Ahead of the official pre-season testing, the Scuderia Ferrari Mission Winnow team has pulled back the covers on its 2021 F1 car with which it is set to race in the 2021 FIA Formula One World Championship.
On the back of its worst season since 1980, Ferrari intends to bounce back and claw back to the sharp end of the field. The 2020 season saw the Scuderia slip down the order and take the sixth position in the Constructors' Championship.
The team from Maranello will compete in the 2021 F1 season with a fresh driver line-up. While Charles Leclerc retained his seat for a third season, Sebastian Vettel has been replaced by Carlos Sainz.
The Spaniard has spent a lot of time at the team’s Maranello factory, trying to integrate himself into his fourth team in Formula One. The Madrid-born driver also drove the team’s SF71H at Fiorano and the SF90 at Jerez in order to try and get accustomed to the Ferrari’s procedures and the characteristics of the Scuderia’s cars.
Ferrari’s Racing Director Laurent Mekies commented: "There’s plenty of positive energy coming from our two drivers. Carlos has spent a lot of time in the factory and has integrated with the team very quickly.
„As for Charles, he is already perfectly at home with the team: he knows what he wants and is also very aware of the role he has in the team, both in and out of the car. Over the winter, we have witnessed the two guys getting on very well together and this can only be a good thing for the whole team,” he concluded.
Following the car’s launch, the SF21 will get its first laps in anger at the Bahrain International Circuit when pre-season testing commences on March 12-14, following a shakedown run on Thursday.
Ferrari’s 2021 contender is an evolution of its predecessor, the SF1000, which is a natural process given the partial development freeze and the amount of obligatory carry-over parts. However, the team was desperate to find a remedy to the problems that hindered its chances throughout the 2020 season.
Commenting on the new car, Ferrari’s Head of Chassis Enrico Cardile said that the priority was to identify the main weaknesses of the SF1000 ahead of the new season.
"When we began the SF21 project, our first task was to identify which area of the car we should focus on in order to achieve a radical change. We opted for the rear end, designing a new gearbox and new suspension system. This, in addition to the efforts of our power unit colleagues has led to a much tighter rear end.
„We also looked at the cooling system, increasing the effectiveness of the central radiator and designed the body with more “downwashing.” Aerodynamics was one of the areas affected by the regulation changes aimed at reducing the ability to generate vertical load, in order not to put too great a strain on the tyres. That’s why, as we began developing the car’s aerodynamics, we set ourselves two goals: recovering more aerodynamic downforce than was lost through the regulations and reducing drag.
"Because of the regulations, less drastic changes were possible at the front end of the car. So, we developed a new front wing which works in conjunction with a new concept nose, but the chassis itself and the suspension is off last year’s SF1000."
Ciao from Bahrain 👋 📹@CarlosSainz55 and @Charles_Leclerc give you their thoughts on our new car livery 😍— Scuderia Ferrari (@ScuderiaFerrari) March 10, 2021
They’re also super excited to hit the track for the first time this week 🤩#essereFerrari 🔴 #SF21 pic.twitter.com/sKk1hza2FK
Following the technical directives, which were introduced at the end of the 2019 season, Ferrari was forced to completely rebuild its power unit with its 2020 engine failing to match the outright performance of the rivals’ power units. The Scuderia has also addressed this problem by overhauling the entire layout of its power unit for 2021.
"As engine engineers, last season on track produced a clear picture of where we were and that was our starting point,” added Enrico Gualtieri, the team's Head of Power Unit. ”It was that awareness, combined with our determination, our skills and those of our partners that led to the creation of the 065/6 power unit for the 2021 season.
„We adopted a systematic approach, with all departments - design, simulation, development, track - working together to find every opportunity for improvement. Along with our colleagues on the chassis side, we worked a lot on the layout of the power unit, to make the overall design of the car as efficient as possible. With the internal combustion engine, we focused on increasing its level of thermal efficiency, in conjunction with our partner Shell and this has produced an improvement in lap time that we estimate at over one tenth of a second.
„We are also carrying out further development on the hybrid system and the electronics, in order to revise and optimise all components. All this in a season in which power unit test bench time has been reduced still further,” said Gualtieri.