Tag Archives: Ferrari

Chinese Grand Prix analysis: 2012 set to be a classic season?

After three different race winners in as many races, it is clear that the order has never been tighter at the top. With Mercedes seemingly getting over their tyre degradation issues, and Sauber and Lotus chasing the hells of the frontrunners, I feel there are as many as 8 potential race winners this year – 5 of them yet to show their full potential.

But back to the present situation. Nico Rosberg’s first win shows that he is finally ready to challenge the big boys, and with Mercedes looking more of a dominant force, we could be in for a classic season.

Nico joins Keke in F1’s most exclusive club

A long-overdue win for Rosberg means that he is the third son of an F1 driver to win a race himself. However, in the other two cases (Jacques Villeneuve and Damon Hill), their fathers’ lives had already been cut short, both in car-related accidents.

With Nico having become the 103rd Grand Prix winner in F1 history, the focus will now move to see can he challenge for the world championship.

It’s certainly not out of the question. Red Bull’s RB8 is a troubled car, and McLaren have fumbled their advantages far too many times already. With an innovative DRS system, as well as the most powerful engine on the grid, they must capitalise on their pace in the following few races.

Tyre degradation is less of an issue – after each pit stop, the mechanics checked Nico’s tyres for excess wear, but Rosberg had it perfectly under control. It was a well deserved win, and he can certainly go further.

Massa bashing: Round 3

Respected journalists are now calling him a “waste of petrol”. I can’t disagree with them – a 13th place is nothing short of dismal.

The most stark fact is that, aside from the three slowest teams – every single driver on the grid has scored points except for Massa. He brushed off his first two awful races, and called the Chinese GP the start of his season, but has instead proven himself to be even more of a joke.

Fernando Alonso slipped down the order after running wide near the end of the race, but still managed to score points in a difficult situation. Massa’s only notable feat was holding up half the field for several laps.

The hype over Sergio Perez’s prowess in Malaysia has died down, and many are looking to the end of the season for him to replace Massa. For many, that can not come soon enough.

Sauber becoming a credible threat?

One of the biggest surprises so far this year is the Sauber’s excellent pace – going completely against my predictions before Melbourne.

Perez’s race pace in Malaysia, combined with Kobayashi’s 3rd place in qualifying, shows that the team are going places. They have scored their best qualifying and race results ever (as an independent team), and it is apparent that they may take on the big guns.

Each of the Sauber drivers is ahead of one of the Lotus drivers, to give you an idea of their form. Kobayashi scored their first ever fastest lap, to wrap up their excellent few races.

It will be extremely difficult for the Hinwil squad to keep up with the frontrunners, but we will see how they fare in the next few races.

Australian Grand Prix analysis: McLaren heading a new pecking order?

The first race of the 2012 Formula 1 season has brought with it the usual bundle of surprises, and the Australian Grand Prix showed us a glimpse of what’s to come over the next 19 races.

As McLaren and Red Bull strengthen their position at the top, Ferrari faltered, but Mercedes and Lotus failed to capitalise. Teams like Williams and Toro Rosso impressed with good race pace, while Marussia were quietly impressive at the back of the field.

Let’s have a look at what we learned from last weekend:

McLaren vs Red Bull – a year-long battle?

Can Red Bull claw back the deficit to McLaren?

Can Red Bull claw back the deficit to McLaren?

The first race of the season clearly showed McLaren’s strong pace. They locked out the front row in qualifying, and should have held their footing in the race, if it was not for an ill-timed safety car.

Meanwhile, Red Bull were worryingly poor in qualifying – it was the first time since Monza 2010 that neither Red Bull was on the front row – but fought back well to split their rivals.

What’s interesting is that, once Red Bull get a hold of their qualifying issues, the teams will be almost neck-and-neck at the front. Until then however, Button and Hamilton will look at building their points tally. This raises another interesting debate, as to which of the British drivers will end the season on top.

Button showed superior start-line traction, and after that he sailed into the distance. Hamilton was clearly rattled, and suffered for the rest of the race. This allowed Sebastian Vettel to close rapidly, and deny McLaren a perfect start to the season.

His Australian GP jinx aside, Mark Webber looks stronger than last year – though he had to be, to be honest. Despite this, with the EBD ban, he appears more than capable of challenging his teammate.

With all of these drivers looking competitive, we are facing a distinct possibility of all 4 drivers duking it out for the world championship.

