When Fernando Alonso crashed in practice for the Monaco Grand Prix, his car was lifted away from the circuit on a crane and photographer Darren Heath was right there to capture it.
The result is this photograph, which at face value shows little more than a very smashed up Ferrari.
Starting with the obvious – the car is leaning backwards. Obviously there is no driver in it, but experts say that allowing for that, the photo still shows that the weight distribution would appear biased towards the rear. The lifting strap is usually about 1800mm from the front axle, so a bit more than half way.
Look at the back of the car; the double diffuser entry section is pretty large, but not extreme by today’s standards, apparently. It is also believed to be quite close to the Toyota design, which may well be because of the aerodynamic expertise hired in from Toyota over the winter.
The most interesting revelation from this photo is the front section. Look at the floor near the leading edge of the bargeboard; it starts wider then tapers to the minimum width until widening for the driver’s seat area.
The narrowing helps the chin are (which looks a bit like a tea tray) work as a diffuser, with air being fed by the clean centre section of the front wing. Downforce generated here gives a forward centre of pressure, and perhaps helps explain how Ferrari can use a seemingly benign front wing without suffering from a forward balance in high speed.
The other interesting revelation is to do with the way the team operates the ride height of the car. This is a big talking point this season due to the new rules on refueling.
The plank retaining skids are cleverly detailed around the inner edges
of the plank wear holes. This is probably to allow the car to be run a
fraction lower whilst still keeping within wear limits. It shows a good
understanding of precisely how the FIA apply the plank wear regulation in practice too.
They are clearly running plenty of rake, look closely at the front of the plank and you can see that there is hard rubbing , while there are just a few witness marks of light touching further back. The front of the plank looks like it is deflecting up, since there seems to be hard rubbing on the entire area ahead of the seat despite minimal touching further back.
With refueling banned this season and the car therefore required to carry 160 kilos of fuel, which lowers it, giving as little as possible away on ride height is very important.