By Joey Barnes, Editor-in-Chief
The car launches for the 2018 Formula One season are in full swing, with Scuderia Ferrari the latest to join in the action with Thursday’s showing of the SF71H.
The Italian manufacturer took the covers off of their latest creation, which also happens to be their 64th challenger designed and produced for the F1 championship.
At first glance, the most noticeable thing to stick out is the traditional red livery, which is a change from the white/red and black/red combo from its predecessors.
Improvements are featured with the addition of a longer wheelbase, along with an increased effort on aerodynamics and suspension.
“Compared to 2017’s SF70H, the wheelbase has been changed slightly, with the side dimensions also revised along with the cooling system,” said Ferrari, via a team release.
“The suspension follows the tried and tested practice of using push-rods at the front and pull-rods at the rear, however, their design has been updated based on experience gained during the first season running the wider tires.”
Cockpit protection is the focal point with the safety introduction of the Halo, which Ferrari state “weighs around 7 Kg.”
With reliability an issue last year, there was additional focus with the power unit. Entering this season, teams are only allowed change out V6 engines three times before incurring a penalty, down from the four allowed in 2017. The turbo-compressor and MGU-H are also limited to three, while the MGU-K can only be changed out twice.
For the first time since 2009, Santander branding is not seen on the car. The Spanish financial company elected to end its involvement in grand prix racing.
The driver lineup features the return of Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen, and adds former Red Bull Racing and Toro Rosso pilot Daniil Kvyatt as development driver for 2018.
Up next, Ferrari will head to Circuit de Barcelone-Catalunya for a filming day on February 25. Preseason testing is set to begin the following day on February 26 and run until March 1.