Ferrari launches 2023 car, aims for F1 title
Ferrari has released the car they hope will end a 15-year F1 title drought, the SF23.
The new car retains Ferrari’s famous red paint job with the addition of black along the front of the chassis and on the rear fender, where the team’s name is written in white lettering.
Ferrari launched the SF23 in front of a temporary grandstand at the Fiorano test track, where 500 fans gathered, as well as students from local schools and universities.
Drivers Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz, a rarity for running F1 cars, then drove several laps each for the fans present and those watching the live stream.
A coin toss decided which driver would go first on the Fiorano laps, but Sainz was aware of the progress on the team radio as Leclerc completed the first laps of the car.
“It’s all right, buddy,” Leclerc told Sainz.
Sainz replied, “At the moment you are P1!”
“P1 baby!” came the answer from the cockpit.
Ferrari has not won a Formula One title since its constructors’ success in 2008, and has not won a drivers’ championship since Kimi Räikkönen took the crown in 2007.
Leclerc hopes the new car will put an end to the expectations of Ferrari fans.
“Of course, the goal is to win,” Leclerc said at the presentation. “Winning is what motivates me and the team. I’m very excited to get back in the car and try to win this championship.”
The SF23 marks the start of a new era at Maranello after Fred Wasser replaced Mattia Binotto as Ferrari team principal during the winter.
Binotto’s tenure came to an end after a disappointing 2022 title campaign in which the team failed to deliver on their early season promise and ended up finishing with just four wins compared to Red Bull’s 17 world champions.
The key ingredients for last year’s success seemed to be in place, but after a strong start to the season, Ferrari capitulated due to a series of reliability issues, strategic mistakes and driver errors.
Reliability issues forced Ferrari to sacrifice engine performance in the hope of securing a race finish, and addressing these issues was a key focus throughout the winter.
“I think the priority for everyone is reliability, because when you are at this point in the season and you don’t have reliability, you can’t go three days. [testing] and then you start on the wrong foot,” Wasser said. “Based on the dynamometer data, we are all optimistic, but only Bahrain will tell us where we are in terms of reliability and performance. As long as it’s all right.”
However, the team also fell behind Red Bull in car development and missed several opportunities due to questionable strategic challenges. Vasser said he has revisited last year’s strategic decisions since joining the team last month, but he has no plans to replace key members on the pit wall ahead of the first race.
“We will make minor adjustments, but what you see is only the visible part of the iceberg, and when you talk about strategy, it’s not just one person pushing a button, it’s software, a team in a factory, and also processes in the pit. wall,” he said. “It’s the whole picture, not just one person.”
Chassis development head Enrico Cardile said many of the concepts from last year’s car were carried over, but the design itself was completely new.
“Our 2023 car is an evolution of the one we raced last year, but it has actually been completely redesigned,” he said. “In terms of aerodynamics, we have increased vertical downforce to further adapt to new aerodynamic norms and achieve the desired balancing performance.
“The suspension has also been redesigned to improve aerodynamics and increase the range of adjustments that can be made with the car on the track. The most obvious change has been in the front suspension area, where we switched to low tie rods.
“The front fender is also different, as is the nose structure, and the bodywork is a more extreme version of what we saw last season.”
Ferrari have said Leclerc and Sainz will be treated equally this year unless one of them gets a clear shot at the title.