In a bid to reclaim the driver’s title that Felipe Massa lost to Lewis Hamilton in the final race of last season, Ferrari has rolled out its F1 car for the 2009 season. It may be recalled that Felipe Massa lost the 2008 championship by one point to Lewis Hamilton last season.
The official launch of the Ferrari F60 took place at the Mugello circuit, Scarperia.
Visually, the Ferrari F60 is remarkably different to the 2008 F1 car. For one, according to the recommendations of the Overtaking Working Group, many changes were decided upon and implemented by all the teams. The front wing of all F1 cars now have a neutral central profile, the car is overall much wider, slick tyres make a comeback to Formula One, and new regulations mean a lot of the apertures will disappear. There is a front flap, which can be adjusted by the driver while racing to better manage the aero dynamics of the F1 car.
It is quite likely that as testing progresses, the appearance of the F60 would change even further, and designers incorporate more data into the design.
Christened F60, the new 2009 challenger debuts as Ferrari’s 60th year innovation in Formula One. Significant about the F60 is the fact that it is Ferrari’s 55th F1 car since blazing on to the F1 scene way back in 1950. The new F1 car, which is undergoing testing on the speed track, is said to have invested more in the aerodynamics department keeping in line with the new norms for the 2009 season that have been agreed upon by different F1 teams.
The Ferrari F60 Formula One car incorpoates a kinetic energy recovery system (KERS), designed by Magneti Marelli, centrally mounted on the engine under the rear of the chassis. There is a possibility that Ferrari may not include the KERS at the beginning of the season, and introduce it only later. Nevertheless, the Ferrari F60 which was officially showcased included the KERS.
The race car incorporates capabilities to cut carbon dioxide emissions without affecting performance. Ferrari said that the transmission has been redesigned to take advantage of the new aerodynamics. The F60 is also wider than ever before, while sporting higher and narrower rear wings.
The debut, meanwhile, is being seen as a shift from the past, as Ferrari has until now rolled out its new cars on its home track in Fiorano. It is being said that the debut happened this week owing to snowy conditions in Fiorano. The car maker has clarified that the first official tests of the new Ferrari F60 would happen at Portimao in Portugal, when the team fight it out with each other from January 19-22.
Interstingly, the new Ferrari F60 was put to test by Massa himself on the the Mugello track, a few hours after the car was unveiled. Massa, sitting behind the wheel in his 2009 F1 challenger, was quoted by the F1 website as saying that it took a bit of getting used to, particularly with the KERS that has come in the car. Massa told the media that the car is very different and it would take some getting used to. Nevertheless, he was pleased that everything worked as expected during the short shakedown of the F60.
Massa was perhaps the most consistent driver in 2008, but controversies, debates over stewards’ verdicts and overall shoddiness marked Ferrari’s performance in 2008. Here’s hoping a better 2009 for the Ferrari F60 and Felipe Massa.
What about Kimi Raikkonen? Kimi has been particularly low profile prior to the launch, though he was very much there at the launch of the Ferrari F60. Kimi would get his first taste of the F60 next week. He told the media that while he was disappointed with his performance in 2008, this is a new year, and he definitely was looking forward to getting back to racing.