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Some indiscretions from Italy about the new Ferrari F1 car
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Darren Heath
Posted By: James Allen  |  23 Jan 2012   |  11:07 am GMT  |  178 comments

Italian technical journalist Giorgio Piola has struck again, releasing some details of the new Ferrari due to be launched at Maranello on Friday February 3rd.

The car has been described as “ugly” by Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo and it’s certainly a new departure from the DNA of Ferraris of recent years, but all there are agreed that if it’s fast enough, it will certainly be beautiful!

Among the indiscretions Piola has published in Gazzetta dello Sport today are that the suspension is a pull-rod system, the first on a Ferrari for 11 years. This is what Red Bull has been using since 2009 and many others have followed.

It works well with a lower nose and allows a lower centre of gravity on the car. At the rear it allows the back to sit low, clearly part of Ferrari’s strategy for coping with the loss of the blown diffusers.

The new rules, lowering the nose on the cars, means that the nose droops down.

The drivers are more reclined in the new Ferrari. The sidepods are very narrow and the crash structures to protect the driver are in two wing like shapes in front of the leading edge of the sidepods, above the radiator inlet line. In addition to meeting the crash requirements, they will clearly have an aerodynamic function.

All the teams are working on innovative sidepod ideas to try to get the best possible airflow to the rear of the car to make up for the lost downforce from the banning of the blown diffusers. Sidepods offer quite a bit of freedom to the designers.

According to Piola the front and rear wings at the launch will be old specification, not the 2012 ones.

The exhaust outlets will be at the lower end of the range specified in the new rules, blowing across the bottom profile of the rear wing. But there is a development plan, apparently, to move to what McLaren and Red Bull is believed to be doing, which is to exit the exhausts high up, to blow across the top profile.

The car, under the guidance of technical director and former McLaren designer Pat Fry, is the work of Nikolas Tombazis, with legendary Ferrari designer Rory Byrne a significant contributor in the background. It’s believed that Byrne is behind the innovation on the protective structures in the form of a wing in front of the sidepods.

Last year there was a lot of imagery around the launch of the pride of Italy, celebrating its 150th Anniversary.

Although the political tone might be lower this year, the team and particularly Montezemolo, will be well aware that Italy needs something to be proud of at this difficult time, with the economy in crisis and the recent sinking of one of its cruise ships another embarrassing episode for the country.

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178 Comments
  1. Joe Martin says:

    Rory Byrne should get back full time.
    Rory Byrne vs. Adrian Newey

    1. Justin Bieber says:

      Rory Byrne is much older than Newey.. I dont know if he wish to get back full time in F1

    2. Jez says:

      That could cause some changes…

  2. Matt Wil. says:

    Hearing that Rory Byrne is actually working now means that he hasn’t joint Ferrari as a makeup for the team. And, of course, he has the key ideas yet, as Newey.

    This is nice for the story, as a good adventure novel, two same level and old intellects competing.

  3. Wayne says:

    Excellent article, thank you James.

  4. Horno says:

    Can’t wait!
    And Byrne is the one man who can stop Newey.

    Just a few weeks and we will all know how ugly this machine will look like, nevertheless I will always support Ferrari!

      1. hero_was_senna says:

        I fail to understand how Ferrari, in fact, any F1 team would allow a journalist, to see their car prior to launch.
        These teams are all secretive of their designs. Even on the grid before a race they stand in front of the car.
        Is this a leak, or would Ferrari purposely leak ideas and images to the press as gamesmanship?
        Any ideas James?

      2. James Allen says:

        It’s a complex game…

  5. Blaize says:

    Pretty excited to see how ugly this car is!

    Can it beat the inital shock of the Williams FW26 Walrus Nose.

    1. Robert s says:

      lol I remember that (how could I forget!). When I first saw the BMW in 2009 with the current rules, as in huge front wing and small rear wing, that was the biggest shock in changes of looks for an f1 car for a while.

      1. Werewolf says:

        I thought Osella, who built some beautiful sports racers, produced some of the ugliest F1 cars – and the slowest.

    2. DB4Tim says:

      No that was the ugliest …hands down

    3. kevin says:

      I must be the only person who didn’t mind the walrus nose! it was cool to have something so visibly different for once and it didn’t look that bad really

      1. James says:

        I absolutely loved the walrus nose – one of my all-time favorite cars.

        And, compared to recent Williams cars it had Red Bull 2011 speed…

      2. David Young says:

        so nice to know I’m not the only one who liked the walrus nose.

      3. tim says:

        I liked it too. Still think the sidepods are the sexiest part of an F1 car, though, so am excited by new designs in that area for this year. The 2005 Sauber had sexy sidepods. Loved last year’s McLaren sidepods, too. Hoping they go even more extreme this year.

        Does anyone know if the FIA are looking to the new Indy car with its boxed rear wheels with interest in the safety benefits? That car is the most interesting open-wheeled car to come along in a long time.

      4. Ambient Sheep says:

        I’m another who liked the walrus nose!

      5. Kenty says:

        Likewise, I liked the walrus nose. Even have a model of that car…!

        Sad or what…!

