The scarlet team from Maranello has revealed their 2023 title contender right on Valentines day, the 14th of February. Of course, Scuderia Ferrari are staying true to their roots, as SF-23 remains in that classic red with a familiar yet stunning car design. We also witnessed one of the most impressive car launches of the last couple of years. Ferrari took the stage in Maranello right in front of Tifosi, even with a live shakedown of this season’s car. Fans had the chance to fully witness the roaring SF-23. This also seems like a move of confidence from the team, considering the reliability issues of the last year. It would have been a shame if we had some of that unpleasant experience right on the launch day. The oldest and most legendary F1 team is about to enter its 73rd season, let’s overview its current form and readiness for the upcoming battle.
Drivers and Crew
When it comes to the driver lineup, no drastic changes have been made in the Ferrari camp. Their young, although now fairly experienced prodigy Charles Leclerc still holds the reins of the prancing horse. He has been with the main team since 2019, but his connections with Ferrari stretch further back to 2016 when he joined their academy program. You may say that currently there are no clear number 1’s and 2’s in Ferrari, but it’s also fairly clear that Charles has solidified his position within the team. In his F1 career, the Monégasque driver has managed to claim 5 wins, 24 podiums and 18 pole positions. Many F1 fans and experts suggest that it’s only a matter of time before Leclerc becomes a world champion, all he needs is solid machinery, and we think that the last season showed us exactly that.
Son of a rally legend – Carlos Sainz Jr. is one of the hottest talents on the current grid. Originally a part of Red Bull’s Junior Team, Carlos completed almost three full seasons with Red Bull’s sister team Toro Rosso from 2015 to 2017. His expertise was quickly noticed, so Renault managed to acquire his services for a full 2018 season. This cooperation ended with a sour twist, as Renault opted to go for Daniel Ricciardo, instead of keeping Sainz around. In the end, though, everything worked out in the favour of the Spaniard, as Sainz managed to get a seat at Mclaren, who were quite competitive at that time. From 2019 to 2020, Carlos enjoyed two fruitful seasons with the Woking-based squad before getting an offer from Ferrari. These are the sort of chances you don’t pass up, so here we are today, with Sainz entering his 3rd season with the Italian team. There is no denying the talent of Carlos, but he has been greatly overshadowed by his teammate. So far, Carlos has a single F1 win, 15 podiums and 3 pole positions.
Managerial roles have been a bit problematic for Ferrari. At the end of the last season, Ferrari decided to part ways with Mattia Binotto and hire Alfa Romeo’s Frédéric Vasseur. Ferrari fans are highly demanding, so it’s arguable how much blame we can really put on a few individuals, but having Vasseur instead of Binotto could be the game-changer. While top teams like Red Bull and Mercedes have long-standing team bosses, this position for Ferrari has changed nearly five times during the last decade, so Vasseur has some serious pressure on his shoulders. Ferrari’s reserve/test driver roles will be filled in by Antonio Giovinazzi and Robert Shwartzman. Work in the simulator and behind the scenes is as equally important as performance on the track, so let’s hope these drivers can further assist Ferrari’s 2023 campaign.
Past and Future
We would need more than a paragraph to really go through the history of Scuderia Ferrari, but it’s clear as day that this team has been around for the longest and it’s not planning to go away from the sport any time soon. Their heritage stretches back to 1950 when Ferrari entered their first Grand Prix. Now, 73 years later, we’re looking at 16 constructors and 15 drivers championships and 241 race victories. Even though the team has always been relevant, they are yet to mimic the success they had in the era of Michael Schumacher in the late 90s and early 2000s. Their last constructors championship was in 2008 and their last drivers champion is Kimi Räikkönen, having accomplished that feat in 2007. A couple of times, Ferrari came close, but there was always something that kept them away from the ultimate goal.
Speaking of goals, going into 2023, Ferrari have only one objective in mind, and that is the 1st place. Anything less is a failure, but even Ferrari themselves know that this is going to be one steep mountain to climb, and at the top of that mountain, there is an angry red bull that the prancing horse has to outmanoeuvre. The beginning of the last season was full of hope, but constant reliability issues and human errors dug a hole, which, at the end of the season, was too deep to climb out of. Painful mistakes teach us the most, so could 2023 finally be Ferrari’s year?
We already caught a good glimpse of SF-23 during the launch event, but we’ll be able to find out the pecking order during the yearly pre-season testing in Sakhir, which will take place from the 23rd of February until the 25th. After that, the opening race of the season is scheduled for the 5th of March, happening on that same Sakhir circuit in Bahrain.