The Formula One community is abuzz with curiosity after a technical expert identified an unusual phenomenon in the movement of Ferrari’s exhaust tailpipes. This ‘crazy’ oscillation represents a unique case in the technical intricacies of F1 cars.
During a recent edition of F1’s Tech Talk video series, presenter and technical analyst Sam Collins highlighted a peculiar occurrence with the Ferrari car’s rear end. High-speed phantom camera footage from the United States Grand Prix captured extreme vibration of the exhaust tailpipe as the car negotiated corners.
The discovery of extreme vibrations
Collins noted that this was “something quite unusual” and a phenomenon he had never seen before in F1. After a thorough investigation, comparing several laps and both Ferrari cars, the results were described as “breathtaking”.
The Ferrari’s exhaust, made from a tough and heat-resistant metal called Inconel, showed remarkable deformation at certain points in the race, particularly when the car hit the apex kerb.
“The [oscillation] comes as the tyre rides onto that kerb on the apex of the corner but at this point, the tailpipe starts going really crazy,” said Collins,
“Look at the shape it forms. As we go through the corner you can see that it deforms quite substantially as it starts to deflect.
“The shape of the tailpipe is no longer round, it’s more like an egg. It gets pretty extreme at the moment the car bottoms out and you can really see the difference at this point.
“You can see that change from a circle to an egg. That is absolutely spectacular.”
The oscillation effect
As the Ferrari’s tyres came into contact with the kerb, Collins described how the tailpipe began to move intensely, dramatically changing its shape from circular to egg-shaped. This deformation was most evident when the car hit the ground, with the change in shape described as “absolutely spectacular”.
After comparing the exhaust behaviour of the Ferrari with other teams such as Red Bull, Alfa Romeo and Aston Martin, it was clear that this oscillation was unique to the Ferrari SF-23. None of the other cars showed such a significant deflection.
Consequences and Ferrari’s response
The unusual wobble led Collins to hypothesise that it may have prompted Ferrari to replace the exhaust systems on both cars for the following Sao Paulo Grand Prix. This decision was inconsistent with their actions at the previous race in Mexico, suggesting that the team may have addressed the problem discovered during the deflection in the United States.
The discovery raises several questions about the structural stability of Ferrari’s exhaust systems and whether the ‘crazy’ movement of the tailpipes could have a potential impact on performance or reliability. As the team prepared for the race in Sao Paulo, the technical change implied that Ferrari were taking no chances with the integrity of their car’s critical components.
“It is not a surprise that when the Ferraris arrived at the Sao Paulo Grand Prix, they had to change the exhaust systems on both of their cars,” Collins said.
“Now they didn’t have to do that in Mexico, so I just wonder did they find, due to that massive deflection that we’re seeing, is this something that the team have had to deal with and understand?”
The entire paddock will be watching closely to see if Ferrari’s unexpected tailpipe movements will have a lasting impact on their race strategy and results.
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