        :)

    4. Simon Lord says:

      Ferrari 312 B3 Spazzaneve, anyone? The 72/73 car was a truly ugly Ferrari – such a shame after the magnificent B1.

      http://www.ultimatecarpage.com/car/2922/Ferrari-312-B3–Spazzaneve-.html

  6. Jon says:

    Ferrari haven’t really inovated for a few years, so it would be great to see them come up with some must have ideas.

    I’m hopeful that they can match red bull and mclaren at the front, to make the championship a lot closer affair.

    Roll on March and the start of the season.

    1. Dan Orsino says:

      when do you place the last real innovation? maybe 2004?

      1. Horno says:

        Ferrari F2008 with the open nose-concept.

      2. K says:

        and add F-duct from McLaren to the list.

  7. Gino says:

    What has the sinking of a ship got to do with Ferrari and how it is to perform on the track? Being Italian I have read no such reports of this nature or heard such things. A Ferrari win is always positive but that is just opinionated reporting Mr Allen.

    1. Martin B says:

      No it isn’t. It’s a comment regarding the Italian nation, not just Ferrari.

      James was making the point that following the ongoing uncertainty in the Italian economy and the recent sinking of the Costa Concordia (an Italian cruise liner), that it would be positive for Ferrari (and therefore the feeling/morale amongst the Italian public) to have something to sing and shout about.

      It’s not opinionated, it just recognises the close association between Ferrari and Italy.

      1. Gino says:

        You can recognise the nation and Ferrari as close to one another without making a flippant remark about the sinking of a ship where people have died.

        Yes, talk about the economy or the politics, but a ship no…

        So basically we are saying, “YES FERRARI WIN, that’ll pick em up after that disaster” priorities are wrong somewhere down the line.

        Being ITALIAN and a TIFOSO, I would feel no different if Ferrari won tomorrow. One is not the cure for the other.

        Also if that’s the case, then shouldn’t the car being named F150 for last year’s festivities have produced the same mired response to my struggling nation?

        ma va, va!

      2. KGBVD says:

        The F150 was a let-down, so no.

        If you feel that a national disaster (e.g. a nuclear disaster triggered by a tsunami), one with global interest, isn’t damaging to a nation’s pride then you need to reassess your perspective. Of course it stings, and it would sting the same part of you that feels pride when your country wins a gold metal (or if Ferrari wins a WC).

        Italy is in the news for all of the wrong reasons (political ineptitude, commercial ineptitude, personal navigation errors). James’ point is that a national team doing well would be a shot in the arm for the country.

      3. James Allen says:

        Exactly. As it would be for Greece if they won the Euro 2012 tournament, in the midst of a national economic crisis

        Ferrari is an important symbol of pride for “Made in Italy”

      4. KGBVD says:

        Your last name isn’t Schettino, is it?

      5. Tony says:

        Well said Gino!

      6. Rich C says:

        Now if they could just find a few top ‘made in Italy’ engineers and drivers to go along with the ‘made in Italy’ car….

  8. goferet says:

    OMG!!! As if we didn’t have enough excitement for 2012 as it is, now even Rory Byrne had to throw his hat in the ring.

    What the hell, do this people want to do to us?

    It’s like they’re trying to put us all in hospitals by making up for all the boring/dominant races of 2011 & other such seasons in the past by delivering, the perfect F1 season in mankind’s history.

    Anyway, hopefully Ferrari have found something with all these new gadgets for I change my mind, yes it would be nice to have Ferrari back to the party for an F1 WDC/WCC isn’t really worth much (in the true sense) until you beat Ferrari on each footing.

    Yes, qualifying is going to be a whole new ball game, it would be very interesting to see if any driver can get under Sebi’s head.

    P.s.

    From what am told, ugly cars tend to be blooming slow whereas the pretty ones usually tend to be winners e.g. Schumi’s 2004 Ferrari or Lewis’ 2008 Mclaren

    1. KGBVD says:

      X-wings were hideous and fast, as was the fan-car, and the 94 Bennetton was ugly as hell.

  9. MISTER says:

    Can’t wait for the teams to unveil their 2012 cars and new stories to come out.
    Can’t wait for the first tests and for sure I can’t wait to the first race.

    Bring it on!

  10. Kevin Green says:

    Couple of interesting points there the head of Ferrari calling his own car ugly surprising? actually not That dalmed aero drive that i have previously mentioned destroying the cars looks and making them boring to watch and not as driver involving i.e having to be on guard to respond so much at any time i.e use there skills there in the sport to demonstrate/display. sorry but if the boss of the most recognisable and proven mass performance/executive car manufacturer is calling his own car and surely referring to the modern F1 cars in general ugly something should give! 2nd interesting point in the article ferrari launching the car with the old wings prosumably this is pointing at something effective in there aero package related to the wings that appears to be offering big effect?

    1. Rich C says:

      So you think they have a secret wing design that they want to keep quiet?

      1. Kevin Green says:

        Would seem so to me! If so you can put money on them being very ugly.

      2. Kevin Green says:

        More so due to the confidence Alonso seemed to swagger about the coming season a few weeks back that’s not like him he is normally quietly confident with very little emotional give, He was like a baby with a box of new rattles going by emotional reads i thought.