Ferrari’s woes, Mercedes’ gain

Alonso is surely furious over Ferrari's poor pace yet again

Alonso is surely furious over Ferrari's poor pace yet again

There is no denying how atrocious the Ferrari F2012 is in terms of pace – 12th and 16th in qualifying proved this. Even their fellow Italian team, Toro Rosso, did better than this.

The team will undoubtedly look to Fernando Alonso to lead the Scuderia’s charge back up the field, but that will take time. As we saw in practice, the F2012 was wildly uncontrollable exiting corners, showing that Ferrari are still struggling to understand their own radical design.

Meanwhile, Mercedes have enjoyed excellent pace so far this year. Pole position in Australia was a definite possibility for Nico Rosberg, until he binned his lap at Turn 3.

A disastrous race left the Brackley squad without a single point, but the potential is still there to win races. Michael Schumacher’s 4th place in qualifying, followed up by running 3rd until his retirement, showed that he has improved greatly since his comeback. Rosberg’s race pace was much more disappointing, however.

Still, the rear wing F-duct innovation shows that the team are in with a chance of taking on the top two teams.

Contrasting fortunes at the back

Charles Pic performed reasonably well on his debut

Charles Pic performed reasonably well on his debut

HRT showed the world why they deserve to be racing in the highest level of motorsport – by flunking testing and failing to qualify. Enough said.

Marussia, on the other hand, enjoyed a relatively successful race, taking a 14th placed finish, equaling their best so far. Rookie Charles Pic stayed out of trouble, though he was forced to back off massively in the last few laps, eventually retiring with an oil pressure issue.

Rivals Caterham retired both cars with mechanical issues, confirming their horrid reliability for another season. With this, consistency and reliability is key for Marussia. If the time ever comes when much of the field are out of the running, they need to be ready to take advantage.

Latest young driver shoot-out

Vergne is a talented youngster, but so is Ricciardo

Vergne is a talented youngster, but so is Ricciardo

Toro Rosso’s ditching of Alguersuari and Buemi came as a relief to many – their latest duo of Vergne and Ricciardo has provided a fresh rivalry in the midfield.

Their last-gasp battle for points showed that neither is afraid to back down, and the fact that they didn’t collide shows a relative amount of maturity to their driving. I’m personally a fan of both drivers, and as of yet cannot determine who may end up on top.

This leaves us with an exciting battle within the Faenza squad. So far, Ricciardo has the upper hand, but only just. Can he remain on top for the entire season?

F1 2012 season opener preview

There’s only a few days to go until the Formula 1 season kicks off again – the off-season really does fly by.

But there’s no time to waste. With everyone gearing up for a much closer title fight this year, it’s time to take one last glance at the pack, and try to predict how the teams will fare in Melbourne:

Red Bull

Red Bull may well battle with McLaren for 2012

Red Bull may well battle with McLaren for 2012

Nobody can deny that Red Bull will be at the front this year – it’s almost a given.

However, that’s not to say that the Adrian Newey-designed RB8 will run away with the title again. The ban on exhaust-blown diffusers has cut their advantage to the other teams, and further restrictions on front wing flexibility put them under greater pressure over the winter.

Sebastian Vettel is still the team #1 after back-to-back world titles. While Mark Webber is gearing up to challenge his teammate, I don’t think the Australian is up to the challenge. The best indicator of Webber’s performance will be in Australia, where Mark has never finished higher than 5th. If he can break his streak of bad luck, then he may be in with a chance.

Still, I predict a Vettel pole position in Australia – after that nobody can be certain.

McLaren

The MP4-27 may well being McLaren back to winning ways

The MP4-27 may well being McLaren back to winning ways

Pre-season testing has indicated that the Woking squad are back in top form in 2012.

However, they have a mighty challenger in the form of Red Bull. Both teams have tested out radical innovations on their cars, and it is still unclear who possesses the faster car. While Red Bull appear to have good qualifying pace, McLaren have performed well in long-fuel runs, similar to the 2011 season.

Lewis Hamilton’s well-publicised problems from 2011 appear to be behind him. The Brit has admitted he spent many nights partying during the 2011 season, which may well explain his loss of focus. There’s no doubt that Lewis is a fantastically talented driver, but there is also no excuse for underperforming in 2012.

