A day after McLaren unveiled its MP4-29 challenger to the world, Ferrari has taken the covers off the car it hopes will propel it to World Championship glory. After a worldwide fan poll, the new car has been dubbed the F14T.
Ferrari has developed a different – and much more visually appealing – solution to this year’s altered front wing and nose regulations, avoiding the unsightly ‘proboscis’ designs adopted by Williams and McLaren, or the ‘manta ray’ concept shown off by Lotus.
Instead, the F14T sports a distinct swooped design down to the narrower front wing, with careful attention being paid to the affect of airflow over and under the nose itself. The car has also kept the pullrod front suspension concept it ran on its 2012 and 2013 predecessors.
Outwardly, the car appears relatively conservative in its approach, although it will have had some influence from its recently appointed technical director, James Allison, who returned to the team after a stint at Lotus late last year.
The Englishman followed Lotus’ lead driver, Kimi Räikkönen in returning to the Italian squad.
The team is under no illusions that it has to return to being a seriously competitive force at the front of the field, after failing to take advantage of the early-season momentum it enjoyed last year when Fernando Alonso won two of the first five races.
“This season will be very, very long and therefore it will be important to start with a very reliable car at the beginning, and then keep having the development on the aerodynamic side that was not there last year,” Ferrari team principal Stefano Domenicali said at the car’s launch.
“The most important thing we have to avoid is to fall under the big pressure that we have. We need to stay focused on the job and make sure we do the best job that we can because the company has given us everything and therefore maximum concentration to not be distracted by the enormous pressure that we have is critical. We know what Ferrari represents for us and for the world of F1.”
The pairing of Alonso and Räikkönen represents one of the most potent – and certainly the most experienced – driver line-up on the grid, although there could be plenty of fireworks as both have made it their goal to add to their tally of Drivers’ Championship titles.
“Obviously over the last four years with have had some opportunities and in 2010 and 2012 we were very, very close to winning the [Drivers’] championship. This year we will try again and hopefully it will be a good one,” Alonso said.
“I think Kimi and me as a team should be quite strong on paper because we have had some successes in the past in our F1 careers.
Räikkönen – Ferrari’s last World Champion in 2007 – is looking forward to being back in red, having made a full recovery from the back surgery that kept him away from the final two Grands Prix last year.
“It is nice to come back to the Ferrari team and the place where I won my championship in 2007,” he said.
“Obviously the aim is the same. We want to do the best that we can and try and win races and try and win world championships. Time will tell whether that will happen. But definitely we will be fighting for it.”
Images via Ferrari