      3. Jon says:

        The wing they start testing with won’t be the same design they start the season with. And they were working on this years wing during the season last year, so it’ll be a variation of the 2011 wing I guess.

    2. hero_was_senna says:

      I honestly don’t see why Ferrari launching a car with old wings is a surprise.
      Every F1 team launches their cars with wings from the previous season as they don’t want the competition copying their ideas before the season starts. This has been industry practice for many years.

      1. kevin green says:

        Could not comment further on that one in regard to the wings on launch to be honest, James can you shine any light on that one???

      2. kevin green says:

        Interesting to see if Ferrari’s strides forward if any are in particular related to the wings hero!

  11. goferet says:

    The recent sinking of one of its cruise
    ships another embarrassing episode for the country.
    ————————————————

    If that story wasn’t tragic, it would have been funny.

    For sure, Italy has lots of funny guys from the Captain of that cruise ship to Silvio Berlusconi to Mario Balotteli to Montezemolo & oh, don’t get me started on the former Emperors like Nero Hahaa

    1. Randy_Torres says:

      Sorry sir, but there is absolutely nothing funny, including the captain, about the cruise ship episode. Furthermore, the list of funny English characters is at least as long as the Italian one, if not longer. Comment’s like yours makes it easier to understand the “veredict” in the Luis Suarez case and the non-veredict (so far) in the John Terry case. I’m surprised JA hasn’t blocked this comment, especially in light of some of mine that have been blocked.

      1. Galapago555 says:

        ” I’m surprised JA hasn’t blocked this comment, especially in light of some of mine that have been blocked.”

        Oh really?

    2. hero_was_senna says:

      goferet, the other day on Italian TV, there was a news article about the Houses of Parliament in the UK subsiding massively.
      There was speculation that talks were being made with China to buy the building or to help pay the 1 billion to repair it etc. It hasn’t been mentioned in the British press at all.
      You have to see beyond the propaganda that alot of the media in this country portrays of others.
      I may be cynical, but wasn’t it a member of the labour government who thought that the tragedy of 9/11 would be a perfect time to release information that would get less airtime at the time.
      Governments around the world have proven time and again that they cannot be trusted, it’s not merely a problem that is confined to Southern European countries.

      Regarding the Emperor’s from 2,000 years ago, would these be villainous individuals like the British Empire in India, or the current Chinese regime that doesn’t observe any human rights at all, or even the Americans who have a history of committing to wars all around the world when it serves their purposes?

      No one civilisation is perfect. We all have histories that make us proud and ashamed in equal measures and we all have individuals that are admired or hated.

      To bring it back to F1, a British team is the only one who has ever been fined for stealing and copying designs by another team, ie, Mclaren in 2007, yet the almost pathological hatred of Ferrari almost makes this acceptable.

      Regarding this news story, James is there information that Ferrari have given Piola, in the same way that car manufacturers give pre publicity shots to magazines to hype up the new product?
      It seems astonishing that a journalist, no matter how respected, would be able to walk into the Gestione Sportiva and glance over the new car…

    3. Edison says:

      Goferet,
      What about the “bambino” Briatore?

  12. Trent says:

    Pullrod rear suspension, right? Surely not on the front?

  13. elie says:

    Thanks for the insight James.However I’m far more interested in what Pat Fry will add than anyone else !. Keep in mind he just came from a red hot maclaren team that were just about as quick as Red Bull last few races. I wont be surprised if the maclaren side pods are copied/modified this year to compensate for down force lost by blown defusers. Would be great to get Kimis progress if possible. Thanks.

  14. madmax says:

    Do you know James how much influence or work Rory Byrne has put into Ferrari’s since he retired. Has he put more work into this one than previous years?

    It seems more often than not in history Byrne has came out on top against Adrian Newey although having Schumacher in his cars didn’t do Byrne any harm either.

    1. James Allen says:

      I think very recently yes

      1. madmax says:

        Ah cool, hopefully the ole genius hasn’t lost it and it shows in performance on the track.

    2. Sam says:

      He works 100 days a year as a technical consultant. In his words, he helps organise the projects run by Fry and Tombazis. He talks about his current role at Ferrari in a recent interview.

      1. madmax says:

        Thanks Sam, if they are 100 full days, that is quite a lot. You happen to have a link to that interview?

      2. Sam says:

        No problem madmax.

        Here is the interview he did with a South African radio station (it’s an audio file): http://soundcloud.com/567-capetalk/rory-byrne

        And here is the transcript from another interview he did with South African Motorsport:

        Q: How long does it take away from the activity of motor racing?
        RB: “My recall of the Ferrari F1 was in 2006, although estubo Design Consultant until 2008 though linked to early 2009. Most of the time step in Phucket (Thailand), but returned as a consultant to Ferrari earlier this year mainly in GT categories, but since June I returned to work more actively in the Department of F1, especially this winter with a view to next year’s car ”

        Q: What is your role at Ferrari right now? What is your job?
        RB: “Well, the most important aspect of my job now is to help Pat coordinate research activities, such as aerodynamics or the dynamics of the car. Basically, my job depends on five people who are in charge of the structures, dynamics vehicle aerodynamics, R & D and Global Design.

