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Ferrari drivers unveil the first Formula 1 car of 2011

Ferrari unveil new F150 for 2011

Ferrari unveil new F150 for 2011 (UK only)

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

Fernando Alonso

"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."

ANDREW BENSON'S BLOG

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 advantage.



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see also
Alonso wary of Schumacher threat
13 Jan 11 |  Formula 1
Ferrari reshuffle after Abu Dhabi
04 Jan 11 |  Formula 1


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