Ferrari is not a company used to being behind the curve, but if you've been wondering how the Scuderia has lost so much territory on the Formula One circuit to a relative newcomer like Red Bull, part of the answer could come down to its wind tunnel.

Seriously, the wind tunnel? Yes, the wind tunnel. Aerodynamics play an increasingly vital role in F1 racing, and while Red Bull has one of the best in the business, Ferrari's hasn't been running right for some time now.

A year and a half ago Ferrari shut down the galleria del vento at its headquarters in Maranello, citing problems with "correlation" - that is, a major discrepancy between the results it got in the wind tunnel, in CFD computations and on the racetrack. Having narrowed the problem down, the Scuderia embarked upon a major overhaul. It's been using Toyota's facility in Cologne, Germany, in the meantime, but as team principal Stefano Domenicali put it, not having your own wind tunnel on premises "is like playing basketball with one hand behind your back." Now the renovations reportedly complete, however, and Ferrari will begin using its wind tunnel again next month.

With Sebastian Vettel and Red Bull so far in the lead, it may be too late to fix this year's car to any meaningful effect. But while the design of next year's car may already be close to finalized, getting the aero up to spec could mean the difference between putting Ferrari back on top or letting it slide even further. And with two former champions forming a crimson-clad "dream team" next season, the new facility couldn't have come any sooner.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 9 Comments
      Matt
      • 1 Year Ago
      Any details on what they updated in the wind tunnel? Flow conditioning? Porous test section walls? Those are the two things that typically affect data quality the most.
      daewootech
      • 1 Year Ago
      Those right angles dont seem very efficiant?...
        Matt
        • 1 Year Ago
        @daewootech
        Have to make four 90 degree turns anyway, so most closed-loop tunnels have abrupt elbows with a cascade of airfoil vanes to help the flow make the turn. Large radius, gradual elbows are more lossy than abrupt elbows with vanes.
      HH112233
      • 1 Year Ago
      Now bring Schumacher back to help with the F1 car development / testing and wins should be right around the corner.
      StephenT
      • 1 Year Ago
      I guess this news is what they used to seal the deal with Kimi right?
      • 1 Year Ago
      [blocked]
      GFB
      • 1 Year Ago
      This is a good sign. Now, if Mercedes can take the next step, if McLaren can get its mojo back, if Lotus, Sauber and Williams can get some funding, we might have an entertaining 2014 F1 season. Meanwhile, wake me after the Brazil race and the Vettel/Red Bull coronation.