Prancing Horse vows to turn fortunes around with “better-looking” design.
Ferrari has launched its 2015 Formula One challenger with which four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel and its former champ Kimi Raikkonen hope will bring back their collective glory days.
The new car, designated the SF15-T, was revealed in an online launch on Friday and will run in anger for the first time at the official test at Jerez on Sunday. Vettel will be the first driver to get behind the wheel on the opening day.
The SF15-T has been developed in all the areas, with a big attention to the power unit installation and its performance.
Chief designer Simone Resta
“I like the car of this year, in terms of aesthetics, it’s really sexy,” declared team principal Maurizio Arrivabene of the team’s new machine.
“This year’s car is certainly a lot better looking than last year’s,” said technical director James Allison. “Prettier round the front; tighter round the back – and that makes for a nice car.”
Upheaval behind the scenes
The SF15-T is launched after a winter of upheaval. A new broom swept through its upper strata of management and key technical departments – chassis, engine, strategy and tyre – which was remarkable even given Ferrari’s standards of reinventing itself over the years.
“We’ve changed a lot internally to Ferrari in terms of our groups and departments,” admitted power unit director Mattia Binotto. “People have changed; the organization has been changed, and we’re really focused in order to be prepared for the start of the season.”
Chief designer Simone Resta added: “The SF15-T has been developed in all the areas, with a big attention to the power unit installation and its performance.”
Improving in all areas
One of Ferrari’s biggest problems of past seasons has been that factions on the chassis and engine side each blaming the other for underperformance. It is therefore telling that Allison spoke of the need to improve on both sides this year, as he was brought in to integrate both groups together more harmoniously.
“The regulations for 2014 were a big change, and so the regulations for 2015 are still quite young, still a lot of opportunity for finding performance in the power unit, and equally true on the aerodynamic side,” he said. “So the performance improvements we can expect to see from the new car will be divided more or less equally between the two.”
Ferrari’s most recent of its world-record 221 grand prix victories came in the Chinese Grand Prix of 2013, and it only scored two podium finishes last year with star driver Fernando Alonso. He has defected to McLaren due to his dissatisfaction at not being able to record a third world title in his five seasons at Maranello.
Big strides in terms of increased downforce and power output will be crucial if the car is to challenge the dominant Mercedes package in 2015, and we’ll only get the first clues about that in the pre-season tests.