Ferrari have become the first team to launch their 2011 Formula One car – named the F150.
Thw F150 name comes from the fact it is 150 years since Italian unification, the flag bearer for the nation decided it was important to increase exposure of the major event in the country’s long history. The cars rear wing features an Italian tricolore flag too to increase the patriotism of the famous team.
The car itself is not abnormal in colouring to previous Ferrari’s, the beautiful scarlet paintwork is retained. Sponsors look thin on the ground, but they are bigt and important. Bank Santander have increased their sponsorship of the team, as they begin to move away from former team McLaren. Philip Morris brand Marlboro are still a sponsor, but have no presence on the car any more following the banning on the bar code blank out design. A new Scuderia Ferrari logo instead dominates the engine box.
The car looks very similar to the 2010 beast that nearly won the world title. It does not have a shark fin rear wing, as the f-duct system is now banned. Aldo Costa the chief designer at the team said the car looks similar but underneath is a whole new package.
“The major aspects with the most impact on the project were connected to the aerodynamic development. The car will change a lot. The double diffuser, the F-duct, is gone.” Costa told Ferrari.com
“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.
“As far as the looks are concerned the rules keep them [the cars] quite unaltered. The cars look like the ones from last year, but from a technical point of view they will be really different.”
The boss of Ferrari, Luca di Montezemolo has stated a clear intention that this car has been built to win the world championship.
“This year we have to win and we will do our best to win,” di Montezemolo declared at the team’s Maranello headquarters.
“We have updated the team, we have made some improvements and we are awaiting the challenges against our first opponents.”
Meanwhile star driver Fernando Alonso – who shook the car down a few days ago – was buoyant and said this vehicle was much better than last seasons.
“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,” said Alonso at Ferrari’s launch in Maranello today.
“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.
“I think 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.
“So I think I will feel more confident with this year’s car. I will feel more comfortable driving the car, it will be more predictable to me. And I know the team now – 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.”
Ferrari have reshuffled their senior engineering team following a series of failures that saw them lose the 2010 Formula One World Championship at the final race of the season in Abu Dhabi.
One of the most senior Ferrari members called Fernando Alonso into the pits too early, forcing him to be stuck well down the field and handing Sebastian Vettel the title.
Chris Dyer, who worked with both Michael Schumacher and Kimi Raikkonen during their championship years has been ousted from the pit wall. His new role is as yet undefined.
Pat Fry steps into the team as head of race track engineering. Fry formerly worked for McLaren. Neil Martin also formerly of McLaren joins the team, working under chief designer Aldo Costa.
“The mistake was, in terms of magnitude, huge – and it produced devastating effects. But in a normal race it would have been a normal error,” Team principal Stefano Domenicali told Italian newspaper La Repubblica.
“So you must not jettison everything, even the good things, because of that mistake. We will change things and officially announce things in the coming hours – and we will make sure that those who make delicate decisions are able to have all the tools they need not to be wrong again.”
He added: “I will personally try to help the team from a psychological point of view as well, because the hardest penalty in a shoot-out is the one coming after you missed one.”
Luca Badoer, the infamous Italian Ferrari test driver has resigned from his role with the team and will make a final appearance for the squad today.
Badoer became a household name in 2009, when he took over Ferrari race duties from Felipe Massa when the Brazilian recieved severe head injuries at the Hungarian Grand Prix. He underperformed in both races he competed in, indeed finishing last at Spa a race which was won by team mate Kimi Raikkonen. Following ridicule in the Italian press, he cancelled his come back and the role was given to Giancarlo Fisichella.
Badoer had been a tester alongside Fisichella and Marc Gene at the team, but will now leave after he shows off a 2009 Ferrari to the Bologna Motorshow.
Ferrari described the 13 year partnership with Badoer was “extraordinary”.
Luca di Montezemolo, the head of the Ferrari Group, has reacted to criticisms that have been piled onto the team from many sources, but most vocally criticising those from the Italian Government.
Roberto Calderoni, of the Italian Northern league party called for Di Montezemolo, amongst other high ranking Ferrari officials, to resign from the company following what he called a “demented strategy” with regard to Fernando Alonso’s pit stop in yesterday’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
The Spanish driver was on the verge of winning the World Championship for the Ferrari team, but following a bad pit stop call he ended up finishing just a handful of points behind eventual winner Sebastian Vettel.
“For all of us it’s a difficult day, the night hasn’t lessened the bitter taste after the sad end to an extraordinary season,” di Montezemolo said on Monday.
“We’re sorry to see that there are some politicians on the outside who are ready to push for the guillotine when things go badly.
