Red Mist: Ferrari’s SF-23 a sign of measured expectations?

Red Mist: Ferrari’s SF-23 a sign of measured expectations?

Red Mist: Ferrari’s SF-23 a sign of measured expectations?
Ferrari have recently announced that they will call our 2023 Formula 1 challenger, the SF-23 which simply stands for, Scuderia Ferrari–2023.

There’s not much ado about Ferrari right now. Except perhaps that Maranello confirmed that our new Formula 1 car due to have its covers ripped off next Tuesday, on Valentine’s Day, will be called SF-23.

Ferraris have been known by a number of differing nomenclatures since the Scuderia stepped away from its traditional measure of the capacity of one of the car’s cylinders. In other words, if it was a 166, that meant 12 x 166 cc = 1,992 cc. Close as dammit to a 2 liter V12. Get it?

There were of course many famous V12 Ferraris. Like Lampredi’s 225, and the Colombo 250. The numbers grew and grew too, and were usually linked to a letter, or two, or a nickname. Like the 375 F1, MM or LM.

MM for Mille Miglia, LM for Le Mans. TR, or Testarossa basically meant it had a red tappet cover; to designate superior genealogy.

Total capacity & number of cylinders became the norm

The car would further be called a barchetta (for little bath), spyder or coupe in deference to its body shape. Now there are a few riders.

There’s a reason a Ferrari would have an unusually high number, for instance. The 500 or 625s were 2-litre 4 cylinders. It all changed in the late 50s though, when Ferrari defined it by total capacity and number of cylinders.

The 156 was a 1.5-litre V6, the 312 and 512 were three and five-liter flat V12s and so forth. That’s how it stayed for over 20 years. But it all changed from 1980. After a few seasons of 125 turbo 1,500 cc V6s, it changed to the 640 range into the early ‘90s and then reverted to the 412 in the 3.5-litre F1 era.

It’s been all over the place ever since, through the heady F1-2000 and F2001 to F2005 era, back to 248 F1 in ’96. The F and year thing returned for the F2007, F2008 and F2012, peppered with a whole lot of odd designations between.

Our 150 Italia famously changed from F-150 in 2011, because Ford complained that’s what it calls its world best-selling truck!

SF has become an anniversary favourite

Our new car will be the eighth F1 Ferrari to use the SF acronym, usually tied into a number of relevance. Like SF70H and SF71H were 70 and 71 years of Ferrari as a carmaker in 2017 and ’18.

SF90 represented 90 years of the Scuderia Ferrari race team in 2019. Last year’s F1-75 celebrated 75 years of the brand. There just isn’t a theme anymore.

This year’s car will be the SF-23. Plain and simple short for Scuderia Ferrari–2023. Now Red Mist likes this humble approach. It ties in well with what we discussed last week.

Ferrari is not making any great statements or promises. It is just getting on with it. Remodelling quietly under new boss Fred Vasseur.

So is there a hidden message in simple SF-23?

This ongoing controlled rhetoric is a great start. Like the elephant – small mouth, big ears, slowly, slowly catch that monkey with our plain and simple SF-23. Let’s discuss that in more detail next week. Che vidiamo!