At Ferrari, the countdown has begun in anticipation of the launch of the 675 scheduled for 14 February in Maranello at 11.25. The presentation of the car is once again a face-to-face event (the last one was in 2020 at the Romolo Valli Theater in Reggio Emilia when the veils fell off the SF1000), after a couple of years of presentations via the web.
There is a lot of curiosity around the 2023 single-seater that will challenge Red Bull and Mercedes in the fight for the Formula 1 world title: the car continues to be praised for the data that emerge from the simulations. Alongside the constant work of the testers, what has also intensified is the presence of the two main drivers, Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz who have now had the opportunity to make a rather clear idea of the new car compared to last year’s F1-75.
There is an optimistic feeling in the Ferrari Gestione Sportiva, fueled by the words of the top management of the Scuderia: Benedetto Vigna, CEO of Ferrari, spoke of a team aiming for… the ultimate prize, while Fred Vasseur expressly indicated the two world titles as a goal for a Maranello team that has everything it takes to win again.
Also because the last Constructors’ championship dates back to 2008 and for the Drivers’ championship we need to take a step back another year to arrive Kimi Raikkonen’s amazing win with the F2007.
Many Ferrari hopes are linked to the reliability of the 066/7 power unit: last year’s three failures heavily conditioned the pace and performance of the F1-75 challenger, forcing Enrico Gualtieri’s engineers to limit the available power with less extreme mappings to allow the two drivers to end the 2022 Formula One season with six PUs each, instead of the expected three.
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It is therefore evident that the precious points lost due to technical retirements were added to the penalties on the grid which forced Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz to attempt comebacks from the rear. This year’s prospects are much better: with 23 GPs on the calendar, it is legitimate for Ferrari to plan a season to conclude with four units, i.e. with a life extended to 6 GPs, slightly less than double that of 2022.
The FIA has allowed the power unit suppliers to work on the reliability of the power units (we understand that Mercedes has also presented about fifteen requests for small modifications, despite having the most resistant engine in the entire sport): and, not being able to modify the fuel which has been homologated since last March, Ferrari has continued research into the combustion chamber.
The return of Davide Mazzoni in Ferrari, which took place last November, fits into this theme: the former Maserati Powertrain Devolopment Manager was appointed Head of ICE for his specialization in engine calibration, functionality and reliability. A line of development that has evolved over the various professional experiences that have led him to work for Ducati twice.
The less well-known aspect is that Davide Mazzoni is also an expert in e-fuel: he carried out painstaking research work which led him to cancel that 6/7% less power that Maserati engines had due to synthetic fuel. With different mappings and correct advances, the same performance values of the fuel at the pump were found.
Davide Mazzoni’s experience, therefore, can be invaluable both for extracting the maximum potential from the current F1 duel which is E10, i.e. with the addition of 10% bioethanol in the blend, and for starting the research on the 2026 engine which will have to have (almost) zero emissions.
The 2026 project was entrusted to Wolf Zimmerman, the German who designed the current Superfast power unit. Now that Ferrari has agreed to the rules of the new engines, it can start studying the engine which will have to have 50% of the power supplied by electricity. The 6-cylinder endothermic turbo, bound by too restrictive regulation choices, will be able to deliver a maximum of 550 horsepower, about 200 less than those available today.
With more mechanical constraints, it will be essential to exploit the characteristics of e-fuel to derive maximum efficiency from a fuel that could save the European automotive industry from the ban on internal combustion engines, making the ecological transition more sustainable.