Matt Somerfield

Why the Haas Evolution isn’t just a copy of Ferrari

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After finishing bottom of the constructors’ standings last year, Haas has made solid progress with the VF-22 and now enters the summer break ahead of Williams, Aston Martin and AlphaTauri in the championship. A great success, especially since the American team was the least active in the field of development.

Of the 12 races leading up to the Hungarian Grand Prix, only five of them saw Haas introduce new parts. These were all part of minor improvements. But at the Hungaroring, Haas finally launched its first major evolution of the year. The new package was given to Kevin Magnussen for the Magyar weekend, and although the Dane did not shine with a start in 13th position and a finish in 16th place, he was able to note a positive change in performance of his car.

“I think we have seen some positive things”he said. “We have to wait a bit to extract more performance from it in terms of lap times. But I think we have at least installed an evolution that does what is expected of it. potential. We do not have the impression of regressing with [l’évolution]it actually already looks like a small step [en avant]. Even if the team seemed to be a bit behind [au GP de Hongrie], it seems that my car is doing a little better. And that’s a positive.”

“It’s good that we’re installing upgrades and working the way we do, and it doesn’t look like we’re losing out. It kind of feels like a success. I try never to have any expectations, it makes your life difficult. So I always go there with an open mind and see what we can do. Let’s evolve the car, it’s something exciting; let’s do some work, see if we we can do it.”

Some have also accused Haas of merely producing a “white Ferrari” in view of the striking resemblance between the Scuderia’s hollowed-out sidepods and those fitted by Haas at the Hungarian GP. Accusations which are not totally unfounded since the American team has admitted that it was inspired by the solutions of its technical partner.

“We have the same engine as Ferrari, the same gearbox, the same suspensions, so why not copy anything else? Besides, who wins races? We are not stupid”commented Team Principal Günther Steiner.

However, Haas was also astute in ensuring that its development didn’t stray too far from its origins.

Comparison of the sidepods of the Haas VF-22 with that of the Ferrari F1-75

By comparing the shape of the sidepods used in the first part of the season (above left), to the new design (above center), we can see that Haas is taking the direction of the “bathtub” sidepods of the Ferrari F1-75 (on the right above) while remaining however in the same line of design.

In the paddock, teams like Aston Martin and Williams have completely changed their concepts by following the example of Red Bull rather than tweaking and optimizing the solutions with which they started the year.

And, while the Ferrari influence on the top surface of the pontoon is clear, it has also led to some significant changes to the overall body shape, with Haas focusing on how to extract more performance from this current generation of single-seaters.

Haas VF-22 Pontoon Comparison

Haas VF-22 Pontoon Comparison

While designers previously used side fins and sidepod deflectors to help recalibrate airflow path, they no longer have these aero tools available today. An important factor when considering the wake generated by the tires is the simplification of the front wing, which reduces the possibility of being used to disturb and alter the wake.

In view of this, Haas introduced a revised version of the endplate at the British GP, although it has yet to be used in racing. This probably means that the element did not perform better against the usual shape (first blue arrow above).

A little further down the car, we see the change in shape of the sidepod, with a higher shoulder, leading to a change in the geometry of the bodywork (second green line above).

What is also easily noticeable is the change in shape of the side of the pontoon because the curvature is less abrupt, which is somewhat concealed by Haas’ white livery. The bottom of the pontoon is also wider, as can be seen with the second yellow line on the right above.

No longer having the aforementioned aero tools on hand, Haas is using a much more brutal approach this season. The team is forced to take the bodywork to disrupt, adjust and recalibrate the path of the tire wake so it doesn’t scratch performance.

The changes made to the sidepods should help push the wake generated by the front tire out of the car and also improve the relationship further downstream, not only with the inwash required to improve flow in the coke bottle area but also with the way the airflow is pushed over the face of the rear tire.

Improved airflow quality in the coke bottle area will also benefit from changes to the rear suspension: Haas has revised the fairings that wrap around the various components.

Another result of the pontoon modifications is the US team’s abandonment of its cooling arrangement on the backbone of the engine cover, which had the effect of detaching the shark fin from the bodywork (red arrow above ).

Haas VF-22 Bulkheads

Haas VF-22 Bulkheads

While the changes to the sidepod are obvious, the floor of the VF-22 is no exception, as the team seeks to achieve more performance in an area of ​​the car where designers have a lot of freedom.

In this regard, changes have been made to the partitions at the front and on the edge of the floor, where all the other teams have already made changes to better optimize the way the airflow flows and improve the ride height sensitivity, while the underside of the floor certainly changed shape.

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