The newly-launched Ferrari F2012 will win no awards for looks
Ferrari are the fourth team to show off their 2012 challenger, appropriately called the F2012.
The standout feature of the F2012 is undoubtedly the horrendously ugly stepped nose design. Unlike other teams, who sloped the step between the two nose sections, Ferrari’s is at a near-45 degree angle at one point.
Chief designer Nikolas Tombazis describes the nose as “aesthetically not very pleasing”, which most fans have already considered to be one of the understatements of the year.
Chassis director Pat Fry noted that most of the team’s development would be focused on aerodynamics:
"We’re working on upgrading the aero, mainly. There will be an update for the
third test and the first race. And then, in reality, it’s just a constant aero
development all through the year.
The biggest differentiator is aerodynamics, still. I think there’s a lot less
you can do now with engines affecting the aerodynamics.
The engineering side of engine performance moves back to actually producing
horsepower and making it fuel-efficient, rather than the opposite that we had
been doing. I think it is just going to be a constant aerodynamic development
all through the year, really."
Aside from the nose, the most interesting innovation is the pullrod front suspension, which hasn’t been seen on an F1 car since the days of Minardi. Despite the fact that it is a mechanical system, it has been incorporated onto the car for mechanical reasons.
At the launch, Tombazis did a quick walk-through of the adjustments and innovations on the F2012:
"The front wing is an evolution of the wing we introduced in the
last races of last season [tested in Indian GP]. 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.
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."
Finally here is the official launch video from the event: