Ferrari have revealed their 2018 challenger, the SF-71H, that they hope will lead them to their first Formula 1 title in a decade.
The Scuderia team had drivers Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen on hand to release the SF-71H in Italy just hours after Mercedes released their car for this year. The SF-71H looked similar to their five-time race-winning 2017 car, but with some clear improvements in the aero and some aggressive looking features. The car has kept the truly iconic red paint scheme however.
Like many of the teams this season, Ferrari have gone aggressive with their treatment of the side pods in particular. Making them smaller but adding a lot more aerodynamic features around them to compensate for the smaller size. Interestingly they have also opted to run a kind of aero lip on top of the Halo head device that has become standard on all car this years.
“It looks nice and usually when it looks nice there is speed also,” said Raikkonen when asked about the car.
One big thing the Maranello based team have implemented this year is a longer wheelbase, something that will bring it more in line with the Mercedes base they are running.
“Compared to 2017’s SF70H, the wheelbase has been changed slightly, with the side dimensions also revised along with the cooling system,” said Ferrari. “The suspension follows the tried and tested practice of using push-rods at the front and pull-rods at the rear, however, their design has been updated based on experience gained during the first season running the wider tyres.”
It’s fair to say though the chances are a lot of the work at Ferrari’s Maranello base this winter will have focused on eliminating the flaws which proved so costly in 2017.
Ferrari have competed in every season in Formula 1, and having gone through Championship droughts in the past. It looked in 2017 however that was all about to change as Vettel led the Championship standings for the first 12 rounds of the season. Ferrari seemed to be capitalising on a floundering Mercedes, who were struggling with their “diva” of a car. By summer break however they had largely got the car under control, and with the help of their driver Lewis Hamilton they overhaled Vettel in the championship. Critically when Vettel needed the car the most the reliability was no there for him. A start-line crash in Singapore, and successive engine problems in Malaysia and Japan scuppering his challenge for the championship.
Despite this Vettel has retuned again this year with Ferrari, chasing the fifth Drivers Championship of his career. He will be joined again by elder statesman of F1 Raikkonen, who will be aiming to score as many points as he can to assist Ferrari in gaining the Constructors Championship.
The next car to be released will be the McLaren at 7AM GMT on Friday.
2018 car unveilings and launch dates
Haas: February 14, VF-18
Williams: February 15, FW41
Red Bull: February 19, RB14
Sauber: February 20, C37
Renault: February 20, RS18
Mercedes: February 22, W09
Ferrari: February 22, SF-71H
McLaren: February 23, Online 7AM GMT
Toro Rosso: February 26, Barcelona
Force India: February 26, Barcelona