Ferrari has suffered a lot in the second half of the 2022 Formula 1 season due to front tire degradation, and despite being very quick on a single lap in qualifying, the F1-75 has stood out in a negative way in the race for its rubber management.
That was seen above all in the Hungarian Grand Prix, and after several more appointments, Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz have seen how Max Verstappen won the championship without opposition. Those from Maranello have not won since the Austrian Grand Prix with the Monegasque, but at the beginning of the year they had the most versatile car on the grid, while the single-seaters from Red Bull, McLaren and Mercedes suffered more with the Pirelli compounds.
Why? Everything has its origin in the change of regulation, going from 13 to 18-inch tires, with larger rims and a greater space between the interior of the wheel allowed the adoption of carbon discs of a larger diameter, capable of extracting more heat. . Not only that, but the FIA rules prohibited the expulsion of air from the outside of the tire, since a cover was introduced that prevented the aerodynamic flows from deflecting the air coming from the front wing, to the point that it is no longer even could mount blowers, but were closed.
To this we must add that to put the tires in the correct operating window last season, the heat of the brake system [disc and caliper] could be used, to take it to the rim and, therefore, to the tires.
This season, on the other hand, the work of the engineers has been oriented to eliminate the heat to avoid overheating in the Pirelli. It is something totally different from 2021 , among other things, because the hot air must come out on the same side as the cooling inlets, a difficult task, but not impossible.
Evolution of Red Bull RB18 brake discs
Red Bull and McLaren, followed later by Mercedes and many others, attempted to ‘dress’ the front disc with a cover of heat-insulating material , which, at least initially, led to overheating problems.
Evolution of the McLaren MCL36 brake disc
A titanium “inner basket” appeared on the MCL36 which was later replaced by a carbon solution, while on the RB18, a car with similar setbacks, the Brembo caliper was even painted with a special paint to make it easier to manage the temperature.
This was done to isolate the heat from the brakes and take advantage of the space between the two baskets [inner and outer] to channel the flow of cold air that is used for aerodynamic purposes, in an attempt to reproduce the much more limited benefits that the engineers had last season.
Detail of the brake disc of the Mercedes W13
The advantages are minimal compared to 2021, but when a pole position is decided by a few thousandths, everything counts, so the intention to “control” the temperature of the front tires persists, which can be decisive. Ferrari has gone its own way in development, but in order to achieve the same result.
Despite the fact that it cannot be seen on television images and in the photographs, because it is part of the basket itself, those from Maranello have a disc cover with their own design.
Ferrari F1-75, detail of the corner with a cooling solution
Photo by: Uncredited
Ferrari F1-75, detail of the corner with another cooling solution
Photo by: Giorgio Piola
In recent races we have often heard in free practice that the F1-75 had brake problems, particularly in Leclerc’s car. Actually, the Brembo system has nothing to do with it, since braking is one of the characteristics in which the Monegasque is more aggressive.
Very often the need has arisen to adapt the flow of air to cool the car on all circuits. In a year with a very tight budget limit, three or four different solutions were studied for the passage of aerodynamic flow in the baskets to favor “cooling” instead of “overheating”, which obviously affects the tire.
The Ferrari’s development is likely to have needed more work in that delicate area, even more so with the financial cap, and it’s easy to imagine those in red will make big changes to avoid a repeat of the problems in 2023 . The feeling, therefore, is that in Maranello they will have to work in the short term to find the best balance in the passage of air to mitigate the overheating of the front tires.
If that is the case, it is not that the Italian team has not located the mishap, but that the Gestione Sportiva have had to control their spending so as not to violate FIA regulations.
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