“We don’t understand anyone who revels in self-defeatism, who sinks into the culture of ‘everything’s gone wrong, we have to start all over again’. They are vices that are very Italian, that we must learn to shake off.”
“The hard law of sport requires just one winner, but we ended up fighting right up to the final race – including an exceptional fightback when the critics said we were beaten four months ago,” he said.
“We have always stayed united, acting as the people of Ferrari know how: gritting our teeth and never letting go.. We have returned Ferrari to where it should be – fighting for victory.
“In sport, we remember the margin between victory and defeat is always very slim. You have to know how to accept losing just as you have to enjoy your successes with restraint.”
Fernando Alonso has said he is looking for the “perfect” weekend in Abu Dhabi, to try and win the World Championship without the need for careful calculations.
The Spanish driver has had a mirculous turn around in his season, from the mid point where he was far behind the Red Bull’s and McLaren’s he declared he would win the world championship. Now as we head into the final round, he is in front – by a few points anyway – and is in the best position to win the championship on Sunday night.
Alonso says he is looking for a first or second place to keep it safe for the victory.
“The Interlagos result allows us to be in charge of our own destiny: with a win or a second place we won’t need any more calculations,” Alonso wrote in his blog for the official Ferrari website.
“Our approach hasn’t changed for this all-important race: we know that if we get everything perfectly right, then we will have the chance to reach the target that we set ourselves at the beginning of the season,” Alonso explained.
He did, however, acknowledge that the sheer speed of the Red Bull could be a tough obstacle to overcome.
“We can do it, even if we know our principal opponents are very strong: so far, perhaps apart from one race, theirs has been the best car on every type of circuit. That still doesn’t mean we expect to be beaten,” said Alonso.
If Alonso wins on Sunday, it would be his third world championship. He would also replicate Kimi Raikkonen, winning the title for Ferrari in his first season with the team.
As the Formula One “silly” season comes around again, and drivers are beginning to sign on the dotted line to new contracts one of the more overlooked rumours this weekend in Japan has been the possibility that Felipe Massa could be ready to leave Ferrari in search of being an out and out first driver.
The Brazilian was drafted into Ferrari and raced as Michael Schumacher’s understudy in 2006. In 2007, he was overshadowed by Kimi Raikkonen who went on to win the title. In 2008, he missed out on the championship by just a single point and 2009 was the infamous year where he was nearly killed. 2010 has been a difficult year for Massa. he had to move aside in Germany, so that Fernando Alonso could win the race in order to help his world championship challenge. It smelt like Schumacher/Barrichello from years before.
At the time Massa accepted the decision, but has become increasingly unhappy both on and off the track. His performances have slid, and he doesn’t look happy in the garage. On Thursday ahead of the Grand Prix, Massa told reporters that he “Didn’t want to be a 2nd driver, only the first driver. I don’t want to be another Rubens Barrichello”. Hastily, the boss of Ferrari Luca di Montezemolo said that he was still a number 1. But how can a team have two number ones? Especially when the other driver is Fernando Alonso. Lets not forget 2007, when Alonso was challenged at McLaren and he didn’t accept it.
Italian Press and the Suzuka paddock have been awash with rumour that he was ready to leave the team. The main teams he is being linked with are Renault, and believe it or not – Force India. The latter statement shows just how far the little team based in Silverstone has come, to attract a driver like Felipe. Word in the paddock is that now Raikkonen has declined Renault, Adrian Sutil will leave Force India and head across to Enstone to partner Robert Kubica. This leaves the Force India door wide open for Scotsman Paul di Resta to take over from Tonio Liuzzi, and Felipe Massa could slot in as the number 1 driver within the team.
So it looks like Felipe may hold the key to the driver market this season. If he leaves, it leaves a completely empty race seat with Ferrari – who could potentially be the drivers championship winning team. Both drivers at Red Bull and McLaren are secure for 2011, so it would be likely to be an outsider driver coming in to the team. They have a range of options. They could select a youngster, one of their young driver programme drivers, but this is highly risky for the team and they would have to be confident that the driver could perform at the highest level straight from the off.
Their other option is to bring in someone experienced. Kimi Raikkonen rejected Renault for the team, as opposed to rejecting the prospect of Formula One. Could he make a sensational come back to F1 with Ferrari? Another possibility could be Michael Schumacher, the tainted son of the Italian team, has allegedly been offered an ultimatum by his Mercedes Benz bosses – perform or face the sack. Returning to Ferrari would guarantee him continued legend status, and almost certainly a competitive car. If Schumacher did leave Mercedes, then Nico Hulkenberg could go across to the all German team – his race seat at Williams is rumoured to be being offered to Pastor Maldonado, the GP2 World Champion.
