It was a St. Valentine’s Day to remember for Scuderia Ferrari fans around the world. At around lunchtime, the SF23, the Maranello marque’s challenger for the coming Formula 1 season, was unveiled at the company’s Fiorano track. It is the 69th car built by Ferrari to compete in motor racing’s blue riband category, which starts with the Bahrain Grand Prix on 5 March.
Fans in the stands
The day was full of surprises, starting with the presence of 500 fans in a grandstand specially erected at the Fiorano track, making this the first real launch to be staged after two years of virtual car presentations. Before the launch, the drivers Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz went to greet the crowd which included many members of the various Scuderia Ferrari Clubs and students from Muner, the Motorvehicle University of Emilia-Romagna, and some from the Alfredo Ferrari Higher Education Institute, along with their teachers.
Car on track
The SF-23, whose name marks a return to the format of the Scuderia Ferrari initials combined with the year of competition, as has been the case for most of the hybrid era, was first seen on video. But then came the announcement that, for the first time since 2017, the car would actually take to the track on launch day. Which of the two drivers would get behind the wheel first was decided by Fred Vasseur tossing a special coin, with Leclerc’s and Sainz’s race numbers- 16 and 55 – one on each side. Charles won and drove the SF23 for its first couple of laps, while Carlos got his turn shortly afterwards.
The SF-23 livery features some parts in naked carbon, while the historic “long F” logo appears on the rear wing. The red colour is also brand new, created by Ferrari Design: a matt version on the Formula 1 car, and glossy on the 499P Hypercar, which makes its endurance racing debut this year.