Ferrari’s contender for the 2018 FIA Formula One World Championship was designed not only to consolidate the Scuderia’s 2017 strengths but also with the specific intention to negate rival Mercedes’ noticeable advantage at the high-speed circuits. In the words of Ferrari Technical Director, Mattia Binotto, whilst speaking about the SF71-H at its launch, ‘If we take stock of what we did last year, in low-speed tracks we always did well while in circuits where the speed was higher we were suffering a little more. So aerodynamic development was sought in that respect….’ To this end, the SF71-H was designed with a longer wheelbase, an evolution of bodywork design around the sidepods and a more honed rear-end. These improvements were joined by a much larger airbox opening, due to a repackaging of the cooling system along the centre of the SF71-H.
Driven by World Champions Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Räikkönen, the SF71-H took two wins in the first three Grands Prix of the 2018 season. It also set two new track records in Bahrain and Shanghai during qualifying. At Silverstone, a notoriously high-speed track, Vettel’s win showed that Binotto’s design ambitions for this 2018 contender had not been in vain.