FERRARI GASPING FOR AIR
The Ferrari SF70H featured an extra pair of inlets on each side of the main roll-hoop intake, aimed at feeding a new air-to-water intercooler mounted right above the exhaust line and in charge of cooling down the energy recovery systems (ERS). A very similar setup can be found under the skin of the Mercedes W08, which also has a three-duct roll-hoop inlet.
However, compared to the Silver Arrow, the Ferrari challenger has kept a smaller water-to-water radiator besides the new intercooler. The element used to hang on a metal grille (see bottom left image), while it now has the new component’s pipework sitting above it. The water-to-air intercooler does not intend to replace the smaller radiator but instead help optimise the cooling of the liquid in it.
Better ERS cooling improves reliability but also increases performance since a higher transfer of electricity leads to less overheating due to the increasing cooling capacity. While Sepang’s hot and humid weather conditions might explain the addition of a new intercooler – Malaysia and Mexico are the two events where cooling is the most critical – it could also be a case of Ferrari anticipating bigger cooling needs following the introduction of a new internal combustion engine (ICE).
The latter was initially scheduled for this weekend’s Japanese Grand Prix but when Sebastian Vettel ran into engine problems in Saturday's practice, the Scuderia decided to roll with the new spec. Having received a fourth ICE and fourth MGU-H on Saturday, the four-time world champion ended up with a fifth ICE, turbocharger, and MGU-H on Sunday.