His teammate, Jenson Button, will be looking to capitalise on a relatively successful 2011 season, and is hoping to beat Lewis again. However, if Hamilton has tackled his personal issues, then there may well be a brilliantly tight battle between the two this year.

Ferrari

Ferrari are yet to understand their F2012

Ferrari are yet to understand their F2012

While the front two teams have already established themselves as title contenders before the season opener, Ferrari are still unsure as to their pace. How they react to their radical F2012 will be fascinating.

Fernando Alonso will continue to push the team – and the car – to the limits, and there is little doubt that Felipe Massa will be left trailing behind. Ferrari have a perfect team leader in Alonso, and Felipe’s #1 spot at the team (inherited in 2007) has been well and truly taken away from him.

With such a differing driver line-up, the constructor’s title is already out of reach for Ferrari. However, depending on how Ferrari react to developing their F2012, Alonso may challenge for the driver’s title later on.

Mercedes

Mercedes will be looking to challenge the top 3

Mercedes will be looking to challenge the top 3

If Ferrari even stumble, Mercedes appear poised to snatch 3rd place in the constructor’s table from them.

After two disappointing years following the Brawn GP fairytale, things appear to be coming together for Mercedes. Team principal Ross Brawn has assembled some of the sport’s finest engineers to work on the W03, which showed good pace in pre-season testing.

Despite his age, Michael Schumacher may still be a force to be reckoned with. Nico Rosberg meanwhile will be looking to take his first ever race victory – compared to Michael’s colossal 91 wins.

It is unlikely that the team can challenge for the titles this year, but nobody can fully rule them out. Starting the season at the front is absolutely crucial.

Lotus

Lotus will be looking to establish themselves

Lotus will be looking to establish themselves

With a new name and new driver line-up, Lotus are the midfield team to keep an eye out for.

The Enstone squad have one of the most exciting driver combinations on the grid – a former world champion and current GP2 title holder. It is more than likely that Kimi Raikkonen will assert himself as #1 in the team, but Romain Grosjean may well keep him on his toes.

What’s of more importance to the team is moving up the grid. After the frontal-exhaust disaster last year, the E20 appears to be much faster and more reliable, despite the chassis issue that ruled the team out of 4 testing days.

Like Mercedes, they are unlikely to make a massive jump up the grid, but I would be very surprised if Lotus were to finish any lower than 5th.

Force India

Force India are looking to stay on top of the midfield

Force India are looking to stay on top of the midfield

Lotus aren’t the only team looking to make progress in 2011. After several impressive performances last year, Force India will be looking to push their way to the top of the midfield.

Adrian Sutil has been ditched after 5 years of faithful service, and his F1 career appears to be over. He has been replaced by Nico Hulkenberg, who gets another shot in F1 after a good 2010 campaign with Williams.

The team have recently received a $32m cash injection from owner Vijay Mallya, so finances aren’t an issue. What the team want is a progressively faster car than last year – the VJM05 appears to be delivering so far.

Alongside Paul di Resta, this is another exciting driver line-up. This battle is much more difficult to call, but I think Di Resta will stay just on top.

Sauber

Sauber may struggle in 2012

Sauber may struggle in 2012

Another midfield team looking to make progress, Sauber may find themselves squeezed out this year.

While their driver line-up of Kobayashi and Perez is an impressive one, I fear the team has not kept up with the development of the rest of the grid. The team saw a massive slide in pace during the second half of 2011, and the loss of James Key was a massive blow.

With teams like Force India and Lotus looking to move up the grid, there may be no improvement from Sauber in 2012.

Toro Rosso

Ricciardo and Vergne will battle it out at Toro Rosso

Ricciardo and Vergne will battle it out at Toro Rosso

The latest batch of Sebastian Vettel wannabes are in, and look set to provide an exciting battle for 2012.

Jean-Eric Vergne and Daniel Ricciardo are in, ousting Sebastian Buemi and Jaime Alguersuari, who had well and truly overstayed their welcome. With little to no F1 experience (several races for HRT doesn’t do much for Ricciardo), we have no idea who will end up on top.

The STR7 looks solid, but doesn’t seem to be pushing the team up the order. Most of the focus this year will be on the driver pairing, to see can either of them join Vettel at Red Bull.

Williams

Williams look set for another dismal season

Williams look set for another dismal season

After a dismal 2011 season, it appears unlikely that Williams will recover this season.

