Nancy Knapp Schilke, F1 correspondent
Scuderia Ferrari forced to reveal 2012 challenger via the Internet
The snow fall over the past several days caused the Italian team to display their new FIA Formula One F2012 online instead of in front of at least 300 expected guests from team partners, the authorities, and representatives of the media. Yesterday, they had to cancel the presentation, along with the Shakedown on the Fiorano track that is presently covered with snow. Despite the wintry weather, the show did go on with drivers Felipe Massa and Fernando Alonso present.
Staying with tradition, the name “F2012” is based on the year it was constructed. For those who do recall, the Italian company did make a minor change for the 150th celebration of Italy’s unification when the 2011 car was called “F150th Italia”.
...it looks very aggressive.
Prior to showing their 58th Formula One racing machine, they said, "Practically every area of the car has been fundamentally revised." Scuderia, the racing team division of Ferrari, went over the 2012 FIA rules with a find comb. The changes included the mapping for the electronic engine management, the position of the exhaust pipes and the height of the front section of the chassis. And of course, like all the other teams, they had to deal with the new rules. "The nose has an ungainly shape on the top, and that is the result of the regulation that requires us to have the nose quite low but the dynamic desire to have the lower part of chassis as high as possible. Even though it is not aesthetically pleasing, we believe it is the most efficient aerodynamic solution for that area of the car,” said Nikolas Tombazis, chief designer.
Massa said, "Let me tell you that it looks very aggressive." As for the 2012 season, the Brazilian added, "It is going to be an important year for me and the whole team. We want to fight to get the championship back and we want to see Ferrari winning as often as possible. Here I feel strength, I'm focused on winning."
On the aggressive approach for the new design and changes, the team's new Technical Director Pat Fry explained, "A lot of people have said a lot of things, and it is a bit of a step away from where we have been. Certainly we have taken a few more risks on the basic car layout and things like that, but all in all everyone has done a good job. But we need to knuckle down and start pushing for the upgrades for the first race and through the year.”
Another aspect of the look can be seen on the rear of the F2012 as it is now has a narrower look and tapered which was modified for the new gearbox casing, along with other components being relocated. The development team stated: “In recent years, the area of exhausts has been crucial in terms of car performance and much effort was expended on this front, based on changes to the regulations introduced this year.”
"(The car) looks very different actually from what we have seen in the past two years," said Alonso. "My third season at Ferrari and I am going to start with the same strength and determination. I want to do great.
"Of course it will be quite competitive for the whole season, but we want to see red cars on the podium. We start next week in Jerez and we keep working together. I am sure we will do well this year," added the Spaniard.
The technical regulations forbid any modification to internal components aimed at increasing performance so therefore the F2012 engine is has minor modifications; mainly due to the new chassis for a proper fit. The main aim was to find the highest possible performance level to reach the goal of increasing the power plant's life span to an average of three races. Of course, the electronic management system had to be revised due to the FIA rules concerning exhaust gasses. They also made slight changes for the kinetic energy recovery system ( KERS), mainly for safety reasons.
The Italian based team’s racing division focuses on the electronic components on all their racing machines so it was not a surprise when that their goal has been to find ways to reduce the weight which also allows an increase in reliability.
Ferrari is positive about their future and so is their main sponsor, Santander as they extended their contract. The bank's chairman Emilio Botin said on Friday he is "delighted and added, “Our sponsorship with Ferrari is the best marketing operation in the 150 year history of the bank.”