogival contour in line with what most teams do. What you see in the few seconds of the video might appear at first glance to be a simple detail, but it tells of a wider work carried out on the Ferrari.


Revised cooling system

Ferrari’s engineers have opted to relocate part of the radiators that make up the cooling system, moving them from their 2020 position in the side pods to a more central and raised position under the engine cover.

The technical regulations allowed the radiators to be relocated at no cost during the winter, as they are excluded from the components whose development has been frozen. The addition of the two side intakes was therefore dictated by the need to supply air to the radiators relocated during the winter break.



The widening of the air scoop and the changes to the cooling system will also have repercussions on the SF21 both from an aerodynamic and a vehicle dynamics point of view.

On the aerodynamic impact aspect, the side pods are freed of some of the components housed last season. This opens up the opportunity to change the design of the engine cover and sidepods, in order to free up a larger surface area of the underbody and increase the air flow at the bottom of the car to the rear.

Such a feature would increase the load generated by the underbody and diffuser, the optimisation of which becomes even more important in light of the aerodynamic restrictions imposed by the 2021 regulations on the two previous components.



The widening of the air scoop, on the other hand, constitutes a further obstacle to flows at the top of the car, reducing the flow of air to the rear wing and inevitably impacting its efficiency.

The reasons behind the strategy of improving the efficiency of the underbody at the expense of the load generated by the wing are to be found in the changes to the underbody imposed by the new regulations, but above all in the attempt to reduce drag. The rear wing contributes more significantly to the increase in drag than the load generated by the underbody, and drag was one of the SF1000’s critical issues last season.

This, coupled with the power unit’s lack of horsepower, was responsible for the Ferrari’s lack of straight-line competitiveness, prompting Maranello’s engineers to unload the aerodynamics in order to improve top speeds, compromising the overall balance and competitiveness on the track.



The other features

Ferrari therefore seems to have embarked on a path aimed at optimising the load released by the car’s underfloor, which could at the same time help to contain the SF21’s drag, with advantages in terms of competitiveness on the straights and reduced fuel consumption.

The new radiator arrangement will also have an impact on cooling drag, i.e. the aerodynamic resistance associated with the path of airflow under the engine cover and through the cooling system. However, it is difficult to say whether the new configuration will also bring benefits in this regard.



On the other hand, the decision to relocate part of the radiators to a central, raised position will compromise the position of the car’s centre of gravity, which will rise slightly.

The effects of lateral load transfers, which increase the load on the outer wheels when cornering and affect grip and tyre behaviour, will therefore be slightly intensified, but will most likely be compensated for by improved aerodynamic efficiency.

One final note is the importance of the cooling system to the performance and reliability of the power unit, which will be even more important in 2021 when only three engines will be available for 23 races. If Ferrari’s engineers have managed to avoid compromising or improving the efficiency of the cooling system, the SF21 would be a further step forward from the SF1000.


In conclusion, the detail appreciated during the fire-up of the Ferrari reveals a lot about the design choices made in Maranello, which will in any case have to be confirmed before the presentation on 10th March.

The changes to the air scoop and the redistribution of the radiators won’t be enough on their own for Ferrari to return to the top positions, but they do anticipate some of the new features that will characterise the SF21.


Top speed recorded by each team at each dry qualifying session averaged over the 2020 season


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