Ferrari strived to improve the SF21 'in all areas' says Binotto as team unveil 2021 challenger
With a dash of green on its engine cover, the Ferrari SF21 certainly looks like a bold departure from recent liveries, but what lies underneath the new paint job? Team Principal Mattia Binotto says almost everything on the car has been revamped in an attempt to get the Scuderia back on form in 2021.
The regulations this season may be largely stable but Ferrari have had their work cut out after a disappointing, winless 2020 season. At their online car launch on Wednesday, Binotto explained the efforts the Scuderia have gone to over the winter break.
“This car was born out of last year’s car, due to the new regulations,” began Binotto. “So, it was partially frozen, but we tried to improve it in all of its areas wherever possible. The aerodynamics was revised, its livery has also changed,” he said.
“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 1,000th Grand Prix. Visually, we’ve drawn on our past but we’re also looking forward to the future, which will always be defined by our Ferrari red.”
Head of chassis Enrico Cardile added that the aerodynamics on the SF21 have undergone a “radical” revision with two goals in mind given the new 2021 rules that cut downforce around the car's floor and rear wheels. It seems, as a result, that the team's development tokens have been spent on the transmission and rear suspension.
“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,” said Cardile. “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.
“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.
“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,” Cardile added.
And, of course, the Ferrari engine itself has been a major source of development, with power unit director Enrico Gualtieri explaining the gains they have tried to make in 2021, after the team slipped behind their rivals on this front last year.
“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,” he said.
The car will turn its first laps on Thursday when the team conduct a shakedown, before pre-season testing gets under way in Bahrain on Friday.