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The wait is over! Ferrari unveil new F1 car for new era

February 17, 2019 16:34 IST

Ferrari

IMAGE: The logo of Ferrari is pictured during the first press day of the Paris auto show, in Paris.  Photograph: Benoit Tessier/Reuters

Ferrari turned a page on their recent past, on Friday, as they unveiled the Formula One car designed to end an era of Mercedes domination and shatter Lewis Hamilton’s dreams of a sixth championship this season.

The sport’s oldest and most successful team, who last won a title more than a decade ago and finished runners-up last year, presented the SF90 with plenty of fanfare at their Maranello factory.

 

“I’m looking forward to this year. I think the team is on the right path and hopefully we can continue improving,” four times world champion Sebastian Vettel, winner of five races in 2018, assured the audience.

The German has a new team mate in Charles Leclerc, replacing 2007 champion Kimi Raikkonen, and a new principal following the departure of Maurizio Arrivabene and appointment of Mattia Binotto.

“I’m extremely excited to start this new adventure,” said Leclerc. “It’s a dream since childhood. I’ve always been looking at the red cars, hoping to be one day in this car, so it’s a very emotional day for me.”

Ferrari chief executive Louis Camilleri said Raikkonen, now at Alfa Romeo, and Arrivabene would always be part of Ferrari’s history but made clear the team was entering a new era.

Noting that Ferrari had enjoyed their best season in 10 years, he said they had still fallen short of their objectives in a setback that was “never easy to swallow.

“I can assure you that we look ahead with strong commitment and determination,” he added.

Camilleri said Vettel was as hungry as ever, and Leclerc a youngster with a great future.

He hailed Binotto as a “team player, decisive, talented and determined to make a huge difference at all levels.”

“Despite all the obvious pressure that exists, the atmosphere in the team from top to bottom will be one in which serenity will prevail,” said Camilleri.

“It is a precondition to a tightly-knit team where creativity, talent and transparency will flourish.”

Ferrari were far from serene under Arrivabene, adopting something of a siege mentality with the media often shut out and insiders talking of a climate of fear at Maranello.

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Binotto said there were a lot of positives to take from 2018 but the new car was a step up.

“We simply tried to raise the bar, raise the level, tried to be as extreme as we could,” he added. “Certainly we tried to push very hard, being innovative. The roll hoop is very narrow and very slim. The bodywork from the back, very slim.

“In terms of engine installation, power unit installation, packaging, a lot of effort has been done and I think the final shape is the result of all these efforts.”

Testing starts in Spain on Monday with the first race in Australia on March 17.

Williams to miss first day of F1 testing

Williams will miss the first day of Formula One's pre-season testing in Spain, on Monday, because they have yet to finish their car, the former champions said on Sunday.

The delays had already forced the British team, last overall in 2018 with one of the worst-handling cars they have ever built, to cancel a filming day at Barcelona's Circuit de Catalunya on Saturday.

"Unfortunately, we have had to delay the start of our pre-season Barcelona test to Tuesday morning," deputy principal Claire Williams said in a statement.

"We have had an incredibly busy winter at Grove getting the FW42 prepared for the season ahead and, despite everyone’s best efforts, we need some more time before it will be ready to run.

"Our absolute priority is to always ensure we bring a car to the track that is the best that it can be and sometimes that takes longer than you’d anticipate or like. It’s clearly not ideal, but equally it’s not the end of the world."

Williams scored just seven points from 21 races last year, despite having the same engine as champions Mercedes in the back of the car.

They have a changed line-up for the new season starting in Australia on March 17, with British rookie and Formula Two champion George Russell partnering Poland's Robert Kubica, returning from a near-fatal rally accident in 2011.

Russell will be first to drive the car on Tuesday, all being well, with Kubica on Wednesday and both on Thursday. Canadian reserve Nicholas Latifi will also be in the car on Tuesday afternoon and Wednesday morning.

"We will obviously have our work cut out to recover the time lost but we still have seven days of testing left and we will be maximising that time to prepare the car for the first race," said Williams.

Formula One teams always operate to tight margins in designing and building cars, seeking to maximise development time, and this year has seen significant new aerodynamic regulations come into play.

