Today has been met with extreme anticipation and excitement from the tifosi all over the world. The Scuderia Ferrari SF90, the new challenger for the 2019 Formula 1 season, has finally been unveiled in an event in Maranello.
The whole Ferrari Driver Academy, the Gestione Sportiva, Sebastian Vettel, Charles Leclerc, Mattia Binotto, John Elkann and Louis Camilleri where in attendance. The SF90 is probably the most talked about project for the upcoming F1 championship, and expectations are high. Together we’re going to take a look at what has changed from the SF71H through the words of Binotto himself and through the images offered by the Scuderia.
The biggest and most noticeable change in the car’s aero is clearly the front wing. This redesign was mainly due to the new set of regulations for 2019: winglets were abolished to make for closer racing by cutting on dirty air. To achieve the same levels of downforce reached during the 2018 season with these simpler design, the flaps were positioned strategically as to get as much airflow under the car (and through the small plates right behind) as possible. The endplates are also dramatically curved to get maximum outwash.
Binotto explained this change during the press conference today.
“There are a few changes that are straightforward, like the front wing that is for the technical regulations that have changed since last time. But if you look at it in all the details, certainly we try to push very hard, being innovative. The roll hoop is very narrow and very slim. In 2018 we got really good achievements, and this car is a development of last year’s car. It is not a revolution. We simply tried to push again to raise the bar, raise the level, and try to be as extreme as we could.
The bodywork itself is considerably different than that of 2018. Slimmer sidepods and bargeboards, narrow airscope, f-ducts on the sides. Binotto claims that this efficient, slimmer shape was achieved through a rework of “engine installation and power installation packaging” .
Ferrari is rocking a matte livery for the first time. This choice, which was already embraced by Red Bull back in 2016, is slightly but relevantly more efficient than a glossy finish. A matte varnish surprisingly has an influence on aerodynamics, tweaking the way the car surface and airflow interact with each other for the better, and being overall lighter. It’s just a matter of hundreds of grams, but everything makes a difference in Formula 1. The Mission Winnow logo, which was white last year, has now been repainted in black. Presumably this choice was dictated by the potential risk of facing subliminal tobacco advertising charges: Mission Winnow is a Phillip Morris company, and the white/red colour scheme was deemed to be too reminding of the traditional Marlboro branding.
The SF90 will hit the track for the first time in Barcelona, during pre-season testing, this Monday. Only Charles Leclerc and Sebastian Vettel will drive the car as of now, with no additional third driver being revealed.