Ferrari has revealed its 2021 Formula One World Championship contender, the SF21. It’s the ninth of the ten teams to reveal its car for the upcoming season, with Haas thus far only revealed its 2021 livery applied to a 2020 machine, and the unveiling comes just ahead of the only pre-season test of the year, at Bahrain this coming weekend.
2021 was originally intended to be a year in which the regulations changed, but fate had other plans with the heavily disrupted 2020 season, and the continuing impact on affairs worldwide. The FIA and teams thus decided on a much more minor change for this transitional year, delaying the larger changes to 2022. That means that, like the other cars we’ve seen so far, the SF21 is a mildly developed version of the team’s 2020 machine, the SF1000, with crucial adaptations for the new regulations.
These include a new, tapered rear for the floor and limits on the vents and slots, aimed at reducing the available downforce from the floor. The Ferrari includes this new shape, and tinkering with the image brightness reveals a channel on the upper surface similar to what we saw on — of all cars — the Williams FW43B last week.
While some other teams are taking a conservative approach to 2021, Ferrari has spent all of its development tokens as it seeks to improve on a relatively lowly sixth place overall finish — and only three podium finishes across the whole season. That takes the form of a completely redesigned rear end, with the aim to recover downforce lost through the new regulations.
In addition, the Ferrari engine is new for 2021 too. Ferrari estimates a gain of around a tenth of a second per lap, with a more efficient engine than before. Enrico Gualtieri, Ferrari’s head of power unit, also comments that the the engineering teams are developing the hybrid system further too.
There is a major change in the team for 2021 of course, as four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel has left the team and moved to Aston Martin. Ferrari has signed highly rated McLaren driver Carlos Sainz to replace him and drive alongside Charles Leclerc, who enters his second season with the team.
Only Haas has yet to show its 2021 car, but it should be revealed during the Bahrain pre-season test which runs this weekend, from 12-14 March. That will be the first opportunity to see all the cars in track action, and though the times are not truly representative it should reveal who will go well and who won’t.