Today Scuderia Ferrari launched their new Formula 1 car in Maranello, Italy in a livestream ahead of pre-season testing which begins on Monday 26th February at Circuit de Catalunya in Barcelona.
Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen unveiled the SF71H, alongside President Sergio Marchionne, Team Chief Maurizio Arrivabene and Technical Chief Mattia Binotto.
Ahead of the launch, President Serio Marchionne was already confident for the upcoming season with a number of organisational changes made to the team:
"Given where we started from last year, this season we have taken giant strides forward,”
With only 31 days to go until the opening round of the 2018 FIA Formula One World Championship, Ferrari are keen to improve on last season and hungry to win both Drivers and Constructors Championships this year.
The launch was made extra special by including a number of Ferrari fans, the Tifosi to record their own introductions, carefully selected as part of the #BringYourPassion online campaign.
INTRODUCTION OF THE HALO DEVICE FOR THE FIRST TIME
This year sees one of the biggest changing in Formula 1, with the mandatory HALO device coming in to protect drivers from being hit from a flying object. The 5 kilo structure is made from titanium and increases the car’s minimum weight to 733Kg, but it’s the visual appearance that makes the 2018 cars so different to last year with the device only seen on a few practice sessions ahead of the upcoming 2018 season.
Fans and teams are divided with the new safety device. Mercedes chief Toto Wolff revealed today at the Mercedes W09 launch: "if you give me a chainsaw I would take it off".
The device is issued as standard to all teams, and manufactured by a Dutch firm which is why we won’t see any variations across manufacturers - other than the addition of any aerodynamic fairings.
OTHER CHANGES TO THE 2018 FERRARI CAR
Further aerodynamic changes have been made since last year, with the “shark-fin” on the engine cover reducing in size. At the rear, the exhaust has been positioned further back and the crash wing, known as the “monkey seat” has gone.
Additional safety features brought in include an additional three cable tethers to each wheel to prevent them coming off in the event of a crash.
A 360 video camera will also be installed on the front of the chassis to provide immersive pictures on race days.
ENGINE AND GEARBOX
Focus on this efficient hybrid turbo V6 is reliability. This season only three V6 engines rather than four can be used for the whole 21-date season. A 40% increase in mileage could see teams gaining an advantage in future races if reliability becomes an issue.
This season Ferrari is providing the Ferrari 063 power unit for Scuderia Ferrari, Haas F1 Team and Alfa Romeo Sauber F1 Team.
There are further restrictions to oil consumption with no more than 6 litres used every 100 Km, and only one type used over an race weekend.
IMPROVING ON 2017
A disappointing 2016 saw Vettel take the podium only seven times and Raikkonen finishing in the top 3 only four times.
Last year saw an innovative SF70H launch and immediately get off to a better start, rivalling World Champions Mercedes for the first half of the season. The latter half saw technical and driver problems ensure they wouldn’t be fighting to win but 5 race wins was a step in the right direction.
Keen to improve on coming 2nd in the Team Standings last season Ferrari will look to make good progress in pre-season testing which begins next week.
The driver line-up of Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen remains the same with former Scuderia Toro Rosso driver Daniil Kvyat working as development driver for the 2018 season after being released from the Red Bull driver development program.