Ferrari hopes its new SF1000 car will deliver a first world drivers’ title since 2007.
After a spectacular introduction, featuring an orchestra, choir and ballet dancers, as well as speeches from Ferrari CEO Louis Camilleri and Team Principal Mattia Binotto in front of a video backdrop of Ferrari’s F1 history, the new car made its appearance.
The single-seater’s name acknowledges the fact that the Italian team will start its 1000th world championship race during the coming campaign, which begins with the Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne on March 15.
Narrower than last year’s F90, with a deeper red colouring the body, Ferrari is pinning its hopes on the SF1000 car earning them drivers and constructors titles that have eluded them for 12 and 11 years respectively.
“I like it very much,” German driver Sebastian Vettel told reporters.
“I’m impatient to drive it, that will be even more fascinating than looking at it.”
Monaco’s Leclerc is also eager to drive the new car, which will be on track next week for the pre-season testing in Barcelona.
“I felt emotional when I saw it,” the 22-year-old said.
“Now I can’t wait to be out on track and try it and to show all the work that has been done on this car.
“It’s going to be a great challenge.”
In Vettel and Leclerc’s hands, the SF1000 will have a simple mission: to bring Ferrari a constructors’ championship for the first time since 2008 – while both drivers will also be racing to claim Ferrari’s first drivers’ title since Kimi Raikkonen’s 2007 victory.
Last season, Vettel and Leclerc often ended up duelling on the track, culminating in the two drivers colliding during the Brazilian GP.
But Leclerc, who won two races and finished fourth place in the world championship, said lessons had been learned.
“We have learned the lesson from Brazil,” he said.
“We are free to race, but we are teammates.
“A lot of people are working behind us, as a team, and things like Brazil should not happen.”
The Scuderia broke with tradition and presented its new racing car outside of its stronghold of Maranello, unveiling it instead at the Teatro Romolo-Valli in the nearby city of Reggio Emilia.
“This is a very important place for our country,” chairman of the Ferrari group, John Elkann, explained.
“It was in this city that the tricolour flag, which became that of Italy, was created.
“And Ferrari is proud of Italy and of representing Italy.”
Binotto added that this year would be an exceptional one for both Ferrari and the sport at large.
“It’s 70 years of Formula One, we have been there from the start and we are going to reach the figure of 1000 Grands Prix, which is something incredible,” he said.
Barring a forced change in the calendar due to the deadly coronavirus outbreak in Asia, the milestone should be reached in June during the Canadian Grand Prix in Montreal.