Ferrari has launched a car that it hopes will help the team return to the top of Formula 1 this year after a 2020 season without wins.
The first images of the car, known as SF21, were leaked on the internet and released by the team on Wednesday, an hour before the official video launch.
The car has been painted in two shades, with the rear in a burgundy color typical of the first Ferrari 125S of 1947, while the front retains the more familiar matte red color of previous seasons.
Charles Leclerc will stay at Ferrari for a third season and will be joined by Spaniard Carlos Sainz, who replaced Sebastian Vettel this winter.
According to team principal Mattia Binotto, the car is an evolution of last year’s SF1000, which led the team to a disappointing sixth place in the Constructors’ Championship.
The car was made from the one from the previous year because of new regulations, he said. So it was partially frozen, but we tried to improve it in every area we could.
Aerodynamics have been revised and a completely new powertrain installed.
His painting has changed too. As you can see, the rear of the car is burgundy, just like Ferrari’s first race car, the 125S. This is the same colour we used last year at Mugello to celebrate our 1000th race. Grand Prix.
This will be a challenging year. Visually we have built on our history, but we also look to the future, which will always be dominated by Ferrari red.
The Ferrari SF21 has a new nose, but most of the team’s development has been focused on the rear suspension and gearbox. Ferrari
Ferrari’s main sponsor, Philip Morris International (PMI), is represented by Mission Winnow stickers, including the green logo on the bonnet.
It is not known if the Mission Winnow branding, which first appeared on the Ferrari F1 cars at the 2018 Japanese Grand Prix, will remain on the SF21 for all races this year.
In 2020, there was no branding at any of the 17 races, but the brand was present at the start and during pre-season testing.
PMI has often been accused of using branding to circumvent the ban on tobacco sponsorship in Formula One.
The SF21 has a redesigned nose, but the bulk of the team’s development, including the cost of the token, has taken place at the rear of the car, with a new rear suspension and gearbox.
The focus was also on restoring the engine power lost between the 2019 and 2020 seasons following a series of rule clarifications. The team reports improvements in all areas of the powertrain, as well as changes to reduce the size of the suit at the rear of the car.
When we started working on the SF21, we immediately had to decide which part of the car we were going to focus on for a radical change, said chassis manager Enrico Cardile. We decided to go for the rear and developed a new transmission and suspension. This, along with the work of our powertrain engineers, has given us a much tapered rear end than the SF1000.
We also checked the cooling system. We increased the credibility of the central radiator and also designed the body with a stronger downward wash.
Aerodynamics is one of the areas affected by the rule changes. They are designed to limit the ability to develop a downward vertical force, thus ensuring tyre safety. So when we started working on the aerodynamics of the car, we had two goals: increase the aerodynamic load lost compared to the regulations and reduce the drag.
The changes to the front of the car were less radical due to the regulations. That’s why we developed a new front wing to match the new nose, but the chassis and suspension are the same as the SF1000.
We are certainly not intimidated by these challenges. We will face them as we always have, with our feet on the ground, knowing that we must work hard and well to live up to the name we represent.
Ferrari and its nine rivals will face each other for a three-day test at the Bahrain International Circuit from March 12-14.
The first race of the year, the Bahrain Grand Prix, takes place on the 28th. March in the same place.