        When it comes to my work right, even I have my office where I try to bring my knowledge and Experience in the design of the car. Then basically support Pat and Nikolas, who are the ones who are in charge of all design, to study the data in the wind tunnel and simulator. But the most important is to help Pat coordinate all these activities ”

        Q: After being withdrawn entirely because it has decided to return to work at Ferrari?
        RB: “I have an important link with Ferrari, as the team needs me I will try to give the maximum of my ability, have always treated me exceptionally. You could say it’s my second family”

        Q: When the car will debut next year?
        RB: “The presentation is scheduled, I think the first week of February, making its track debut will take place in the first test days. But this does not mean that we see the same car as the last test, as we want to further research and design to take advantage of the training as possible, and get the best possible conditions for the first race of the season ”

        Q: You made a statement which stated that he was convinced it would be very competitive?
        RB: “Obviously I want that to happen, and I am convinced it will. We have not tested in court, but the simulations and data obtained have met our expectations, but there is still time left and we must continue to improve as much as possible. Our competitiveness depends on the progress made ​​by our competitors and how everyone has been able to meet the great effect that had the exhaust ”

        Q: Thank you for your time and good luck for the season.
        RB: Thank you, good afternoon.

      3. madmax says:

        Cheers Sam!

  15. Arshadhusain says:

    brilliant … thanks james

  16. rafa says:

    Well done james!

    you promised a look into mr Byrne’s input into this year’s ferrari and delivered. hopefully, so will Mr Byrne, and we may yet be up for a vintage f1 season!

  17. AuraF1 says:

    As a McLaren fan I generally hope for a poor Ferrari, but as a general F1 fan, I’m really hoping Rory Byrne has brought some Newey-defeating tricks to bear. I’m always hoping for McLaren wins above all else – but after last years one-man-Vettel show, the prospect of multiple winners from multiple teams taking it down to the wire is far preferable.

    Never thought I’d say it but bring on the fast’n’ugly Ferrari!

    1. hero_was_senna says:

      LOL, my sentiments but in reverse.

      Last year, when Ferrai were so poor, you can’t believe how much I wanted to see mclaren win!!!
      It was horrible, all those cold showers to get my senses back…

  18. Sean hardman says:

    Ugly is the new beautiful. Can’t wait till the 3rd.

  19. Underdog says:

    Hi James!!!

    So is that truth that Mr. Byrne is involved into the design process of the new Ferrari?

  20. Rob Newman says:

    It is sad that a team like Ferrari has to still depend on Rory Byrne. If it is not for Rory, Ferrari will conitnue just what they have been doing lately … pinch ideas from Red Bull, McLaren etc. instead of being innovative. Very sad.

    I am just wondering, if it turned out to be a winning car, will the credit go to Rory or Alonso. It is strange that whenever Vettel wins, people seems to say ‘ah .. it is an Adrian Newey designed car’ … and Vettel hardly gets any credit for his hard work behind the wheel.

    1. Justin Bieber says:

      It depends, If the car is over a second faster than everybody else in qualification, is on the front row on most races and win more than half the races while not really be troubled by the opposition. It will be fair to say its the car. If the car is 1/10 of a second faster and Alonso win the WDC then its a different story..

    2. rafa says:

      Is it me, or your comment reads something like, it’s very sad that ferrari are trying to improve and not copy everybody else? It makes for a very strange opinion. Maybe they should just continue underperforming to suit your tastes?

    3. HansB says:

      Hm.. I think this is way to easy. Just because in recent years ferrari didn’t bring much great ideas you can not say they are totally dependent on Byrne. Just 2 years ago they lost the WDC in the final race.
      As a team there are always people being more important than others and isn’t a team always depending a lot on its main designer and best driver? Where would RB be without Newey? Or Vettel ?

      1. K says:

        Without Vettel, RB would be where Mark is, not winning from 100 miles away but still winning from where Mark finishes.

        Without Newey, even Vettel would be behind the big three.

    4. mcdo says:

      It is sad that a team like Red Bull has to still depend on Adrian Newey.

    5. Jeff says:

      Adrian has repeatedly penned championship winning cars, with his success now spanning three separate constructors. No doubt Vettel is one of the top drivers in the world, but we’ll never know whether he is better than Alonso, Hamilton, Button, Raikonnen, Rosberg, Schumacher et-al, because they will never all be in the same F1 car.

      Even if they were in the same car, the dynamics of the car would probably be suited to one driver over another, further muddying the picture.

      The car makes a big difference. The build of the driver makes some difference too. None of the drivers mentioned above would win a race if they were in the HRT or the Marussia. At this stratospheric level of racing, the driver can make perhaps a 0.2-0.5 second difference to lap times at a typical GP track. The car can make a difference of 10x greater magnitude.

      Hopefully, the difference this year between the Red Bull and the rest will be less, and we’ll be treated to a multi-constructor fight for the championships.

      1. K says:

        “Even if they were in the same car, the dynamics of the car would probably be suited to one driver over another, further muddying the picture.”

        Very true, I guess the only way we can tell who is the better driver is for one designer (maybe AN) to design cars for each of the top 5 or 6 drivers at the moment, so they all get their best suited machineries and send them out to race for 50 odd laps and see who comes out on top :D

    6. CH1UNDA says:

      Vettel got the WDC to show for it – what more credit does he want or deserve?

