There were some visible upgrades introduced by Ferrari on the F2012 at the recently concluded Mugello test. The F2012 has turned out to be a very poor car since the start of the season with both cars always struggling to make it into Q3. A deficit of around 0.8-1 second per lap is a big one to overcome and we have seen the first step in that direction by the team at Mugello.
This picture is of the car before the significant upgrades were introduced on the last day of the Mugello test. Here we see the Acer duct(named because of the sponsor Acer’s name on the exit duct) which Ferrari have run on their car since the start of the Australian Grand Prix weekend after their more innovative exhaust solution(introduced during the beginning days of pre-season testing) proved to be very troublesome with the rear tyres overheating and the car suffering from very heavy tyre degradation. The Acer duct consists of both the exhaust exits and the radiator hot air exits. This Acer duct exhaust solution proved to be a little better than the previous one because this one did not directly blow the hot air into the rear tyres. But the negative side of this exhaust was that the car suffered huge amount of drag which compromised the F2012’s top speed.
This picture is also from before the upgrades were introduced. Here we don’t see slots in front of the rear tyres, a design which has been used by Sauber to generate some small amount of downforce.
This is from the final day of the Mugello test where we notice a significantly different rear. The most noticeable change is the exhaust. The exhaust gases now exit much higher above the floor in a position similar to that of Red Bull and Sauber. But the major difference is – Red Bull and Sauber have a ramp on the sidepods which is not there on the Ferrari and hence the gases come out near the upper wishbone. Simultaneously, there is a chance of the bleeding of the air around the outside of the duct and it may flow near the floor of the car to create downforce. One of the main advantages of this exhaust system is that it doesn’t throw hot air directly into the rear tyres and hence there is significantly lesser chances of overheating.
The radiator exit is now separated from the exhaust gases exit. This has allowed Ferrari to significantly decrease the dimensions of the central tail funnel. Also we now see a bulge behind the roll-hoop, near the engine cover which suggests the bodywork has also been tightened up.
This exhaust design gives Ferrari a possibility to incorporate a McLaren-style exhaust exit which uses the surrounding bodywork to create the downwash effect (effect similar to the downwash effect was used by teams last year when the allowed exhaust position was much further back), known as the Coanda effect, and recovering some part of the lost downforce due to the banning of the off-throttle blown diffusers.
There have also been some small changes introduced apart from the exhaust. Now there are slots in front of the rear tyres which cause additional high speed airflow under the car and more suction power near the diffuser, generating little bit of extra downforce. Also there have been changes to the rear brake ducts (Williams-style) which now allows the brake ducts to get air from a layer near to the wall of the inner tyre, preventing too much of hot exhaust gas intake which will reduce braking performance due to brake overheating.
There has been one other change although there is not a clear perception about it. You can read it here http://www.sportskeeda.com/2012/05/04/ferrari-might-be-the-first-team-to-employ-mercedes-style-double-drs-on-their-car/