Ferrari have revealed their 2023 F1 challenger, the SF-23. It isn’t a radical departure from last year’s F1-75, but it does contain important changes that may provide the edge they need to take home the championship for the first time since 2008.
As explained by Head of Chassis Area, Enrico Cardile, “Our 2023 car is an evolution of the one we raced last year, but in reality, it has been completely redesigned. On the aerodynamic side, we increased vertical downforce to adapt further to the new aero regulations and achieve the desired balance characteristics. The suspension has also been redesigned, to support aerodynamics and increase the range of adjustments that can be made to the car at the track.
“The most obvious changes are in the area of the front suspension where we have moved to a low track rod. The front wing is also different, as is the construction of the nose, while the bodywork is a more extreme version of what we saw last season.”
Despite having a disappointing end to the 2022 season, the core concept of the car was not bad. After all, it brought Ferrari back onto the podium consistently and taking home race wins. But it isn’t the same car, far from it.
The front wing has enhanced outwash capabilities with a completely different profile on the last flap before tapering down towards the endplates. Additionally, and maybe controversially, five vortex generators evoke Mercedes’ banned solution revealed at Austin last year. We don’t know yet if this variation on the idea will be acceptable to the FIA.
While there is some Mercedes inspiration in the front wing, there’s also a touch of Red Bull in the mix. The nose tip is connected to the second element rather than the main profile in similar fashion to the Red Bull.
To improve the aero cleanliness of the front suspension area, the steering rod has been placed at the same level as the lower wishbone.
While we know the front wing is very exciting, everyone’s favourite part of a F1 car is the sidepods. While we can’t see what’s going on inside, the changes to the sidepod suggest that the packaging of the radiators has changed. Particularly, the multiple sets of cooling cut-outs on the top profile of the sidepods and the hot air vent vertically placed alongside the cockpit.
Another thing to suggest the guts inside the car have gotten smaller is the side profile tapering more towards the inside.
Additional features include more winglets on the top of the engine cover, as well as channels on either side of the cockpit.
Finally, the floor is completely new. The leading edge is now on a single plane instead of the two used last season from the French Grand Prix. There’s a raised side edge that features a series of profiles diverting air flow towards the inner section to avoid air spillage underneath the car.
Both Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz have taken the new car for a little test ride and seemed positive about the experience. With Sainz saying that he’s “positive” about “everything that we did today.”
He added, “Normally in all these installation laps, there is always issues here and there, and today the car was running smoothly. I could actually push a bit on it, lean a bit on the car in the corners and feel the first things. We’ve already given some feedback to the engineers to work on for tomorrow.”
Charles Leclerc echoed these statements, “Obviously, with two laps, it’s difficult to go into details but I already gave my feedback once I was in the car there to the engineers to get the first feeling. The car was running well, smooth, everything went really well.”