The Fw34 has been disappointing in testing, frequently ending up at the back of the pack. Bruno Senna brings a fresh face to the team, but Pastor Maldonado stays on, and frequent readers of this site know how I feel about him.

They may prove me wrong, but I see little improvement for Williams this year.

Caterham

Caterham must make progress in 2012

Caterham must make progress in 2012

After two years stranded in F1’s no-man’s-land, Caterham will be looking to push forward and join the midfield.

Failure is not an option for this team – they have spent way too much money to continue to fall behind teams like Williams and Sauber. Unlike HRT and Marussia, Caterham invested financially according to where they thought they would finish in several years, not where they would end up in the beginning. Banking their future on FIA payouts is risky, but it’s been done in F1 before.

Vitaly Petrov replaces the direly slow Jarno Trulli, and may give Heikki Kovalainen a run for his money.

HRT

Another season at the back for HRT - but that's all that's needed

Another season at the back for HRT - but that's all that's needed

After finally turning a wheel before the opening race for the first time in their history, HRT have made ever so slight progress towards stability – albeit at the back of the grid.

With the oldest driver line-up on the grid, the team will be sorely lacking in pace. However, the most important thing for the team is that they stay afloat – many new teams collapse within the first two years, particularly back in the 1990s.

A neat livery may gain them some fans, but otherwise it’s business as usual at the back of the pack. They may struggle to reach the 107% rule in the opening rounds.

Marussia

Marussia will be looking to beat HRT

Marussia will be looking to beat HRT

After finishing last yet again, Marussia will be looking to pull themselves ahead of HRT in the standings in 2012.

Rookie Charles Pic will find it most difficult, having little to no experience of the MR01 before Melbourne. I would be surprised if he were to survive the 107% chop in Q1.

Timo Glock, after proving his worth against all his teammates so far, deserves better than to be languishing in 23rd place all year, and the future of the team may well rest in his hands. No pressure, of course.

 

Of course, all of these predictions could fly out the window by the first corner in Melbourne! Either way, it’s looking set to be another fantastic season of Formula 1. I’ll be here to cover it every step of the way.

Latest testing news round-up

As the third test session of 2012 draws to a close, we have only 4 more testing days before the teams roll into Melbourne. While many cars are still sandbagging in terms of pace, a clearer picture of the 2012 grid is now visible. Here is the latest news from the last few days:

HRT pass crash tests, but testing still in doubt

The HRT car has finally passed the FIA crash tests, allowing it to take part in pre-season testing.

However, doubts remain as to whether the team will be able to make it to the final test in Barcelona.

The F112 has been homologated by the FIA after passing the rollhoop test a few days ago. Despite this, the car is still not fully assembled, and sources within the team are only “hopeful” that the struggling team will be able to turn a wheel before Melbourne.

Massa: Ferrari back on track

Felipe Massa believes that Ferrari have finally found the key to unlocking the pace of their F2012.

The Scuderia have been plagued by disappointing pace so far in testing, as they struggled to adapt to the radical car. However, Massa has claimed that the team have found consistent pace:

"I think it's definitely the direction we need to follow for these last days of
testing we have, and I think today was a positive day, not so much in the morning
but in the afternoon.

I have to say that now we are a little bit more positive because we found the
direction to work and I'm sure now, having found the direction, we can see the
development coming.

In the afternoon we were able to do more than eight/nine timed laps consistently.
The laps were very consistent and it was very positive. We still need to work a
lot but at least we found the direction to get a much better car to drive, not
just for laptime for also for consistency."

In the past we didn't have so many directions to follow. This year we have so many
directions, so many possibilities and the most important thing was to find the right
one, and I'm sure we found it."

Still, when asked, on a scale of 1 to 10, how prepared the team was for the upcoming season, Felipe only replied “more than 5″.

FIA to tie up ECU loopholes

In the latest attempt to clamp down on teams manipulating exhaust gases to achieve downforce, the FIA have tightened the stricter engine mapping regulations implemented for 2012.

Back in October, it was revealed that new engine mapping regulations would eliminate exhaust gas manipulation. However, an engine supplier has tipped off the governing body, saying that teams had found a way to improve the flow of gases by inducing a misfire.

It has been confirmed that the FIA have worked with this engine supplier to remove this innovation. A revised software package for the standard ECU unit will be introduced before the Australian Grand Prix.

