Ferrari has introduced one of its biggest updates of the season at the Russian Grand Prix, with a radical revamp of its front wing and some experiments for 2019 too.
With the Maranello-based team in need of a good result to close down the points deficit to Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton, it has brought in some major changes to its SF71H.
The biggest change is to its front wing, which is totally new and features a combination of ideas that have been seen on other teams like Red Bull and McLaren.
In particular, there is a revised footplate design similar to Red Bull, which was tested in the post Hungarian GP test. Ferrari has added a vertical slot in the endplate that its rival has also put to good use.
One of the most interesting changes at Ferrari is to the turning vane which, while being viewed as a performance step here, has also been introduced with an eye on changes to the 2019 rules.
The design is much more aggressive than that which the team has used up until this point (below) – and may stay on the car if it delivers some good results from testing today.
Mercedes has not sat back, though, and has taken a leaf out of Ferrari’s book with a new rear wing design for this weekend’s race in Sochi.
It has copied Ferrari’s idea of replacing its single rear-wing pillar with two thinner swan-neck supports.
The change is likely to be more about weight reduction and the management of rear wing stability at high speed, than a reduction of drag.
The team has also opted to mount a downwash winglet between the pillars, adjusting the trajectory of the exhaust plume and its subsequent interaction with the airflow under the rear wing.
Mercedes has also introduced some changes to its front wing, with a new pair of canards on the inside of the endplate. The main cascade is no longer pushed away from its edge.
Now, the real question is, whose upgrades will work better?