F1 2018: Ferrari unveils brand new SF-71H, ready to make title run

By @saihoops on
Scuderia Ferrari, F1 2018, Ferrari, SF-71H
The new Ferrari F1 car model SF71H is seen in this handout photo released from Maranello, Italy, February 22, 2018. Reuters / Scuderia Ferrari/Handout

Scuderia Ferrari has launched the SF-71H with hopes of winning its first Formula One championship in over a decade. On Thursday, drivers Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen launched the brand new car, which F1 experts believe has made significant aerodynamic improvements around the sidepods compared to the 2017 predecessor which won five races. 

A year ago, Vettel, the former four-time World Champion, enjoyed his first title-contending season with the Prancing Red Horse before his campaign was derailed by a series of engine failures and critical mistakes. At the halfway stage of the 2017 Formula One season, Vettel was the clear frontrunner to bring Ferrari their first Drivers' championship since Raikkonen won the 2007 title.

However, Mercedes F1 and Lewis Hamilton flipped the script and dominated the second half of the season as Ferrari F1 finished a distant second in the Constructors' race.

Mercedes and Red Bull Racing have dominated the sport over the last decade, winning eight of the last 10 drivers’ championships. F1 experts believe Ferrari could turn the tide in the 2018 Formula One season.

F1 2018: Ferrari launch brand-new SF71H

In a press release, Ferrari explained the differences between the 2018 car and its predecessor, the SF70H.  “Compared to 2017’s SF70H, the wheelbase has been changed slightly, with the side dimensions also revised along with the cooling system. The suspension follows the tried and tested practice of using push-rods at the front and pull-rods at the rear, however, their design has been updated based on experience gained during the first season running the wider tyres.”

Raikkonen, who could be entering his final season with Ferrari, is quietly excited about the new season. “It looks nice and usually when it looks nice there is speed also,” the former 1-time F1 world champion said.

Sky F1 analyst Mark Hughes believes the 2018 car is a logical evolution. “New Ferrari SF71H a logical evolution of last year’s. Slight wheelbase increase, even more aggressive treatment of sidepods and repackaging. Conventional height front suspension. Aero lip atop halo," Hughes tweeted.

The 2018 Formula One season will get kick off on March 25 at Melbourne's Albert Park with the Australian Grand Prix. Though F1 oddsmakers have tipped Mercedes as the favourites to repeat as champions, both Ferrari F1 and Red Bull Racing could prove to be legitimate contenders. The teams will begin the first official pre-season test in Barcelona on Feb. 26.