Despite losing to Red Bull’s rampant RB19 last season, Ferrari are determined to find their own path to success with the ground-effect aerodynamic cars and not copy Red Bull’s philosophy.
Introducing ground-effect aerodynamic cars in 2022, Formula 1 saw Red Bull with its Adrian Newey-inspired cars come to the fore with 38 wins in 44 races, the team only missing out on one victory during their dominant 2023 campaign.
Such was Red Bull’s prowess, in part due to their downwash concept, rivals began to copy the design with team boss Christian Horner speaking of a “convergence” in the years to come.
Are Ferrari re-imagining the S-duct/letter-duct concept?
The sidepods, though, are by no means the entire secret to Red Bull’s success. They’re just one part of the puzzle.
As such, Ferrari, the only other team to win Grands Prix in both ground-effect aerodynamic years, are determined to embrace a different path. One they believe will still lead to success.
But that begs the question, what will the car look like?
Last season already, Ferrari dropped their babybath sidepods for a more conventional look with Carlos Sainz going on to win the Singapore Grand Prix. That would stand as the only race not won by Red Bull in 2023.
Despite that solitary P1, Ferrari ended the season third in the Constructors’ Championship where they were a whopping 454 points short of Red Bull’s P1 tally.
Team boss Fred Vasseur vowed changes would be made ahead of the 2024 season, but those changes would not include copying the Red Bull philosophy.
According to the Italian version of motorsport.com, the 676, “cleansed of the errors of the SF-23, should represent a good step forward” and while Ferrari will continue with 2023’s front push and rear pull design, it will be different as it will introduce a “sort of keel to increase the airflow towards the Venturi channels.
“The gearbox will be included in a new transmission case that is slightly shorter and significantly narrower (20 mm on each side) to have a larger diffuser, capable of generating more downforce with the car body, perhaps being able to reduce the incidence of the wings.”
That in turn has opened the door for Ferrari to create a “by-pass duct, the passage of air that moves the flow above the belly which is channeled into the vertical intake adhering to the frame” which is notably different from the Red Bull philosophy.
An S-duct, or letterbox duct if you will.
In contrast to Newey’s extreme undercut bringing airflow to the floor of the car, Ferrari’s 676 will be using the ducts to do the same.
But as the publication concludes, neither Ferrari nor Formula 1 will know until late February if this is the way to go…