The SF71H (the code name for the 669 project) is the sixty fourth single-seater car designed and produced by Ferrari to compete in the F1 World Championship.
Rule changes introduced last season led to the introduction of significant aerodynamic modifications and wider tyres, all aimed at increasing performance. Therefore the new 2018 Ferrari F1 car has been created to make the most of the experience gained last year.
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.
The most obvious element to catch the eye is the Halo, designed to protect the cockpit area, and in the case of the SF71H it is not as obtrusive as the devices on rival cars. The Halo weighs around 7 Kg, plus fittings and this has only been partly compensated for with an increase of 5 Kg - from 728 to 733 - to the minimum car weight set in the 2018 regulations.
The number of V6 engines that can be used over the course of the season, without incurring a penalty, continues to decrease, this year from 4 to 3. The same number applies to the turbo-compressor and MGU-H - the energy recovery system attached to the turbo - while only 2 MGU-K -the device that generates kinetic energy linked to the transmission - are allowed over the year, a figure which also applies to the electronic control unit and the batteries. Therefore those in the engine department have also based their work on these new parameters.
"If we take stock of what we did last year, in low-speed tracks we always did well," said technical director Mattia Binotto, "while in circuits where the speed was higher we were suffering a little bit more.
"So aerodynamic development was sought in that respect and the car was conceived in that way in order to have homogeneous, uniform performance all season.
"When it comes to performance, these are all contributions that aim to improve the aerodynamics of the car," he continued. "They try to improve the drag level in general while improving the overall efficiency of the car.
"Increasing the wheelbase improves the aerodynamics elements and allows them to be freer when it comes to all the elements that are in the middle of the car. Working on the back of the car, which requires a lot of effort, means an improvement in the airflow on the rear of the car.
"These have all been architectural and layout actions aimed at one final objective, that of improving aerodynamics, or at least opening more avenues for aerodynamic performance during the season.
"With regards to aerodynamics, we tried to retain our concept of the inlets for the radiators, and everybody is copying that, but we tried to make an additional step forward. What we showed today is not the same element as last year, it is something more developed. The strengths are there and we wanted to improve ourselves."
"Now is the time when you see the car, it's all ready and you want to get in and go out on the track and have a go," said Sebastian Vettel.
"To stand here now is very special for all of us," he continued, looking around at the members of the workforce attending the event. "I think they are all waiting for us to say how it feels. So we can't wait to get out on track to see how the car performs, how it behaves. I think that's the answer that we all want to hear and we go from there. For sure, the amount of effort that has gone in and the attention to detail in so many areas is impressive.
"Every little detail matters," he added, smiling as he looked down on the car he hopes might take him to a fifth title, "every part can make a difference and I think this year's car is a big step from last year's," declared Vettel, who won his four titles with Red Bull between 2010 and 2013."
Meanwhile, teammate Kimi Raikkonen was as talkative as ever. "When it looks nice, the speed is also there," said the Finn. "But obviously we will see that next week."