Marussia fails crash tests, testing ruled out

Marussia, like fellow team HRT, have failed the crash tests for their 2012 challenger.

However, it comes at a much more critical time, as this means the MR01 almost certainly cannot take part in pre-season testing. As this article was updated, it was unclear what sector the car failed in, but the issue cannot be rectified before March 1st.

A statement from the team read:

"The Marussia F1 Team is disappointed to confirm that the planned first test of 
its 2012 race car – the MR01 – has been delayed as a consequence of not passing 
the final FIA crash test.

All cars are required to pass 18 FIA-observed tests for homologation to be granted. 
Despite the fact that the MR01 has passed all 17 of the preceding tests, the 
regulations require the car to have completed all of the tests before running 
commences.

The team will now not take part in the final pre-season test in Barcelona later 
this week [1-4 March] and will instead focus its efforts on repeating the crash 
test at the end of the week."

First impressions from 2012 Jerez testing

Ferrari have made headlines with their F2012 already

Ferrari have made headlines with their F2012 already

As the first of 4 pre-season tests draw to a close, we are beginning to form an idea of how the grid might shape out this year. Several news stories have also added interest to the speculation, as teams try to hold their cards close to their chests.

Here is the summary of news and events from testing so far:

Ferrari doubtful over pace?

Despite Fernando Alonso leading the timesheets on day 4 of testing, the Ferrari team are remaining quiet on whether their car can compete against Red Bull. Felipe Massa refused to clarify how he felt on the F2012, and technical director Pat Fry said the team still had lots of work to do:

"I am not happy with where we are at the moment. There is a lot of room for us 
to improve. Reliability-wise it is good. Performance-wise I think we are okay.

But we can play around with the performance and improve the car in some corners, 
and some particular parts of the corner. But I would not say I am happy yet until 
we get the whole thing working."

Force India feeling positive

Meanwhile, the Force India team are very happy with their progress over the winter.

Targeting 5th place in this year’s championship, their VJM05 appears to have a solid baseline for the team to build on. After missing a day of testing due to Jules Bianchi’s mishap, Nico Hulkenberg was happy with their progress:

"The long runs were useful for that and it also allowed me to start understanding 
the new tyres. There is still a massive amount to learn and lots of data to look 
at, but it feels like we have a good baseline to develop from and I’m pleased with 
how the day went."

HRT to miss testing again?

HRT’s embarrassing 3-year drought of not setting a single lap in testing looks set to continue, as the F112 (more than likely the car’s name) failed the mandatory FIA crash tests last week.

This year, a new regulation forces the teams to have passed the 17 crucial crash tests before the car can take part in testing. However, HRT’s car only passed 14 of these. Reports suggest that the car failed the roll hoop and lateral nose tests by “a minor margin”.

However, this still means that the car will not be ready for the second test in Barcelona. While the team are still aiming to turn a wheel before the first race in Melbourne, it is not an encouraging sign for the fledgling team.

Until the new car passes crash tests, Pedro de la Rosa will continue to drive last year’s F111.

McLaren and Ferrari exhausts declared legal

After the reactive ride height controversy last month, the FIA’s Charlie Whiting has approved exhaust layouts designed by Ferrari and McLaren.

A ban on exhaust blown diffusers this year forced teams to make their exhaust outlets visible from above, and have no influence on the performance of the diffuser. However, other teams in the paddock were worried that Ferrari and McLaren had found a way to manipulate exhaust gases to benefit other aero sections of the car.

While this would appear to be against technical regulations, Whiting has given the green light to both teams. According to Sky Sport’s Ted Kravitz, this will prompt more aggressive exhaust designs for other teams in the Barcelona tests:

"I understand from sources in the pit lane that FIA Race Director Charlie Whiting 
has told the teams that he considers Ferrari and McLaren exhaust designs as legal.

Even though the way those two teams have packaged their exhaust outlets, with 
channels leading exhaust gases out to specific areas of the car and therefore 
appearing to have a beneficial aero effect, which is against new exhaust regulations, 
it seems Whiting believes that they comply sufficiently with both the letter and the 
intention of the law.

This has been accepted by the other teams, who launched with less aggressive exhaust 
concepts and it means that they will now effectively green light their own, shall we 
say more exotic, exhaust designs.

We can expect to see these in time for the third test in Barcelona, if not before."