  21. Jonathan says:

    Forgive me for asking a really basic question but..

    Why do teams have these official launches? A good PR opportunity but doesn’t it just reveal design details to the other teams earlier than they really need to? Or is anything of interest simply kept back until testing commences?

    1. James Allen says:

      Well only Ferrari and McLaren really go in for big launches these days. Force India is having one next week too.

      It used to be a big thing for sponsors and so on to show off their involvement, but now time is so tight many teams don’t do it.

      Ferrari always has to put on a “show”, it’s part of their culture. For that reason McLaren has to be seen to be the same….

      1. peru says:

        mclaren in 2007 the most impresive without a doubt.

      2. Femi Akinz says:

        James,

        How does Bernie and F1 in general view McLaren say in relation to Ferrai who are seen as key to the marketing the whole package.

        It appears that teams and perhaps more importantly Bernie sees it as Ferrari, RedBull, Merc then McLaren in that order.

        Your thoughts?

      3. James Allen says:

        McLaren are F1′s 2nd biggest brand, but they are also the awkward squad

        Red Bull are close to BE, Horner in particular

      4. vitaly says:

        in how far are they the awkward squad? if anything i would have thought that ferrari would merit that title.

      5. Edison says:

        James Allen,please would you explain your statement? Is Red Bull close to BE the 2nd biggest brand or awkward (Horner)?

      6. Nadeem says:

        I personally love the big launhes. Puling a cover off in a pitlane is boring. I am surprised Red Bull don’t do any big launches

  22. MISTER says:

    Hi James,

    Why does my previous comment still show as awaiting moderation?

    Thanks

    1. James Allen says:

      Because it was insulting to the other reader and thus outside the rules on commenting on the site

  23. Chafic says:

    Can’t wait… Need badly my F1 Fix…
    Darn it I hope I won’t have a hart attack before Ferrari launches its car. The news of Rory B. Being involved is great! Curiosity is itching me.

    Cna’t wait for the First GP to start…

    Thanks James!

    1. Martin says:

      It is a bit wrong for me to single out a typo, but your reference to hart and Rory Byrne brought up a particular image in my head – a 1985 Toleman-Hart suffering an engine failure – commonly referred to as a Hart-attack within the Rory Byrne designed car.

      Cheers,
      Martin

      1. Jeff says:

        LOL!

        +1

        Thanks for bringing back memories for me.

        In my case, it was the 1993 and 1994 Jordan Hart. I’ll never forget the sight of my boss walking away from the car in a Silverstone pit garage, then jumping and spilling the cup of tea he was carrying as they fired up the Hart V10 behind him. The massive change in noise level in that enclosed space was like a bomb going off.

        Can’t wait to see what McLaren, Red Bull, Mercedes and the rest have penned for this year.

      2. Chafic says:

        LOL indeed… Forgot about that!!! :-)

  24. Dzu-Fast says:

    Scuderia Ferrari must win the WDC this year with Fernando Alonso for them to achieve the same number of WDC wins as they did with Raikkonen.

    However, the Raikkonen and Massa pair helped the team win 3 titles in total: 2 constructors’ and 1 drivers’ title. The Alonso and Massa pair have already lost to that achievement as they can’t win 3 titles in one season. So, in 3 years, Raikkonen and Massa and the rest of the team won more than Alonso and Massa with the rest of the team can achieve. This of course in no way means that Alonso would be a mediocre driver, he is certainly excellent, but it highlights the fact that scapegoating Raikkonen was a very low thing to do by Montezemolo and Domenicali.

    I, as a hardcore Scuderia Ferrari fan would like to hear Montezemolo and Domenicali publicly apologize to Mr. Raikkonen and all his worldwide fans for the huge incompetence and dishonesty they both displayed in regards to Mr. Raikkonen’s position in the team.

    1. Justin Bieber says:

      you know what they say, never let facts get in the way of an opinion..

      Do you remember how Ferrari won the 2007 WCC? Because McLaren was disqualified from the WCC. Nothing to brag about. Sure they were cut spying but every team spy each other. Its fine as long as you don’t get cut.

      Kimi was lucky to win in 2007 like Lewis was lucky to win in 2008, but they both got the job done so they both deserved it. Kimi speed and commitment went downhill after that and in 2009 Ferrari had enough and replaced him with someone lead the team forward.

      To say that Ferrari needs to apologizes to Kimi is hilarious. It was a tough but fair decision they took and with insight its clearly it was the right decision.

      I know a lot of Kimi fans were angry about the decision, but if you can take a step back and focus on the facts and leave your personal feeling about him on the side, the only logic conclusion is that he brought it on himself.

    2. Brad says:

      and he(Kimi) never had a bad thing to say about Ferrari, in fact he was very loyal to the team. It’s true what Hamilton named him…a gentleman.

      1. Jeff says:

        Hey, I’d be pretty loyal to someone who paid me 30 million quid to doing nothing for a year :-)

      2. Brad says:

        and still achieve more than the leading driver in his 2nd year at Ferrari. Kimi must be a genius….

