The Ferrari F93A is the fortieth Formula 1 car built and used by Scuderia Ferrari. The single-seater was born as a transition in anticipation of the development and subsequent debut, never occurred, of a new single-seater known as the 645, resulting faster than the single-seater of the previous year, but once again not sufficiently reliable and competitive to be able to fight for the victory in races.
The car was presented in Maranello a few days before Christmas 1992, well ahead of the uses of the Maranello team. This is to have more time for the development of the car and in particular of the new active suspension.
The 1992 season turned out to be disastrous for Ferrari: the F92A, a car with a revolutionary design and various extreme solutions, proved to be slow and difficult to drive, achieving only two third places with Alesi as best results.
In order not to repeat the mistakes made, during the 1992 championship, the president of Ferrari, Luca Cordero di Montezemolo, made contact with the designer John Barnard, who had already collaborated with the Italian team in the two-year period 1989-1990, offering him a long term contract to launch a project to relaunch the Prancing Horse racing team.
To facilitate his work, an internal structure was also created within the team from Maranello, expressly delegated to the development of the new single-seaters: Ferrari Design and Development, based in England.
The work program foresees the construction of two models: the F93A, a transition car already equipped with appropriate technological aids to be used in the first part of the 1993 season, and the 645, more advanced and with the maximum possible integration of the electronics on board, from debut in the current season and develop further in anticipation of the 1994 championship.
Barnard would have worked full time on the final model, providing in parallel simple advice to the technicians working on the F93A project. In contrast to the extreme and futuristic lines seen on the 1992 car, the F93A instead adopts overall more conventional technical-stylistic solutions.
From the aerodynamic point of view, the car maintains the raised nose already tested in 1992, but compared to this year's car it loses the air intakes of the oval side bellies detached from the car body, which are redesigned with generous shapes and with square mouths, to ensure the maximum possible air flow to the engine.
The double bottom solution adopted on the F92A is also set aside, which on the track had proved to be not up to the design models.
The most important technical innovation is represented by the improvement of the electronic instruments on board; in particular, the F93A is the first and only Formula 1 Ferrari equipped with electronically controlled active suspension. Furthermore, since the regulation establishes the narrowing of the footprint of the tread of the rear tires, consequently inducing a smaller overall width of the rear track, a reduction in the size of the front track is also implemented.
A transitional season
During the winter tests, the car proved to be somewhat slow, achieving much higher times than the single-seaters of the top teams, and immediately revealed problems with active suspension.
The debut in the Formula 1 championship took place at the South African Grand Prix, on March 14, 1993: Gerhard Berger manages, on the occasion, to finish sixth, while Alesi is forced to retire while he is in the points.
The following races will be lacking in results and marked by various withdrawals caused mostly by failures of the active suspensions, which, far from being an advantage, are instead harbingers of frequent difficulties in setting up.
The first podium was conquered at the Monaco Grand Prix, thanks to the third place of Alesi, while Berger repeats the same result in Hungary. The best result of the season was subsequently taken by Alesi, who finished in second place at the Italian Grand Prix held in Monza.
In the meantime, again as part of the efforts of the Maranello team to restore competitiveness to its racing department, the French Jean Todt, formerly head of the Peugeot racing department in the rally sector, was hired as the new team manager.
In addition, a change in the Formula 1 regulations is announced in the middle of the season, which since 1994 would have entailed severe restrictions on the electronics on board the cars. Ferrari will therefore have to abandon the 645 single-seater project and use the F93A throughout 1993.
The Ferrari F93A concludes last among the cars equipped with active suspension, with only 28 points, of which 12 of which won by Berger and 16 by Alesi, winning a second place as the best result of the season, and two third places.
For the third year in a row, the Prancing Horse team ends the championship without obtaining any victories or pole positions, and as in 1992 they do not score any fastest lap in the race.