It could make for an exciting winter season after all!
Fernando Alonso has described the Italian Grand Prix as a critical race to gain a result from for both himself and for the Ferrari team.
The Italian race, held at Monza is Ferrari’s home Grand Prix. It will be Alonso’s first in Ferrari red and he wants the home tifosi fans to have something to shout about.
He is lagging behind in the championship standaings after his DNF at last weekends Belgian Grand Prix where he suffered a string of different problems before eventually crashing his Ferrari out of the race in the rainy conditions.
“There is no denying that the Monza race will be very important,” he wrote in his blog for the Ferrari website.
“At our home circuit we will have to do everything to avoid losing any more points: a good result here would be a great boost. If things go badly, it won’t be over but it would be a hard knock for team morale.”
He is adamant that all is not yet lost for Ferrari this season and that a change of luck could make a massive difference.
“I have always said – and I repeat it now – that in the course of the season, good luck and bad luck tend to balance one another out, so let’s hope that from now on it’s payback time,” said Alonso.
“The first ‘final’ went badly, but there are still six to go. Going into these seven races, I had said that whoever did the best job in them would take the title: clearly, there are now three of us who need to make up for ground lost in Spa.
“With this points system and the way races swing one way or another, I am convinced we still have a significant chance. There are 150 points up for grabs, enough to turn the situation around. We must remain calm and concentrate, to try and make up the difference as soon as possible.”
The FIA have announced that Ferrari will come before the World Motorsport Council hearing on September 8th.
Ferrari are being called before Formula One’s highest court for allegedly breaking rule 39.1, which states that team orders are not allowed in any form within the sport. The incident in question occured at the German Grand Prix two weeks ago, when Felipe Massa was allegedly asked to move aside so that Fernando Alonso could win the race.
Ferrari were immediately fined $100,000 and could face further penalties.
There was significant furor at the time of the incident, but it is now being called into question over whether they actually did break the rule or not. They did make one car move aside for the other, but the indication from Bernie Ecclestone (who sits on the judging panel) was that the rule is in place not to stop a team deciding which order their cars finish but moreover to stop two teams working together to fix the result of a race.
With the hearing only a matter of days before the Italian Grand Prix, it is likely any penalty will be met with distaste from the Italian Tifosi fans.
Bernie Ecclestone, the owner of Formula One says that the team orders ban in Formula One must be dropped following the incident in last weekend’s German Grand Prix where Ferrari switched Felipe Massa and Fernando Alonso so that the Spaniard could win the Grand Prix.
Team orders had been banned in F1 since 2002 thanks to a similar incident involving Ferrari, although there have always been allegations of secret orders through many top teams since the ban.
In the wake of last Sunday’s events though, Ecclestone believes it is at the team discretion to have their drivers finish in a particular order, believing F1 to be a team sport rather than one of the individual.
“I must confess I would agree with anyone who thinks that [the team orders rule should be dropped],” said Ecclestone. “We make people call it a team, we say it’s got be a team.
“All the cars have to be exactly the same, the drivers wear the same overalls, so everybody has to look like a team – a team of people that are racing.
“I believe what people do when they are inside the team, and how they run their team is up to them. That’s my opinion.”
When asked if he would push for the rule to be dropped in his high profile position of power within the sport, he added “I don’t know, we’ll have to see. It’s something that needs to be discussed.
“As far as I’m concerned a team is a team, and they should run it whichever way they want to run it.
“Nobody should interfere as to how they run their team.
“But of course if they do something that’s dangerous then obviously they’re going to be in trouble, otherwise get on with it.”
Fernando Alonso has declared himself and his team to be fired-up and ready to fight for race wins and ultimately the world championship as F1 hits Germany.
The Spaniard has been in commading positions to score big points in the last two races, but run ins with the FIA and safety cars have led him not to score a single point. Despite this, and the deficit to the top, Alonso believes he can still win the title.
“I’ve been in Maranello four days last week working with the team,” Alonso said in a video interview for Ferrari’s website.
“Overall I felt a very good atmosphere in the team. All the guys in Maranello are very, very focused on fighting for this championship.
“After these two bad races people are even more motivated than before because they feel we deserve a good race finally.”
“We saw this year if you have two or three bad races or two or three good races, it can change the picture of the championship completely,” Alonso said.
“We arrive [in Germany] after two bad races with not many points. I think before long we will arrive at a good moment. We need to take the maximum from our car, do two or three podiums in a row, and I’m sure with the new points system we can be in the fight for the championship very soon.”