Ferraris are red, Williamses are blue, Formula 1 is almost here—that much is true. Strategically revealing its scarlet car on Valentine's Day, Scuderia Ferrari pulled the covers off its SF-23 Tuesday morning at Maranello. With a new boss, several new staff additions, and a new, shiny red racer, the Scuderia hopes this will be the year it finally brings home another world championship.
Unlike other F1 car reveals we've seen during this off-season, Ferrari opted to host the event at its Fiorano test track for a rather dynamic launch instead of a static one. 2023 F1 drivers Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz were present and mingling with new team boss Fred Vasseur, as well as other executives and Ferrari family members before suiting up for track duty.
To say that high hopes are riding on Maranello's new challenger is an understatement, but that much is true. Its predecessor, the F1-75, managed to win four races and score 12 pole positions during the 2022 season despite the logistical and technical nightmares that plagued the team. Even achieving the same results in 2023 would be seen as a major failure, so the pressure is on to build on 22's success and deliver better results.
"I'm really convinced that Ferrari today, and, for sure, my experience is limited to the last two weeks, but we have everything to win," Vasseur said to the media. "We have to put everything together to do a good job, but we have everything to be able to win.
"You can have a look at the results of the last decades that the wheel is always running, and it's just a matter of continuous improvement for me."
If you're a fan of the Scuderia, you've heard these words before—many times. Promises of delivering results in February, solid performance during pre-season testing a few weeks later, and maybe even a pole position or race victory during the first two or three races of the year. But then the inevitable happens: mistakes are made, Ferrari goes into damage-limitation mode, more mistakes are made, and another F1 season goes to hell.
It'll be up to Alfa's former boss, Vasseur, to steer the ship this year and prove he can do a better job than Mattia Binotto and the many who came before him. While Binotto failed to deliver the ultimate result—another constructors' championship—he fared much better than his predecessors and actually managed to move the needle forward within the team.
Having thrown away his best chance at winning the drivers' championship in 2022, Leclerc knows how important it'll be to perform from Race 1 in 2023. Surely Red Bull and Mercedes are looking to do the same.
"Our goal for this season will be to do better than the previous one, bring home more wins and be more consistent," Leclerc told the media. "The biggest goal will be to win both championships and we will do everything to achieve that .”
Power unit reliability and aero improvements were among the top priorities for Ferrari heading into the off-season. Major aero tweaks can be witnessed on the SF-23, according to F1.com Special Contributor Mark Hughes, who pointed out a more-svelte machine, tweaked sidepods, relocated radiator ducts, and a new front wing and nose construction.
While these design changes are easy to spot, no one will know whether reliability, power, and handling improvements have been made until the cars head to pre-season testing next week in Sakhir.
"This car is the result of the hard work and passion that every member of the team has put into it over the past few months and feels like a step further," Sainz told the media. "Our goal can only be to push hard and try to bring even more victories, always be competitive and fight for both world championships."
The first race of the season is set for March 3-5 at the Bahrain Grand Prix.
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