Ferrari held the official launch of their 2010 Formula 1 car today, making them the first team to do so. While Mercedes GP held their launch earlier in the week, the purpose of that ceremony was essentially to introduce the new Mercedes livery and the newly paired German drivers, Schumacher and Rosberg, to the racing world. The Mercedes car on display was actually the 2009 Brawn iteration, dressed up in the new Mercedes color scheme.
Ferrari held their unveiling at their Maranello factory, with drivers Fernando Alonso, Felipe Massa and Giancarlo Fisichella in attendance. Presentations were made to assembled media representatives and guests by Ferrari/Fiat CEO Luca di Montezemolo and the Scuderia team principal Stefano Domenicali.
The new Ferrari appears to be an evolution of the previous year’s car, as opposed to being a clean sheet redesign. There are several notable departures from the 2009 configuration, however. Cars must now have have substantially larger fuel cells to accomodate enough fuel to last an entire race. As a result, the mid-section and sidepods of the new Ferrari are stouter than before, and the wheelbase is longer. (See link for an overhead comparison between the 2009 and 2010 F1 Ferraris.)
Another change for 2010: the front wheel dimensions have been narrowed, to correct an inerent grip imbalance that many teams experienced in 2009. Although the reduced contact patch should have the effect of slowing the 2010 cars, the new Ferrari looks more aerodynamically efficient with the smaller wheels, which should help compensate for lost grip.
Finally, another obvious change is in the nose section. As is often the case, designers up and down the pit lane copy design ideas that seem to work well for thier competitors. In this case, Ferrari have taken a page out of Red Bull’s book: the nose of the new car has a ridged contour, much like the 2009 Adrian Newey design.
Formula 1 teams are allowed to make a preliminary shake-down run of new cars prior to the first official test. This was scheduled to occur today at Fiorano, in conjunction with the launch ceremony, with Felipe Massa at the wheel, but the run was postponed due to icy track conditions.
(Image source: RACINGWORLD2007/Racingworld.it)