Ferrari has introduced the new SF-23. The goal of the Scuderia is the world title. For this purpose, the previous year's concept was further developed in many details. The nose is shorter, the sidepod optimized - and hopefully the engine is more stable.
Last season started promisingly for Ferrari. But it wasn't enough for the really big hit. The Scuderia came second twice in each case - in the drivers' championship with Charles Leclerc and in the constructors' championship. Red Bull surpassed the most successful racing team in Formula 1 history, which could not keep up either in terms of development or reliability. And there we have already arrived at the sore points that the new SF-23 must be able to do better for the Formula 1 season.
The new Red Goddess needs a larger working window for the aerodynamics to work. This gives drivers the necessary confidence in their work equipment, and also helps with tire management over the distance. The SF-23 must be more streamlined than its predecessor. The excessive air resistance repeatedly forced Ferrari to make compromises in 2022, which led to defeat by Red Bull. Sometimes 10 km/h or more were missing on the straights.
A very important point in the engineers' specifications is stability. The V6 turbo engine blew up three times last season and cost Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz important championship points. After the misery with the valves, Ferrari reduced the power. As you can hear, pretty strong.
The task of the engineers over the winter was to improve the reliability of the drive in order to get the full performance out of the package again. If that succeeds, Ferrari automatically makes a good leap. The new team boss Frederic Vasseur is convinced: "We worked well over the winter. I am confident that we will be able to focus on the music in terms of performance."
SF-23 with a shortened nose
With the SF-23, Ferrari finally wants to bring the world title back to Maranello. The last time this happened was in 2007 for the drivers (with Kimi Raikkonen) and in 2008 in the team world championship. For the company, Ferrari had shifted all resources to the new car early in the season after it became clear in the summer that Red Bull were rushing to the World Championship. And this is the result: the new SF-23. The name stands for "Scuderia Ferrari" and the corresponding year.
Ferrari stays true to its concept with the bulging sidepods and refines it in detail. There was also no reason to change the aerodynamics philosophy. Twelve pole positions showed that the speed was right. The nose and the front wing are particularly striking on the new Red Goddess. The Ferrari engineers shortened the tip of the nose. As a result, the lowest element of the front wing is now free in the air. The nose of the predecessor was still "baked in".
The five small connecting bars between the third and fourth flap of the front wing cause a stir. Ferrari shaped the stabilizers like small winglets that rotate sideways. Perhaps you remember last year. Mercedes showed up at the Mexican GP with a similar solution. The FIA technicians stepped in. Apparently there are loopholes in this area, or Article 3.9.8 in the Technical Regulations has been revised for the new season. One thing is clear: Ferrari wants to direct the air outwards in a targeted manner.
Ferrari goes its own way
Pushrods (compression struts) activate the spring-damper elements on the front axle. In the rear there are pullrods (tension struts). The sidepod between the wheels is wide and long like the F1-75, but has a slightly different undercut. The entrance to the side box is similar to a letter box slot pulled backwards. Ferrari modulated the opening slightly differently. The new SF-23 also has the "bathtub" in the side box. However, the transition to the bonnet is different.
It's worth looking into the hollow. Ferrari has embedded several slats in the front area. Part of the air from the side box is discharged upwards here. Then there is a small gap up to the next openings. There are seven additional cooling slots at the transition to the engine cover. A vertical slot opens next to the cockpit.
Ferrari continues to go its own way and refrains from bulging the bonnet in the central area. The SF-23 appears very compact in this area. Or in other words: very streamlined. The drive modules, cooler and control units are built deep into the car. That lowers the center of gravity.
Ferrari chassis boss Enrico Cardile summarizes: "The most noticeable changes are in the front suspension area, where we switched to a low tie rod. The front wing is different, as is the construction of the nose, while the bodywork is a more extreme version of that's what we saw last season."
SF-23 drives in Fiorano
The regulations allow Ferrari to use the wind tunnel more than Red Bull. In numbers: Ferrari has 240 runs available, Red Bull only 202. Ferrari also has more capacity for computer-controlled development thanks to the set of rules. The engineers in red want to use this fact to their advantage.
It can be assumed that Ferrari put a lot of work into the construction of the underbody. What can be seen from the outside is a large stepped baffle at the very edge. The shape under the car is particularly important. The downforce gained here is particularly efficient. It is not at the expense of air resistance.
However, dangers lurk. If you want too much, bouncing could punish you.The car then sucks in and out uncontrollably at high speeds. It starts to hop. Ferrari experienced another unpleasant side effect after a conversion in France in 2022. A new underbody shrank the comfort window of the F1-75. Tire wear increased. This must not happen again.
The airbox on the SF-23 is triangular again. Two horns bend up to the right and left. They channel the air. We already know that from the predecessor. The halo carries an attachment. Filigree winglets grow laterally on the SF-23 at the rear edge of the cockpit. The higher proportion of visible carbon (nose, sidepods, engine cover comb) suggests that the engineers had to save weight.
The 2022 Ferrari was two to four kilograms over the minimum weight. The new Ferrari racing car made its first exit immediately after the unveiling on the home track in Fiorano. Charles Leclerc won the right to the maiden voyage with a coin toss.