Longer, narrower SFH71 is ‘evolution’ of 2017 Ferrari – Binotto

Ferrari chief technical officer Mattia Binotto says the team’s 2018 challenger builds on the successes of last year’s car.

“The new car, the SF71H, represents an evolution of last year’s car which somehow was already a good project,” he said. “We tried to retain the strengths [of the SF70H].

“The strengths I would say are first, aggressiveness in some of the concepts we’ve designed,” he continued. “A car which was somehow performing well on low speed circuits.

“But as well we knew that we had to work on new aero development,” he added. “For example, to get the car to be strong and perform on high-speed circuits.”

Binotto also pinpointed improved reliability as a major objective for this year’s car. The engine will initially be an upgrade on last year’s power unit.

“What has changed?” Binotto continued. “I think the main difference we may indicate is that we have a slightly longer wheelbase than last year.

“We have sidepods, the radiator ducts which are even more aggressive and more innovative compared to what we had last year,” he described. “And then the whole team did a lot on the rear of the car trying to make the car very nice.

“I think that overall the entire team did a fantastic job in terms of packaging, to be very tight,” he pointed out. “If you look at the body, it’s a very narrow body.

“I think those are the main concepts of the new car,” he summarised. “We believe this is a very good base for the aerodynamic development of the car for the future.”

Unlike last year, there are no new aerodynamic rule changes to take into account. The one big difference in terms of the regulations is the need to incorporate the Halo driver protection device.

  • Gallery: A detailed look at Ferrari’s SF71H

The SF71H’s Halo was painted bright red to match the rest of the bodywork. That made it less of an eyesore than it appeared in development last year. However, it still proved a headache for Binotto and his team.

“The Halo has been introduced for the safety of the drivers,” commented Binotto. “But it is very visible and intrusive on the design.

“It was not a straightforward exercise,” he admitted. “It has affected obviously the weight of the car, the centre of gravity and the air into the engine scoop as well as the flow onto the rear wing.

“We put quite a lot of effort into ensuring that everything was working properly.”

Team boss Mauricio Arrivabene praised the work of Binotti and his team, and pointed out that it had taken many months to get to this point.

“There is no off-season!” he laughed when asked if the tight turnaround over the winter had been a problem. “Off-season is a legend. We start working on this new car even before the end of [last] season.

“All the people, the guys especially, are working with Mattia thinking about the concept of the car for months before the season’s end.

“During the winter – during January, during February, until a couple of hours ago – everybody was working very, very hard,” he revealed.

“To check and to build every single detail of this car, and to try and do all the very best – and they can do it, I’m sure about this.”

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