Ferrari presents new F1 car to challenge Mercedes
MARANELLO, Italy (AP) — Ferrari unveiled its new Formula One car on Friday, one that it hopes can finally end its title drought.
Team principal Mattia Binotto and drivers Sebastian Vettel and Charles Leclerc were on stage for the presentation of the car, which has been named SF90 to commemorate the Italian manufacturer’s 90th anniversary in 2019. They were joined by Ferrari chairman John Elkann and CEO Louis Camilleri.
“The car embodies the latest state of the art technology, reflects the new regulations for the coming season and is the fruit of the combined enormous work and talent of everyone in the Scuderia,” Camilleri said.
The new matte livery radiates the classic Ferrari red, with splashes of black and hardly any white.
“I’m really excited and I can’t wait to get in,” Vettel said. “I’m looking forward to this year. I think the team is on the right path and hopefully we can continue improving.”
Vettel won the opening two races of the 2018 season and took pole position in three of the first four but Ferrari’s performance waned as the year went on, enabling Mercedes to win a fifth straight drivers’ title with Lewis Hamilton.
Ferrari hasn’t won a title since taking the 2008 constructors’ championship, while Kimi Raikkonen claimed the team’s last driver’s title back in 2007.
“Last season was our best in the last 10 years, yet we fell short of our objectives,” Camilleri said. “Such a setback is never easy to swallow, but I assure you we look ahead with strong commitment and determination.”
It is Vettel’s fifth season with Ferrari but Leclerc’s first after replacing Raikkonen.
“I’m extremely excited to start this new adventure,” Leclerc said. “It’s a dream since I was a child. It’s a very emotional day for me.”
Binotto has also been promoted from chief technical officer, taking over from Maurizio Arrivabene.
The season opens on March 17 at the Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne.