Formula One giants Ferrari displayed their new 2020 Formula One car along with a theatrical show of passion and pride on Tuesday. The carmaker assured the fans who have been longing for their success that the car was different under the skin compared to last year's model.
The SF1000, which marks the 1000th race of the Italian carmaker's team, is that car on which the hopes of Ferrari are riding to end their six-years of not winning the title. The last six years were mostly dominated by Mercedes and by their driver Lewis Hamilton who is on the brink of equalling Michael Schumacher's record seven titles. The car looked externally similar to the previous year's model but team principal Mattia Binotto said that appearances were deceptive.
Ferrari's new car looks the same
"We have been as extreme in all the concepts as we could," he told a global audience watching as the car made its appearance on stage at Reggio Emilia's opulent Romolo Valli opera house. "The entire car, power unit, has been packaged to have a very narrow and slim body shape.
"It may look very similar to last year but, believe me, it's completely different and a lot of the concepts are very extreme," added the Swiss-born Italian, who is starting his second year at the helm. Four-times world champion Sebastian Vettel, on stage with 22-year-old Monegasque teammate Charles Leclerc, gave it his immediate seal of approval. "I like it a lot," said the German, who also showed off his Italian in addressing the audience. "And it's a little bit redder than last year."
Ferrari won three races last year, two for Leclerc and the other for Vettel, and finished runners-up to Mercedes who won both titles for an unprecedented sixth successive season. The 2019 season proved a particularly cold shower for the only team to have competed in every championship since the start in 1950, with the car raising hopes by being quickest in pre-season testing only to then fail to deliver as expected.
Ferrari's presentation put emotion centre stage
Both the team and drivers made errors, while a lack of reliability also led to likely wins slipping through their fingers. Presenting the new car away from Maranello for the first time, in a nearby city famed as the birthplace of the Italian flag and with fans thronging the square outside, Ferrari's presentation put emotion centre stage.
A violin soloist played, cymbals clashed and a youth orchestra performed stirring Formula One-themed music as the team put on a show before the serious work of testing starts in Barcelona on February 19. Some 350 men and women from the racing department took their seats in the auditorium and were recognised as Ferrari's 'unsung heroes' by president Louis Camilleri.
"We all share a passion for the prancing horse," he said. "We are all very conscious of the huge responsibilities that lie on our shoulders." Ferrari last won a drivers' title with Kimi Raikkonen in 2007, and a constructors' championship in 2008. The season starts in Australia on March 15.
(With agency inputs)