 

Jerez testing day 4: Alonso ends Jerez test on top

Fernando Alonso showed some of the pace of the F2012 in the final Jerez test

Fernando Alonso showed some of the pace of the F2012 in the final Jerez test

Fernando Alonso concluded the 4-day test session at Jerez by going quickest in the Ferrari.

In a much colder day than previous days, Alonso set a 1:18.877, beating Jean-Eric Vergne and Sebastian Vettel by 0.7 seconds. The world champion got off to a slow start, being delayed by an electrical problem on the Red Bull RB8.

The top 6 drivers were separated by less than a second. Lewis Hamilton headed Romain Grosjean in 4th and 5th.

Kamui Kobayashi suffered a hydraulics leak in his Sauber C31, causing one of three red flags. Bruno Senna caused the other two when his Williams stopped out on track.

Jarno Trulli finished much slower than the other 8 drivers, but hailed his introductory day in the Caterham CT01 as his “best ever” first test. He also reported no problems with the car’s power steering – an issue he struggled massively with last year.

There will now be a 10-day break before the next test begins at the Circuit de Catalunya.

Times from Jerez day 4:

1. Fernando Alonso        Ferrari F2012       1:18.877   39 Laps
2. Jean-Eric Vergne       Toro Rosso STR7     1:19.597   80 Laps    +0.720
3. Sebastian Vettel       Red Bull RB8        1:19.606   49 Laps    +0.729
4. Lewis Hamilton         McLaren MP4-27      1:19.640   86 Laps    +0.763
5. Romain Grosjean        Lotus E20           1:19.729   95 Laps    +0.852
6. Kamui Kobayashi        Sauber C31          1:19.834   76 Laps    +0.957
7. Nico Hulkenberg        Force India VJM05   1:19.977   90 Laps    +1.100
8. Bruno Senna            Williams FW34       1:20.132   124 Laps   +1.255
9. Jarno Trulli           Caterham CT01       1:22.198   117 Laps   +3.321

Ferrari reveal F2012 with “distinctive” nose design

The newly-launched Ferrari F2012 will win no awards for looks

The newly-launched Ferrari F2012 will win no awards for looks

Ferrari are the fourth team to show off their 2012 challenger, appropriately called the F2012.

The standout feature of the F2012 is undoubtedly the horrendously ugly stepped nose design. Unlike other teams, who sloped the step between the two nose sections, Ferrari’s is at a near-45 degree angle at one point.

Chief designer Nikolas Tombazis describes the nose as “aesthetically not very pleasing”, which most fans have already considered to be one of the understatements of the year.

Chassis director Pat Fry noted that most of the team’s development would be focused on aerodynamics:

"We’re working on upgrading the aero, mainly. There will be an update for the 
third test and the first race. And then, in reality, it’s just a constant aero 
development all through the year.

The biggest differentiator is aerodynamics, still. I think there’s a lot less 
you can do now with engines affecting the aerodynamics.

The engineering side of engine performance moves back to actually producing 
horsepower and making it fuel-efficient, rather than the opposite that we had 
been doing. I think it is just going to be a constant aerodynamic development 
all through the year, really."

Aside from the nose, the most interesting innovation is the pullrod front suspension, which hasn’t been seen on an F1 car since the days of Minardi. Despite the fact that it is a mechanical system, it has been incorporated onto the car for mechanical reasons.

At the launch, Tombazis did a quick walk-through of the adjustments and innovations on the F2012:

"The front wing is an evolution of the wing we introduced in the 
last races of last season [tested in Indian GP]. That was introduced 
in order to learn some initial lessons about this subject and we 
understood quite a lot and we have further developed it, and there’s 
going to be further development at the third test before the start 
of the season.

The nose has a rather ungainly shape on the top. That is the result 
of the regulation which requires us to have the nose quite low, and 
an aerodynamic desire to have the lower part of the chassis as high 
as possible. So even though it is aesthetically not very pleasing, 
we believe it is the most efficient aerodynamic solution to that area 
of the car.

Going slightly further back, we get into one of the innovations of 
this car, which is the front suspension. For mainly aerodynamic 
reasons we have selected the pull-rod solution.

It took us quite a lot of work in the structural and design office 
and vehicle dynamics departments, in order to regain all the mechanical 
characteristics that we wanted the front suspension to have. We believe 
we’ve achieved that, but we also have, I believe, an aerodynamic 
advantage out of the solution.