    3. Mocho_Pikuain says:

      Ferrari cars in 2007 and 2008 were much better than 2010 and 2011 ones. And there is also the civil war McLaren had in 2007, helping Kimmi win WDC and gifting Ferrari WCC. And numbers say Kimmi and Massa performed at the same level along the 2’5 years they were together while Mr. Alonso has scored almost the double of Massa’s pointsfor the past two years. What they did to Kimmi was ugly, but with time it proved to be the right decision.

      1. StallionGP F1 says:

        That is just so wrong the cars in 2010 and 2011 were better the only difference was the redbull was better nobody wins the title by luck as the title is fought over the season so saying mclarens in fighting gifted Kimi the title is wrong.
        As to what they did to Kimi well time would tell obviously Alonso is not as good in leading them as they thought as they have had to look for Rory now. So if Alonso wins the WDC it would all be down to Rory and not Alonso.

      2. MISTER says:

        Like Kimi is a team leader :))

        I read here somewhere about a joke in the paddock when Kimi was announced as joining the Lotus in 2012:

        Team briefing:
        Q: Kimi how is the car?
        A: Good!
        Q: Vitaly how is the car?
        A: Good!
        Briefing over!

      3. Edwin says:

        Would be even better joke if Vitali was driving for Lotus this year :-) Jokes aside Kimi’s silence to the press does not mean his feedback is just as monosyllabic.

    4. Rach says:

      Ferrari gave Kimi a title and a big fat paycheck. They owe him nothing. Why would they need to apologies to Raikkonen’s fans? The Tifosi much prefer Fernando Alonso.

      1. Brad says:

        I wonder if they will after 7 years and no titles…. championshisp and constructers…so far no good

    5. DB4Tim says:

      Why would you apologize to someone who shows up mentally only when he wants. You look at other champions, FA will drive until the wheels fall off, JB LH all show what they have if not in a perfect competitive car…..MS will drive until is is destroyed ….the mark of a Champion is one who is engaged and 110% no matter how good the car is…Kimi never did that.

      He can be blindly fast….when he wants.
      …He is one of the top four best drives on any grid when he wants…

      Ferrari no apology.

      1. Edwin says:

        Tim, all those drivers have examples of supposedly not trying as hard, the whole Kimi does not try story does not really have legs.

        Sure he may be less intense than others outside the car but FA looked like he was going through the motions at times at Renault before he joined Ferrari. JB was accused of being a bit of a journeyman playboy in his Renault years to have but two examples.

        Don’t think they should apologise afterall it’s their decision but I think the slow start to his final Ferrari season was more down to setup and tyres once they got the car setup he was brilliant in the second half.

        A lot of F1 is about perception, people perceive him to have motivational issues others for years perceived JB to be slow, FB famously called his a roadblock or something equally scathing now he is seen a the first driver to beat Hamilton something not even Alfonso could do.

  25. DVX says:

    Great article James but as an Italian I am a bit offended about this comment about the cruise ship and Italy. What some Neapolitan, idiot captain, did has nothing to do with the country itself.

    1. James Allen says:

      There’s no criticism of Italy or Italians here – but my point is that the people if Italy could do with something to restore some pride – win the Euro 2012 or see Ferrari cutting it up on the track would be a real positive at a tough time.

      1. DVX says:

        Yes you are absolutely correct, sorry I misunderstood your original comment.

      2. DB4Tim says:

        Well said!

  26. ed24f1 says:

    This is not relevant to the topic, but I have a question for you James that is starting to really bug me!

    What corner is the photo of Vettel on the front cover of the ‘JA on F1 2011′ book taken?

    I originally thought Degner 2, but the tarmac run-off is missing from the end of the kerb. I can’t think of any other corners with the same kerb profile, but maybe I’ve missed something obvious?

    1. James Allen says:

      I’l check with Darren, but I think it’s T12 at Istanbul

      1. ed24f1 says:

        Thanks very much for looking into it!

        T12 at Istanbul is the hairpin at the end of the 2011 DRS zone based on most track diagrams, but I think it could be T10, at the start of the long back straight.

        I think what tricked me (if that is the corner), is that the tarmac access road from the end of the kerb has been removed from the cover.

  27. Franco says:

    Im hoping most of the cars wont look the same this year, thanlfully I’ll be able to get a closer look as scheduled to be the Barcelona test on the final day.

    James, if you wish to use me as your grandstand reported let me know and I will interview a few fans for your testing review :)

  28. rfs says:

    “The car has been described as “ugly” by Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo and it’s certainly a new departure from the DNA of Ferraris of recent years, but all there are agreed that if it’s fast enough, it will certainly be beautiful!”

    The fastest cars aren’t usually ugly though, are they?

    In any case, we won’t know how fast it really is until Q3 in Melbourne.

    1. DB4Tim says:

      compared to the MP4/4…they are all flugly

      1. Steven says:

        Yep! Mp4/4 sexiest F1 ever, followed by the Gurney Eagle of 1967 and the original Lotus 49, of 1967 also. The Williams fw19 is also nice

    2. Bradley says:

      We may know by the end of Q2 in Melbourne…

  29. RedOne says:

    James is the front suspension pull-rod too?

    1. Al says:

      I’ve heard that too. Would be very impressive if they got it to work.

