Ferrari has launched the car it hopes will return the team to the front of the Formula One grid this year following its winless campaign in 2020.
The first images of the car, known as the SF21, leaked online on Wednesday an hour before the official launch video and images were released by the team.
The car features a two-tone livery, with the rear of the car painted in the burgundy colour that featured on the first Ferrari-built racing car, the 125S, in 1947 while the front retains the more familiar matte red of recent seasons.
Charles Leclerc remains at Ferrari for a third season and is joined by Spain’s Carlos Sainz, who replaced Sebastian Vettel over the winter.
Team principal Mattia Binotto said the car was an evolution of last year’s SF1000, which dropped the team to a disappointing sixth in the constructors’ championship.
“The car was born out of last year’s car due to the new regulation,” he said. “So it was partially frozen, but we tried to improve it in all areas wherever it was possible.
“The aerodynamics was revised and it has a completely new power unit.
“Its livery has also changed. As you can see, the posterior is a burgundy colour, similar to the very first Ferrari racing car, the 125S. It’s the same colour we used last year at Mugello to celebrate our 1000th grand prix.
“This year is going to be full of challenges. Visually we’ve drawn on our history, but we’re also looking towards the future, which will always be defined by Ferrari red.”
Ferrari’s largest sponsor, tobacco company Philip Morris International (PMI), is represented by Mission Winnow stickers, including a green logo on the engine cover.
It is not clear whether the Mission Winnow branding, which first appeared on Ferrari’s F1 cars at the 2018 Japanese Grand Prix, will remain on the SF21 at all races this year.
In 2020 the branding was not on the livery at any of the 17 races, but was present at the launch and during pre-season testing.
PMI has often been accused of using the branding to circumvent the ban on tobacco sponsorship in F1.
The SF21 has a revised nose, although the focus of the team’s development, including its token spend, has been at the rear of the car with new rear suspension and a new gearbox.
There has also been a focus on regaining the engine performance lost between the 2019 and 2020 seasons following a series of rule clarifications, with the team reporting improvements in all areas of the power unit as well as changes to reduce the size of the packaging at the rear of the car.
“When we started the SF21 we had to choose right away which part of the car we’d give our attention to to make a radical change,” head of chassis Enrico Cardile said. “We chose the posterior, creating a new transmission and new suspension. This, along with the work done by our power unit engineers gave us a much more tapered rear end compared to the SF1000.
“We also went over the cooling system. We increased the authority of the central radiator, and designed a more down-washing bodywork.
“Aerodynamics was one of the areas impacted by the changed regulations, intended to reduce the capacity of developing vertical downforce, making sure the tyres remain intact. This is why, when we started working on the car’s aerodynamics, we gave ourselves two objectives: on the one hand, increasing the aerodynamic charge lost due to the regulations, and on the other reducing drag.
“The changes to the front part of the car were less radical, due to regulations. So we developed a new front wing that works coupled with a newly conceived nose, but the chassis and the suspensions are the same as the SF1000.
“These challenges certainly do not frighten us. We’ll face them as always, united with our feet on the ground, conscious that we’ll have to work a lot, and well, to honour the name we represent.”
Ferrari and its nine rivals will conduct three days of testing at the Bahrain International Circuit between March 12-14.
The same venue will host the opening race of the year, the Bahrain Grand Prix, on March 28.