Ferrari’s 64th racing car designed and produced by the company for the Formula 1 World Championship is designated the SF71H and replaces the SF70H which was used in 2017. Rule changes introduced last season led to the introduction of significant aerodynamic modifications and wider tyres, all aimed at increasing performance. Therefore, the new 2018 Ferrari F1 car has been created to make the most of the experience gained last year.

Compared to the SF70H, the wheelbase has been changed slightly, with the side dimensions also revised along with the cooling system. The suspension follows the tried and tested practice of using push-rods at the front and pull-rods at the rear, however, their design has been updated based on experience gained during the first season running the wider tyres.

The most visible modification is the introduction of the HALO, the structure (shown below) designed to protect the driver from being hit by a flying object. This change involved a great deal of work for the designers, on the one hand because the 5-kg increase in the car’s minimum weight, to 733 kgs, only partly compensates for the weight of the component and, on the other, because of the inevitable effect on airflow.

The large ‘shark fin’ on the engine cover has almost completely gone, while the positioning of the transversely-mounted T-wing, which all the teams used in 2017 to better direct airflow towards the rear wing has been reviewed. Also gone at the back end of the car is the crash wing, better known as the ‘monkey seat’ which used to sit below the rear wing.

The exhaust exit has been positioned further back and this year, as a further safety precaution, each wheel will have three cable tethers to prevent them detaching in an accident. The frontal crash test standard is also more severe and finally, on the front of the chassis, cars will carry a 360-degree video camera.

According to the sporting regulations, the number of internal combustion units (the 1600 cc V6 engines) that can be used over the course of the 21-race season is reduced from 4 to 3, which means each one will have to deal with a 40% increase in its mileage. There are more severe restrictions on oil consumption, with just one type of lubricant allowed over the course of a race weekend, to be used at a rate of no more than 6 litres every 100 kms.

There are new regulations relating to the positioning of some electrical components in the area around the rechargeable batteries, while further restrictions are imposed when it comes to rules regarding fuel and the air temperature going into the air intake, as well as of the exhaust gases.

Following the recent unveiling of the car, it will be sent to Barcelona’s Catalunya Circuit where the first session of testing will start this Monday and continue to March 1. A second session will take place at the same circuit from March 6 to 9. Both Scuderia Ferrari race drivers, Kimi Raikkonen and Sebastian Vettel, will be driving.

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[Chips Yap]