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Ferrari was the eighth team to show its 2023 challenger, and it may have won launch season with its event. Ferrari started by unveiling their new car, the SF-23, at their Maranello headquarters.
Nothing particularly special there, right?
No, not really.
However, where the Scuderia hit a homerun was when they sent their new car out onto the Ferrari-owned Fiorano Circuit for its first laps. Making it even cooler, the grandstands were filled with excited fans, and Charles Leclerc’s first time in the SF-23’s cockpit was streamed around the world.
It’s funny because we haven’t even gotten to testing, and I’m inclined to say Ferrari is off to a strong start. However, they got off to a strong start last year too, and then… well…
Ferrari’s newest ride looks to be an evolution of its 2022 car, the SF-75.
Damn… that old-school Ferrari wordmark on the rear wing is phenomenal.
From the looks of it, Ferrari is moving right along with the concept they developed last season. The SF-23 retains the wide, scooped-out sidepods that were the signature of the SF-75.
There are also reports that the reliability of the Ferrari power unit in the back (which will also be in the Haas VF23 and the Alfa Romeo C43). This should allow it to be run harder without issue, and when that thing was fired up last season it was a rocket.
This makes sense because there was no reason at all for Ferrari to crumple up their previous design and huck it in the trashcan. The SF-75 car was the best qualifying car on the grid in 2022. Charles Leclerc’s average qualifying position was 3.00 while Carlos Sainz’s was 3.82. That makes for an average of 3,41. The World Champion RB18 in the hands of Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez’s average qualifying position was 3.795.
Ferrari Needs To Maintain Its Saturday Pace While Gaining On Sundays
While Ferrari should be a monster on Saturdays again this year, they need some pace on Sundays. They could hold their own, but the Red Bulls and Mercedes tended to swallow them up with a few exceptions, primarily Carlos Sainz’s stellar drive from pole at Silverstone.
Oddly enough the car was the least of Ferrari’s issues last season. They had technical gremlins bite them, specifically on the power unit front. There were driver errors that cost them points. Finally, there were strategic blunders that left fans and other teams scratching their heads so hard they nearly drew blood.
You can be sure that those were front of mind when Ferrari picked its new team principal Frédéric Vasseur who they poached from Alfa Romeo/Sauber, especially the strategy and reliability concerns.
As for the drivers, that’ll be up to them to work out. Ferrari has one of the best driver lineups on the grid when everything’s going right. If they can clean up in these areas, I think the SF-25 — if it improves on the SF-75 — could be an absolute World Champion contender.
Follow on Twitter: @Matt_Reigle