With so many changes in the Ferrari management last year, along with major changes on the technical side, Ferrari were expected to take a conservative approach in the design of the SF70H. But the car looks far from conservative.
2016 was not a good season for Ferrari. After having 3 race wins in 2015 and not a single one in 2016. Ferrari haven’t won a race in two of the last three seasons. That isn’t a good sign for a team that is as committed to F1 as Ferrari. James Allison’s departure from the team last year was also a major setback.
Mattia Binotto taking over as the technical chief might’ve been a turn for the better. The engine is said to have had a major overhaul with the help of MAHLE. They are the industry leaders in combustion technology. MAHLE are said to have designed a new mesh structure on the underside of the piston for better cooling.
Major advancements have also been made on the aero side. With some very unique shape of the sidepods. They have been pushed back and vanes added to divert the air flow. An illusion of having two inlets to the pods is created. The shark fin makes a return with a T-wing mounted on it. This isn’t much different from the other teams. Ferrari have finally included an S-duct in their nose. It is nothing new to F1 but it is the first time the S-duct has made it onto a Ferrari.
Ferrari set the fastest lap in testing with Kimi Raikkonen on a set of softs, with Sebastian Vettel not far behind. They seem to have good pace and might be able to challenge the team from Brackley this year.
When asked about his expectations for 2017, Sebastian said, “I think overall the team is in a better shape. I think we learned a lot from last year, and I think last year was the most important year for us. Even if you look at the results, you say it was not such a successful one. But I think what happened in the background was really, really important to make a step forward. And hopefully we’ve done that. But I don’t think we’ll get a proof or have a real idea until Melbourne or the first couple of races.”