    2. Adelaide says:

      Yes, I too have read some interesting comments about that, can someone clear it up?

    3. ETM says:

      I doubt it is pullrod as since modern F1 car aero has open air space under the high nose and in front of the splitter/tray. This means there is nowhere to mount the rockers and dampers for a pullrod suspension without ditching the splitter.

      1. ETM says:

        Ouch, I botched that first sentence. Should read:

        I doubt it, as modern F1 car aero has an open air space under the high nose and in front of the splitter/tray.

      2. elie says:

        I read elsewhere that it is a pull rod suspension.Trying to emulate Red Bull.Nothing new really ! Couldnt care less what Ferrari build or what Montezemolo think. The only reason Ferrari succeed at all of late is the english designers and great drivers. I sensed in 2008/9 there was more going on behind the scenes that contributed to Kimis departure. Ferrari is not a team for most drivers, you either have to ‘run’ the team as Michael did or kiss @&!/ as everyone else has to survive-not just perform.

      3. ETM says:

        The RB7 has a pushrod front suspension. It is the rear of the RB7 that is pullrod. The combination of a pullrod front suspension and a high nose would be unusual and not an example of Ferrari emulating Redbull.

      4. elie says:

        Thanks etm.your right RB7 is front pushrod rear pullrod.I relayed what was posted elsewhere-perhaps they were referring to RB8..Anyways looks like a few teams going for high front end (see first pics caterham), maybe chance for a few to try diffrent suspension set up.

      5. ETM says:

        Your right. Now I’m wondering why Ferrari made the hump. I assumed that the hump nosed cars were doing so to house the rockers and shocks on top (as they did before) but Ferrari shouldn’t have that excuse. Definatly a question I am hoping to find an answer to.

      6. Redone says:

        Where their is will theirs a way and Ferrari found a way to have front pull-rod and high chassis, impressive!

  30. ACB says:

    I’ve always maintained that beauty is in the eye of the fellow on the podium spraying champagn on the crowd, i.e., winning makes it all good. (Fortunately Honda’s “My earth dream” never did well enough to challenge my thesis.)

  31. Iain says:

    Well if you want ugly you need to go back a few more years to the “claw” front end!

  32. One lunger says:

    There hasn’t been a pretty F1 car since about 97!

    1. Anupam says:

      The F2003 was certainly a very beautiful car…

  33. Jasper says:

    I’m fascinated to see what Ferrari have come up with, even if it’s ugly it has to be a brave design if it’s gonna have any chance this season. I’m also intrigued as to what Rory Byrne has achieved with these side-pod wings. Or U-wings I’ve heard them called. Here’s a link that may give an idea of what these could look like:

    http://www.f1technical.net/forum/viewtopic.php?p=299148&f=6

    1. hero_was_senna says:

      Just seen pics of the Caterham, a day before launch, I know what Montezemolo means about ugly.

  34. Mark says:

    James I ordered your latest book as I have done for the two previous copies by following the “order a signed copy” link from your website. Unfortunately the book was delivered with no signature which was disappointing.

    1. James Allen says:

      I don’t see how that is possible, I signed every one of them. When did you order it?

      1. Mark says:

        Hi James

        Thanks for replying, it was on 28th of December 2011: Order reference number: 364054

        Thanks

        Mark

  35. An F1 car that wins races and championships is NEVER ugly.

  36. mo kahn says:

    Who cares about Red Anymore???? The Black is the color passion in 2012…. Go Kimi :)

  37. muralonso says:

    james can u tell me your thoughts on the coming season and speacily ferrari.do you think they can stop redbulls?

    1. James Allen says:

      Until the cars run in testing it’s hard to say. Even then we’ve seen Ferrari test well in the last couple of seasons, but then not be so competitive in the early races.

      It’s also a long season, a lot can change. I think they’ll be closer, but that Red Bull development path is pretty impressive

      1. muralonso says:

        I’ve just seen the new drawings of new ferrari f12.what are your thoughts on the wings and side pods and alsothe hump on the nose?

  38. Jeroen says:

    I really do hope for a competative Ferarri or more so a competative Alonso to truly see what Vettel is made off.

    But I can’t help but sense this is all a bit desperate and this stuff is all leaked intentionally to boast morale. It is still copying others and a lot of it long overdue and in fact signalling defeat over your own design principles.. It seems to suggest think they can Play catch up while the rest stand still.

    Notice how McLaren have been quiet thus far, unlike previous years where they too created expectations right through after testing and failed badly to turn up with a winnig car out of the box.

    I suspect it will be mclaren vs redbull with another disappointing year for tifosi which will signal the end for domenicali, massa and a few more.

  39. Werewolf says:

    A new look, ugly or not, would be welcome.

    Welcome back, too, to Rory Byrne, one of the design greats often overlooked because Schumacher, Todt and Brawn had the higher profiles.

    Perhaps, if Di Montezemolo spouted and pouted less, Ferrari would have won more recently?

  40. Adrian Newey Jnr says:

    James – it would be great if a journalist like yourself did a few articles/blog posts on the key personnel behind the scenes. Most people can identify the team principals, but what about the key engineers, etc? It would be good to get your insight into who the players are and who is making a difference or giving their team an edge.

