VALENCIA, Spain — Ferrari’s new F150 doesn’t look radically different from its 2010 F10 model but it is a very different animal.
“The cars look like the ones from last year, but from a technical point of view they will be really different,” Ferrari’s Technical Director Aldo Costa said.
Ferrari was the first team to launch its 2011 car when it unveiled the F150 at its Maranello base on Jan. 28. The F150, so called to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the Unification of Italy, is the 57th single-seater built by Ferrari specifically to compete in the F-1 World Championship. The project goes by the internal code name of 662.
“The major aspects with the most impact on the project were connected to the aerodynamic development,” Costa said of the F150. “The double diffuser, the F-duct, is gone. The driver can’t change the car’s aerodynamic set up anymore. The underbody won’t have any ‘holes’ in the central part anymore. This is a fundamental change.
“The rear wing will be movable, so that the driver can overtake the car in front of him and use it in the qualifying according to his needs. The KERS is back. Although we’ve improved its size, it’s still quite big. Therefore the technicians had to redesign the car’s layout. There are also new safety rules.”
The F150 has plenty of tricks up its sleeve and more are on the way.
“We’ve been working on different innovations for the car: some of ours and some new for F-1 in general,” chief designer Nikolas Tombazis explained.
“The rear suspension is really innovative, so is the rear wing system. But there are more novelties coming up regarding the configuration for the first race, which aren’t in the car yet, for example something for the rear wing and the exhausts.
“We set targets we think are very ambitious regarding the development in the wind tunnel, the car’s weight and the performance of some sub-systems,” Tombazis added. “We think, based on our analysis, that we’ve reached these targets — especially for the car for the first race — I’m confident in what we’ve done.”
The car Ferrari showed at its launch has already been updated for the test in Valencia this week.
Fernando Alonso is positive that the new Ferrari F150 will suit his driving style far better than last year’s F10.
“There are no doubts that when I arrived in January 2010, I drove a car that had different characteristics to what I drove in previous years,” he said when the new car was unveiled at Ferrari’s Maranello base.
“Now I will drive a car that is a continuity of what I drove in 2010. I think all the developments and the direction that you go with improvements in the car over one year has some kind of definition of your driving style. That helps the designer of the car and the technical people with next year’s car, so I think in 2011 there will be some kind of direction that we took in 2010 regarding my driving style.”
Alonso said he will have more confidence in the F150 and that it will be more predictable. He also feels far more at home with the team.
“I know the team now,” he said. “I know the people; I know the guys; I know the names of all my mechanics, something that was not the case in Bahrain last year. So that will also help. Last year I didn’t have the numbers of [the Ferrari designers] but now I do, so I call them every two days to put some pressure on.”
But he remains neutral on the car’s potential saying it is too early to have great expectations.
Also feeling positive is Felipe Massa who still feels at home at Ferrari despite his trials and tribulations last year. Ferrari has promised that he will be an equal number one driver.
“I am part of a team where I really want to win,” Massa said. “I am here for that. I am not here to race — I am here to win. So I do have a guarantee, and if one day a team should tell me that I don’t have any guarantees to win a grand prix, then actually I know I would not go to the team.
“I trust my team here 100 percent. I know they can give me the perfect car, [and] the most competitive car to win as many races as possible.”