Ferrari drivers unveil the first Formula 1 car of 2011
Posted 31 January 2011 - 01:03 PM
Ferrari drivers Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa have taken the wraps off the first Formula 1 car of 2011.
The team hope the car will be good enough to make amends for just missing out on the 2010 drivers' world title.
A strategic error at the final race allowed Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel to overhaul Fernando Alonso's lead.
Alonso said: "This new car is the fruit of many months of work. We have to commit completely to what we do - we are up to the challenge."
The launch at the Italian team's headquarters in Maranello provided the first glimpse of an F1 car designed to meet the challenges of 2011's regulation changes.
This will be a very hot championship. The competition will be even harder and the uncertainty even higher
Ferrari team principal Stefano Domencali
The new car - named to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the reunification of Italy - was given a brief run at the team's Fiorano test track by Alonso on Friday and will be flown to Valencia in Spain for the first pre-season test, which starts on 1 February.
Alonso will drive for the first two days in Valencia, with team-mate Massa taking over for the final day.
But a number of new parts will be added to the F150 between then and the first race.
Team principal Stefano Domenicali said: "The F150 was created for substantially different technical regulations than in the past so it is important to start from reliability - and this car is the first step towards that.
"Driving kilometres, working on reliability and seeing how the new tyres behave and work is clearly our aim [in Valencia]. We will not start concentrating on time tests.
"Last season we had difficult and beautiful moments, and we want to build on those beautiful moments.
Fernando Alonso drives the new Ferrari F150 at the team's Fiorano test track
Alonso put some miles on the new car at the Fiorano test track on Friday
"This will be a very hot championship. It will be a very intense season, just like last year. I expect many teams to be able to win. The competition will be even harder and the uncertainty even higher."
The new season will see the return of the Kers energy-recovery and power-boost system, a new tyre supplier, with Pirelli replacing Bridgestone, and the introduction of a moveable rear wing to aid overtaking.
Ferrari were keen to emphasise that the car unwrapped in Italy would evolve significantly ahead of the first race in Bahrain on 13 March.
"The car you will see at the first race will be completely different from the car you will see in Valencia," Domenicali said.
Chief designer Nikolas Tombazis added: "This car is just the first step; the entire body will be changed. We will have changes visually and also in performance for our first race."
Last year the team started well with a win in the first race of the season in Bahrain, but they fell off the pace during the first half of the campaign before bouncing back to be the second fastest team behind Red Bull by the summer.
Alonso won five races and entered the final grand prix 15 points clear of Vettel, but could finish only seventh after the team's decision to make an early pit stop backfired. He spent the rest of the race stuck behind Renault's Vitaly Petrov while Vettel stormed to victory.
The Spaniard, who won successive world titles with Renault in 2005 and 2006, is determined to use all his experience from the last year to help him prepare for a second campaign with Ferrari.
I feel it will be easier for me to adapt to the new car
"Last year was an incredible one for me," added Alonso, 29. "I discovered a wonderful team, one that was really passionate for a new driver.
"I know the team better now. I know the names of the mechanics, which I didn't last year, and I'm now far more integrated within the team.
"What has been carried out in 2010 has continued in the development of this new car. I feel it will be easier for me to adapt to the new car and I hope it will be as strong and as beautiful."
Massa, who found himself at the centre of a controversy when he ceded position to Alonso at last year's German Grand Prix, is also optimistic as he embarks on his sixth season with Ferrari.
"You always feel pressure when you drive for Ferrari, but especially for me because last year was a difficult one," the Brazilian said.
"So I would like to start this year with positive results, and I'm confident I will do this.
"There are a lot of things to learn as quickly as possible, and I really hope this new car will live and grow as quickly as possible."
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The biggest surprise on the car is Ferrari's decision to retain push-rod rear suspension, where the springs and dampers sit on top of the gearbox.
This is counter to the pull-rod design Red Bull have used for the last two years, which has the springs located lower down and helps teams produce a lower centre of gravity and better airflow at the back of the car.
Pull-rod designs are expected to be widely adopted this year by other teams as they seek to minimise the aerodynamic losses caused by the banning of the so-called double diffuser.
Ferrari had been expected to switch to pull-rod, but it is understood they have completely redesigned their rear suspension to provide the benefits of a pull-rod while avoiding its disadvantages, which include being difficult to work on.
This includes a low back to the gearbox, enabling a narrow rear to the car. The sidepod profile has also been changed, with a much tighter waisting low down and a flatter top surface.
The 2011 Ferrari
The rear wing of the Ferrari is decked out in the Italian 'tricolore'
And the nose is broader than last year's car, similar to but not as extreme as last year's Red Bull.
Ferrari are confident the car will be competitive.
Tombazis said the team had easily attained the targets they set for themselves with the car and he was "quite optimistic about this car and how it will go during the season".
Detailing some of the other design approaches the team had taken, Tombazis said: "The front part of the chassis has been raised, the suspension lowered to improve the flow of air beneath the car.
"The driver will be sitting in higher position. The engine snorkel is a bit higher.
"We have tried to improve the structure in aerodynamic terms. It's lower and far simpler."
The next teams to unveil their cars are Renault, Sauber and Lotus on 31 January, with world champions Red Bull, Mercedes and Toro Rosso following suit on 1 February.
McLaren are the only top team who will not have a new car at the Valencia test.
They plan to run an updated 2010 car there before taking the new car to the second test in Jerez on 10-13 February in the hope the extra few days' aerodynamic research will give them an advantag
Posted 16 March 2011 - 02:08 AM
Fernando Alonso believes Ferrari are as ready as they can be for whatever the 2011 Formula 1 season might hold.
The team have completed more testing miles than anyone else, and are reckoned to be Red Bull's nearest challenger at the front of the field.
"I am pleased with how the winter testing has gone," said Alonso.
"On average, we have done around a hundred laps each day, which demonstrates we have the reliability which is a priority when you are dealing with a new car - we are the team that has completed the greatest distance of all.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Overall, I think we will arrive in Melbourne in a 100 per cent state of readiness, but whether or not that will be enough to win, we will not know until we are there in Australia.
"I feel confident, just as I did last year going into the start of the season.
"We are in good shape, even if we know we are not racing alone out there.
"We want to win, but that does not mean that if it did not happen, it would be a disaster - sport cannot be just a question of victory or defeat.
"If we win it will be fantastic, but if we donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t then we will try again the following year, as Ferrari has always done."
He said the development race had already begun even before the first grand prix of the season.
"One thingÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s for sure, we will have to push on the development, like we did last year," Alonso said,
"For example, at Albert Park, I hope we will manage to bring a few updates, especially to the front wing, which can still give us a fraction more in performance terms.Ã¢â‚¬Â
The Spaniard added that no matter how well-prepared Ferrari were, he suspected the very different Pirelli tyres would make 2011 all about tactics and teams thinking in their feet amid what could be chaotic and unpredictable races.
"We still need to see how the tyres will perform in higher temperatures, which we might encounter in Australia and even more likely in Malaysia," said Alonso.
"In November, at the Abu Dhabi test, the situation was a bit different to these tests in Spain, but we will have to wait for a race to find out more.
"What is certain is that we will not see races like those of 2010, in which strategy was obvious right from the start of the weekend.
"This year, a lot of attention will go into deciding if it is best to do two, three or four stops, being flexible and ready to manage any situation.
"Maybe sometimes it will be better to do a few less laps in each stint and make the most of the tyres at the point when they are at their best, or look at doing one less stop.
"It will depend on the track and how the race evolves."