Moving back, we reach the area of the sidepod inlets. There we have 
reviewed completely the project and we have changed out philosophy for 
the lateral crash structures. The crash test we had to do was much more 
difficult to homologate the car. But it has left us with some aerodynamic 
advantage in the area of the main turning vanes and the vertical profiles 
that lie next to the sidepod inlet.

Going further back we have a much more narrow profile especially at the 
low part of the ‘coke panel’. That has been made possible out of the 
repackaging of the chassis and engine rear part, and also out of the 
gearbox that has been completely reviewed and made narrower.

Whereas in the upper part of the sidepods we have a fairly wide solution 
because we have to host the new exhausts which are a result of the new 
regulations regarding exhausts.

So we have had to abandon to low exhausts of the previous years because 
of the regulations. We spent quite a lot of resource and time in 
investigating the new exhaust scenarios and in fact it will be an area 
we will research during winter testing before we finalist the exact 
configuration for the first race.

Regarding the gearbox, we have obviously got the external shape which 
is new and narrower but we have two different approaches from our side.

One of them is the rear suspension we have adopted, like quite a few of 
the others in recent years, a pull-rod solution. But we’ve also hosted 
part of our radiator cooling on top of the gearbox so as to reduce the 
cooling area required at the lateral part of the car.

The rear wing is basically similar to last year’s, but we have refined 
it and pushed the sections of the aerodynamic profile small, in order 
to produce more downforce.

The F2012 has a relatively small amount of carry-over compared to 
previous cars. The very desciptions I made indicate we have reviewed
almost the whole car. So components that are either physically the same 
as last year or conceptually the same are much fewer, therefore we’ve 
had to work much harder in the technical office and in production in 
order to be able to do all this work."

Finally here is the official launch video from the event:

Snow forces cancellation of Ferrari launch

Ferrari's base in Maranello has been snowed in

Ferrari's base in Maranello has been snowed in

Ferrari have called off their intended launch for their 2012 F1 car.

Their base in Maranello has been beset by snow in recent days, which has forced the team to call off the event.

On their Twitter account, they stated: “It is still snowing heavily here in Maranello. Therefore, the launch ceremony of the new F1 car has been cancelled.”

An online launch will replace the cancelled event, with pictures and technical details being posted on ferrarif1.com tomorrow.

FIA bans reactive ride height systems

The reactive ride height innovation designed by Lotus and recently copied by Ferrari has been banned by the sport’s governing body.

The FIA’s decision was announced yesterday by Williams chief operations engineer Mark Gillan, who had received a letter from Charlie Whiting regarding the matter on Friday.

The FIA’s head of F1 communications, Matteo Bonciani, confirmed the news yesterday:

"We have been investigating that type of system for a while. It is obviously 
[creating] an impact on the aerodynamic platform of the car.

Anything that gets the ride-height lower, particularly the front ride-height 
lower, is beneficial from an aerodynamic perspective."

This ride height adjustment device would appear to break Article 10.2.2 of the 2012 Technical Regulations, which states that “any powered device which is capable of altering the configuration or affecting the performance of any part of the suspension system is forbidden.”

In addition to this, Article 10.2.3 bans any “adjustment … made to the suspension system while the car is in motion.”

Ferrari latest to develop reactive ride height system

The reactive ride height system has already been developed by Ferrari

The reactive ride height system has already been developed by Ferrari

After details of Lotus’ reactive ride height system emerged in recent days, it has also been reported that Ferrari have developed their own interpretation of the technology.

The new innovation stabilises the front of the car – mechanically and aerodynamically – under braking, by lifting the front of the car by several millimetres.

Lotus’ version had already been approved by the FIA back in January 2010, and Ferrari have since written to the organisation to seek approval of their system. This was confirmed yesterday by team principal Stefano Domenicali:

"What you are talking about, is more related to having stability under braking. It 
is a system that I know there have been some documents in writing between the FIA 
and the teams.

We are waiting for the final confirmation if this kind of devices will be acceptable 
or not. But for sure we are looking around these sorts of devices to see if they 
contribute to a performance. But we need to wait and see what will be the reaction to 
the FIA on that."

If the device is approved by the FIA, then it is almost certain that Ferrari will be able to test the system at the first pre-season test in February.

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