Other teams, including Mercedes and Red Bull, have had their new car running on track already for shakedown sessions, however.

Renault, who had feared they too would have to scrap a filming day on Saturday as they scrambled to assemble the car, made it in time with Australian Daniel Ricciardo putting in the first laps.

The sport’s oldest and most successful team, who last won a title more than a decade ago and finished runners-up last year, presented the SF90 with plenty of fanfare at their Maranello factory.

“I’m looking forward to this year. I think the team is on the right path and hopefully we can continue improving,” four times world champion Sebastian Vettel, winner of five races in 2018, assured the audience.

The German has a new team mate in Charles Leclerc, replacing 2007 champion Kimi Raikkonen, and a new principal following the departure of Maurizio Arrivabene and appointment of Mattia Binotto.

“I’m extremely excited to start this new adventure,” said Leclerc. “It’s a dream since childhood. I’ve always been looking at the red cars, hoping to be one day in this car, so it’s a very emotional day for me.”

Ferrari chief executive Louis Camilleri said Raikkonen, now at Alfa Romeo, and Arrivabene would always be part of Ferrari’s history but made clear the team was entering a new era.

Noting that Ferrari had enjoyed their best season in 10 years, he said they had still fallen short of their objectives in a setback that was “never easy to swallow.

“I can assure you that we look ahead with strong commitment and determination,” he added.

Camilleri said Vettel was as hungry as ever, and Leclerc a youngster with a great future.

He hailed Binotto as a “team player, decisive, talented and determined to make a huge difference at all levels.”

“Despite all the obvious pressure that exists, the atmosphere in the team from top to bottom will be one in which serenity will prevail,” said Camilleri.

“It is a precondition to a tightly-knit team where creativity, talent and transparency will flourish.”

Ferrari were far from serene under Arrivabene, adopting something of a siege mentality with the media often shut out and insiders talking of a climate of fear at Maranello.

Binotto said there were a lot of positives to take from 2018 but the new car was a step up.

“We simply tried to raise the bar, raise the level, tried to be as extreme as we could,” he added. “Certainly we tried to push very hard, being innovative. The roll hoop is very narrow and very slim. The bodywork from the back, very slim."

“In terms of engine installation, power unit installation, packaging, a lot of effort has been done and I think the final shape is the result of all these efforts.”

Testing starts in Spain on Monday with the first race in Australia on March 17.

Williams to miss first day of F1 testing

Williams will miss the first day of Formula One's pre-season testing in Spain, on Monday, because they have yet to finish their car, the former champions said on Sunday.

The delays had already forced the British team, last overall in 2018 with one of the worst-handling cars they have ever built, to cancel a filming day at Barcelona's Circuit de Catalunya on Saturday.

"Unfortunately, we have had to delay the start of our pre-season Barcelona test to Tuesday morning," deputy principal Claire Williams said in a statement.

"We have had an incredibly busy winter at Grove getting the FW42 prepared for the season ahead and, despite everyone’s best efforts, we need some more time before it will be ready to run."

"Our absolute priority is to always ensure we bring a car to the track that is the best that it can be and sometimes that takes longer than you’d anticipate or like. It’s clearly not ideal, but equally it’s not the end of the world."

Williams scored just seven points from 21 races last year, despite having the same engine as champions Mercedes in the back of the car.

They have a changed line-up for the new season starting in Australia on March 17, with British rookie and Formula Two champion George Russell partnering Poland's Robert Kubica, returning from a near-fatal rally accident in 2011.

Russell will be first to drive the car on Tuesday, all being well, with Kubica on Wednesday and both on Thursday. Canadian reserve Nicholas Latifi will also be in the car on Tuesday afternoon and Wednesday morning.

"We will obviously have our work cut out to recover the time lost but we still have seven days of testing left and we will be maximising that time to prepare the car for the first race," said Williams.

Formula One teams always operate to tight margins in designing and building cars, seeking to maximise development time, and this year has seen significant new aerodynamic regulations come into play.

Other teams, including Mercedes and Red Bull, have had their new car running on track already for shakedown sessions, however.

Renault, who had feared they too would have to scrap a filming day on Saturday as they scrambled to assemble the car, made it in time with Australian Daniel Ricciardo putting in the first laps.

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