Ferrari yet again pip the other Formula One manufactures to the post, being the first to unveil their latest creation on the world. The surrounding area near the Mugello circuit heard the roar of the newest Formula One Ferrari engine at 10:30am...
Ferrari yet again pip the other Formula One manufactures to the post, being the first to unveil their latest creation on the world. The surrounding area near the Mugello circuit heard the roar of the newest Formula One Ferrari engine at 10:30am this morning. The F60 Prancing Horse was put through its first on-track appearance for the world to view under sunny skies.
The launch of the new car, christened the F60, took place in Mugello. The launch was scheduled for Fiorano but was moved due to the test track being under snow.
The World Champion team did not even show the newest of their challengers to Felipe Massa until yesterday, along with his teammate Kimi Raikkonen but before 11:00am (Italian time) today, Massa had turned two laps in new Ferrari stating that he was "happy and excited to take the Ferrari out for its first ride".
The car itself looks quite plain especially when compared to the previous incarnations of recent times. In no small part this a result of the changes to the regulations promoted by the Overtaking Working Group, set up as a collaboration between the FIA and the participating teams to promote better racing with more passing.
The name was chosen to highlight the heritage of the team and fact that Ferrari has participated in all 60 Formula World Championship seasons from way back in 1950 to date.
Team Principal Stefano Domenicali is taking nothing for granted though, speaking at the launch he comments: "Our aim is to rank among the first teams. We have always shown this over the years, but this year our project will be more complicated and more difficult.
"It means we will have to face this season with humbleness, without resting on our laurels .... Life is tough, but when the going gets tough the tough get going," he added.
The big mechanical changes for 2009 are the new Kenetic Energy Recovery System (KERS) and the return to the use of slick tyres. The KERS system in the Ferrari is a collaboration between the team and Magneti Marelli and is centrally mounted on the engine under the rear of the chassis.
The system also provides for a KERS boost function and a new 'K' button has appeared on the already busy steering wheel to provide the drivers this functionality.
Domenicali explained, "I believe that the drivers will have more input, so if our systems are 100 percent effective, then we will give the possibility for our drivers to have a performance delta that is much larger.
"They will decide when to use KERS. They will have new tyres, and at best we have an engine with a different maximum rpm, so we will have to decide how to cope with it."
Looking at the new car there are several obvious differences. It can be reasonably expected that the car that arrives in Australia will be heavily revised, but this is the first taste of what a 2009 regulation car will look like and there are some interesting visual differences.
The overall appearance is of a more smoothed car, the slotted apertures cut into the bodywork of last years constructors championship winning car are gone. This areo device amongst others no longer permitted under the regulations, part of the overall attempt to reduce down force.
The front wing, in common with other cars yet to be released, and as stipulated in the 2009 regulations has a straight front profile. The wing itself is wider than previously seen with the detail being in the side elements. The simple end plates of the front wing presented at the launch will almost certainly change but the important addition is the mechanism that will allow the front wing flaps attached to the end plates to adjust up and down once per lap under the drivers control, again aimed at promoting overtaking.
Barge boards are another are device removed by the regulations, the Ferrari designers have managed to fit in a couple of vertical boards on the nose section behind the front wheels and a larger vertical board ahead of the side pods, where the greatest level of freedom lies.
The small cooling inlets for the car are set fairly far back inline with the drivers seat, bit the car does feature a vertical wing with the wing mirror attached further forward.
The rear section of the car features a section carved out to allow the exit for the exhaust and a number of exits for the air passing through the cooling system.
The rear wing in the new regulations is higher and narrower than those previously seen and at this stage the Ferrari is wearing a fairly simplistic device, the rear diffuser appears to have moved rearwards, again another regulatory device.
"We are also talking about a new wing and I guess drivers will have to become familiar with this new wing that has new dimensions, so they will have to be more careful," said Domenicali.
Mechanically the new regulations provide that a maximum of 8 engines can be used over the 17 race calendar, the upshot being that one of the engines will have to be capable of surviving 3 races. The maximum permitted engine speed has been reduced to 18000rpm which should make them more durable with an expected target durability now being around 2500km.
The Ferrari F60 with the pedigree that its name promotes can be expected to be a good car and indeed Ferrari do seem to have made a good job of getting the most out of the new regulations. Actual mechanical reliability should be less of an issue for all teams in 2009 with the reduced engine speeds but the active front wing and KERS may prove the bug bears of some.
Ferrari are rightly pessimistic with a healthy budget even in the current climate and a highly successful driver line up they are well placed for a good showing in the forth coming 2009 season.
Domenicali put it simply, "We have two drivers who are highly motivated and this says it all."