Charles Leclerc, Mattia Binotto, Carlos Sainz

Ferrari announce 2021 F1 launch plans, car named ‘SF21’

Charles Leclerc, Mattia Binotto, Carlos Sainz

Ferrari have announced their plans for their car launch ahead of the 2021 Formula 1 season, with the new SF21 to be unveiled prior to preseason testing.

As required under the development restrictions put in place as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the new car will be an evolution of the current SF1000, with team principal Mattia Binotto revealing his plans for the launch in a press conference on Friday.

“We already decided the name of the car next year,” he told reporters. “The car will be called the SF21.

“It’s a very simple name, because we believe that next year is a transition to 2022. So let’s keep SF21 the name of the car. It will be certainly partially a frozen car, same chassis as 2020.

“We will organize differently the unveiling of the car next year. We will organize first an event where we will present the team and our drivers to our fans, to our partners and to the journalists. But we may organize a second event, and that could be directly at Barcelona winter testing, where we will unveil the car. And that will be somehow done in a different [way].”

An undeniable disappointment in 2020, Ferrari was sixth in the constructor’s championship after finishing second the year prior, having clearly taken a step back in the wake of the FIA’s clamp-down on regulatory loopholes the Scuderia was alleged to be exploiting with its previous power unit. In 2021, Binotto says the engine should be a significant improvement.

“I can confirm the engine is running well on the dyno,” he revealed. “I think that in terms of performance, it progressed well. Significantly I think compared to what has been [in] 2020.

“I think that we will be back to being competitive as a power unit. I think we will not be the worst in the field, and that is the feeling I got from the figures I’ve seen on the dyno. But I cannot know what the others are certainly doing, or how much they have progressed.”

As to the chassis itself, Binotto said the restrictions hadn’t stopped them from making important progress on the aerodynamics as well.

“In addressing the weaknesses, I mentioned the power unit more than once. But the drag of the car was very, very high in 2020. And I think that looking at the 2021 car, the drag has been somehow certainly addressed.”

At the same time, Binotto stressed that it remains too soon for Ferrari to once again challenge Mercedes, but the hope is the Scuderia will be able to insert itself into the three-way battle for third with McLaren, Racing Point and Renault.

“The gap to the best team is very high and we will not close it next year,” he admitted. “Third is not impossible and that should be our minimum objective for next season.”