The Wraps Come Off Ferrari’s New Challenger, Let’s Ogle
V8 engines, exit stage left. Cue Sgt. Pepper melody: “May I introduce to you, the act you’ve known for all these years…”, yet brand new in Twenty-Fourteeeen, 1600ceeceeeee,15,000 rpmmmms, TURBO-charged 90 degreeeeeee, V6 power plaaaaaaaant!!
At First Glance
First things first, it’s red, no real surprise there. Ha ha. Ferrari has chosen to refer to its newest offspring as the F14-T. The reasons would seem obvious enough. This name was chosen with the help of 1,123,741 fans (if I did my addition properly and if not, well I never was too proficient at math anyway) who voted on-line although it must be said only 369,711 actually named the car.
Let’s address the front of the car. Regulations required big changes here. The first four teams that unveiled their cars, Williams, McLaren, Lotus and assumably Force India (although they didn’t really show it) all have a strange jutting-out nose now commonly referred to as the proboscis. I would have to agree with the fans displeasure at this particular solution to the front-end nose cone, but if it makes the car faster, then most of us will forget all about the funny protrusion.
On the other hand, Ferrari has chosen to just push the nose and upright pillars on either side connecting to the front wing straight down. Visually, it is simple and easy on the eye. If I have any complaint it is the dramatic drop from the point at which the front suspension is located to the very end of the nose cone. From certain angles this descent would appear to create a kind of hump at the start of this drop and then what looks to me like an anteater nose. However at other angles this is not the case. At any rate this small critique aside I like what Ferrari has done in response to the change in regulation to the front nose in pursuit of driver safety.
Moving right along we arrive at the middle of the car lets call it the driver part with includes the driver, the air box, side pods, bargeboards and the beginning of the engine cover. I would assume the side pods are smaller as a result of smaller radiators in response to the two cylinders that don’t need to be cooled anymore. Gone is the extra intake that McLaren was the first to use a couple of years ago and the side mirrors do not look to have changed in shape or position. The bargeboards have been re-profiled and the outside vanes at the outer corner of the side pod are a combo of Red Bull’s from last year and McLaren’s of a few years back. They don’t end in a chopped way as last year’s did, but make a 90-degree turn and wrap over the side pod and meet the bodywork.
I mentioned in another post my disappointment that the air box was carried over from last year. Since the engine is a turbo I was hoping to see sleeker bodywork from the driver’s head moving backward ala the turbo cars of the nineties. Sadly this is not the case. More than likely is it both a safety issue and an air issue but I’m not an expert so this is only conjecture on my part. While turbos do pull the out-going air from the exhaust pipe, similar to any normally aspirated engine they do need air to live. Just like all of us. Wink wink…
Lets talk about the rear of the car shall we? The most notable difference to me is the lack of undercut from last year’s car, which followed the exhaust pipes and direct the airflow and exhaust gas over the rear of the floor. If we look directly at the rear of the car we notice two things right away. With the removal of the blown diffuser and no more reliance on the coanda effect there is only one tail pipe exiting the bodywork and it has a rather high placement. Secondly, the regulations dictated the beam wing be eliminated as well so that’s out.
The all-important diffuser, blown or not, was left home and in its place is a bad impostor. Translation, I don’t even think one was fitted for these photos. I can’t see any tunnels or channels to direct airflow. My guess, Ferrari does not want to show its hand this early in the season. We all know there will be thousands of photos taken of everyone’s rear end (that sounds dirty right?) as soon as these cars hit the track.
Unfortunately Ferrari has decided to paint the rear of its car all black and this makes deciphering the rear end bodywork somewhat difficult for yours truly with only the few photos they have selected to release. With that said I can make out two very large venting areas below the exhaust, equal to each other on either side of the cars axis.
Ferrari has continued the red and black theme, which they used on last years F138. It has been tweaked out but for all intents and purposes stays largely the same. Red with a continuous black strip running the length of the chassis on the bottom of the bodywork. The major change I mentioned previously is that this strip makes an upward shift and finishes on the top of the fin above the air box, shrouding the entire last quarter of the car in complete darkness.
Could this be a clever move to keep Ferrari’s competition from seeing something revealing? One never knows. Maybe hiding in the shadows is a silver bullet or in this case a crimson stroke of genius which has manifested itself in this all-important part of the car and will prove Fernando Alonso’s and Kimi Raikkonen’s ace in the hole at least until the ever present espionage occurring up and down pit lane figures it out ala the F-duct.
The sponsorship is relatively the same with the addition of a few more. UPS the American delivery giant and a company called Weichai that builds diesel engines in China have joined the party. Santander is still the title sponsor with signage on the expensive parts and Shell is ever present as the lubricant supplier.
Ferrari has also carried over their new team logo on either side of the engine cover. For what it’s worth I don’t fancy it. I didn’t two years when it was introduced and replaced the goofy bar code logo that somehow was supposed to make me think of Marlboro cigarettes and I still don’t like it. I wish they would just get rid of it. You would think the mighty Scuderia Ferrari would have a bad-ass graphics department but somehow this does not appear to be the case, which is just as well because I want them concentrating on their one lap pace and staying in contention for both championships right through the end of the year, not on logos and image placement. LOL.
Taking into account all I have touched upon and pointed out what is my feeling about this new iteration from the most successful racing marquee in F1? Will Ferrari be at the top of timing and scoring come FP1 in Melbourne on the Friday of the first race weekend and on the top step of the podium the following Sunday? Will Alonso and Raikkonen actually have a car to challenge the might of Red Bull, not to mention multiple race-winners Mercedes, a resurgent McLaren and contenders Lotus? Is this car, the F14-T, Ferrari’s way back to its historical place in Formula 1 glory? World Champions? Well if I knew all that I’d have a magic crystal ball. And be a great deal wealthier besides. Really no one knows, not the most weathered journalist or the greenest blogger.
What I am prepared to say is this, the car looks good and there is nothing to suggest Ferrari have thrown the dice and taken a gamble on some untested and yet to be proven concept which may or may not pan out. Instead Ferrari’s newest addition to its prestigious stable would appear to have, at least visually, everything sorted out to begin a long and difficult campaign. And that’s all we can hope for right now.
Car launches and the beginnings of the F1 season are times of anticipation and great hope. Each and every constructor’s press release is full of optimism and promise and if they aren’t their publicists should be fired. Not until the first winter testing will a job well done be confirmed or, alarms sounded and the factory put on red alert. In only a few short days much more will be revealed to everyone.
Chairman Luca di Montezemolo has placed a huge amount of pressure on all involved. From Stephano Domenicali to star drivers Alonso and Raikkonen, to the newly appointed James Allison and veteran Pat Fry to each and every member of the team. He famously gifted to his engineers last year a dagger with the invitation “to put it between your teeth in regards to the task at hand”. Let’s hope they took it to heart and the F14-T is up to its considerable task.
-jp- (and what did you think about my first official pre-season analysis?)