Ferrari’s new SF-23 has been revealed. While visually similar to the 2022 F1 car, the car is a ‘complete re-design’ of last year’s F1-75.
Ferrari hosted a boisterous launch event at Fiorano on Tuesday, with the tifosi invited into the grandstands of the iconic test track as the Scuderia revealed their brand new SF-23 to the world.
With the team opting to use up a filming day, incorporated into the launch event, Charles Leclerc climbed behind the wheel of the SF-23 for the first lap in the new machine.
Visually, the car looks quite similar to last year’s competitive F1-75 – the speed of the 2022 car was never in question, even if the machine did appear to fall behind in the development race against Red Bull.
What has changed on the Ferrari SF-23 chassis?
For the second year of the new ground effect regulations, Ferrari took the opportunity to refine their design philosophy from last year. Very much an evolution of last year’s car, the Scuderia have stuck with the initial concept they came up with for 2022 – albeit with a significant re-design to reflect the lessons learned during an intense year of racing.
“Our 2023 car is an evolution of the one we raced last year,” explained Ferrari’s head of chassis Enrico Cardile.
“But, in reality, it has been completely redesigned.
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“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.”
Ferrari coy about rumoured power unit gains
Much has been made in the media, particularly stemming from Italy, about purported horsepower gains from Ferrari’s power unit.
An engine freeze was brought into play at the start of 2022, with engine development aimed at performance gains strictly prohibited. However, teams are still permitted to work on their engines in order to improve reliability – should a power gain inadvertently occur as a result of such work, it’s a fortunate coincidence for that manufacturer.
The process is strictly monitored by the FIA, with reliability solutions knowledge dispersed freely by the governing body to the other engine manufacturers in order to ensure the competitors self-police each other.
Speaking about the work that has been carried out by Ferrari on their power unit for 2023, Enrico Gualtieri, head of Ferrari’s power unit department, related his department’s work over the winter.
“Preparation work for the new season is usually one of the busiest times of the year and this winter was no exception,” he said.
“PUs have been frozen since last year, including fluids, oil, and fuel and the only modifications allowed are those related to reliability, which was our Achilles Heel last season.
“We focused on the internal combustion engine and the electric motors. At the same time, we tried to capitalise on the experience gained on track last season and looked at all the feedback and signs of weakness from the PU components we used. We also revised our assembly procedures.
“We tried to understand the root causes of the problems we encountered on track and used all our available tools to try and solve them. It involved all areas, from design to experimentation to try and test new solutions in a very short space of time. The work never ends, based on continuous improvement of the components to try and reach the required level of reliability.”