Ferrari has turned the first laps with its new SF-23 as part of the launch event at the team’s headquarters in Maranello.
In front of a bespoke grandstand built specifically for the event to house 500 Scuderia Ferrari fans and local students linked with the team, Charles Leclerc was first to take the 2023 car out onto the Fiorano test track on a beautiful sunny morning in Italy. Leclerc completed just two laps before handing over to Carlos Sainz to do the same – the order decided by the toss of a coin – with a total of 15km allowed as part of a demonstration.
The new car features a number of similar characteristics to last year’s design that started the season so strongly, although there are changes to the front of the car around the front wing and suspension.
“Our 2023 car is an evolution of the one we raced last year, but in reality, it has been completely redesigned,” head of chassis areas Enrico Cardile explained. “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.”
The initial running went smoothly as both drivers completed uninterrupted laps on time, with Ferrari fans also lining the roads around the team’s test track to get a glimpse of the 2023 car.
Team principal Frederic Vasseur emphasized the need for the team to improve reliability in order to secure more consistent results, but thinks he’ll learn more about Ferrari once the season starts.
“I think the priority for everybody is reliability because when you are at this stage of the season and you don’t have the reliability, you are not able to do the three days (of testing) and then you are starting on the wrong foot,” Vasseur said. “Based on the data from the dyno we are all optimistic, but only Bahrain will tell us where we are in terms of reliability and performance. So far it is OK.
“On the other topics, the vision you have from outside the team is always a bit different, and as you know it has been very short notice for me and I have spent the last four weeks trying to understand what is happening at the team last year, but I won’t draw any conclusions before the first event and we have to know each other before we take any action.”