      1. Conor says:

        Totally agree, would be great. Also good start to the year on this site, love stories like this one

      2. Adrian Newey Jnr says:

        Thank you!

  41. Msta says:

    James, off topic but with teams restricted to testing only one car at the upcoming test sessions, which of the drivers will inherit the test car for the opening race and which get a new one out of the box. Alternatively does the test car get put aside with both drivers getting a new car to start the season proper?

    1. James Allen says:

      Great question. I’ll find out. Often the race chassis are numbers 2 & 3. Brawn did the whole 2009 season with only two cars plus a spare tub. That makes those cars two pretty – and Button’s in particular – very valuable!

      1. RickeeBoy says:

        and ….. this is the BGP001 which Jenson had to sue Mercedes to get back as it was in his Brawn contract to keep if he won the Championship …. Good on you Jenson – Naughty Mercedes.. you got caught out.

      2. Davexxx says:

        Thanks RickeeBoy for explaining; I’m sure it’s what James meant but I missed the point. Does anyone know where Jenson KEEPS the car? And, is it useable (Can he just take it for a spin?!), or would it need an army of team mechanics and a ton of computer-controlled machinery to start it up, as I believe most F1 cars need?

      3. K says:

        Someone correct me if I’m wrong, but as far as I know, the engine gets taken out of the car, so only the car bar the powerplant is delivered.

        Even IF the engine stays with the car, it’d need a starter thing shoved to the back of the car to start it up, which takes around an hour to warm up from what I heard on some F1-special programme on TV.

      4. Ade says:

        probably the best car on a budget in recent memory…

      5. Phil R says:

        Didn’t Rubens write off his chassis in his Quali crash in Singapore? Also one of the Brawn’s was turned into a Mercedes Demo car for Goodwood and other events. So it is possible there is only one left, presumably in a garage in Frome/The Channel Islands.

      6. K says:

        James, why did Merc / Brawn initially refused to deliver Jenson the car as promised as stated in his contract when they offered to build him another one, when they could delivery the car Jenson drove and build themselves another car for demo / museum display purposes since they have all the blueprints anyway?

  42. Rich C says:

    @ Tim ” …looking to the new Indy car with its boxed rear wheels with interest in the safety benefits?”

    No Tim.
    IndyCar is one of those ghastly ‘spec’ series that actually levels the playing field, and is run by those ghastly Americans on a ghastly mix of road/street/oval courses.
    F1, being the Pinnacle, would not deign to look at them for anything.

    1. DB4Tim says:

      OK I am an American and a few in our open wheel ranks destroyed our series fifteen years ago, one that was a very good series….but “ghastly”…please we are working hard to get it corrected in the face of horrible deaths and a struggling economy….we are still trying…we are not “ghastly Americans” nor any of the other things you called our series or us as humans.

      1. Rich C says:

        Apparently your sarcasm detector is malfunctioning, old chap.
        And just fyi don’t tell a soul but I, too, am one of those ghastly Americans.
        I was merely sending up the usual Euro attitude, which I learned from living there for years.
        And yes, Champ Cars were the best. At Indy, one driven by a Mr. A. Luyendyk still holds the absolute lap record of 239+ mph, at which speed of course an F1 car would come unhinged and start shedding movable aero bits.

  43. Heinzman says:

    Leave those yachts and come back to the paddock Byrney!!

  44. JohnBt says:

    ‘The car has been described as “ugly” by Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo’

    Goodness, I remember when the 2009 car was labled as ugly and somehow we got used to it, but not all of us though.

    Sure hope the ugly Ferrari can perform or else it will be another oh no from Nando, silently. Prost was sacked from the truck comment.

    1. K says:

      Yer for sure used to it now, but if you put any car pre-2009 I bet you’ll still find the old ones look a lot better.

      I still prefer the old ones from 1998 – 2008. Those older ones like MP4/4 still looks bloody awesome!

      1. JohnBt says:

        Totally agree with you.

  45. Micael says:

    Judging from the picture in this article, the Ferrari is very aerodynamic. So fast that you can barely catch it with the camera. Will be hard to follow F1 this season with the cars being this fast..

    (of course ironic in case you haven’t figured that out yet. hehe)

  46. Chris says:

    James, is this make or break year for Stefano Domenicali?

    1. Kevin Green says:

      I reckon Certainly Chris 2nd place absolute minimum in the drivers and constructors or he is out of there!

    2. Carlos Marques says:

      Good question, but just imagine what this will do for Italy’s image (and self-esteem) if they have to bring a “foreigner” to manage their team. If SD gets replaced (and I think he should), he will surely get replaced by another Italian; I can’t see Ferrari picking a cool-headed, no-nonsense Englishman and then watch him win championship after championship.

      A non-Italian would mean Italians are not good picks for any sort of management position (inclusing ship captains).

      1. K says:

        Nothing wrong with people not of Italian nationality steering the team to WDC / WCC. Todt is French, Bryne is South African and Brawn is of course English and they were all part of it to help Ferrari. Nobody cared what nationality they were.

  47. Sid says:

    James, slightly off topic but when the FIA bans things like the reactive suspension system suddenly, wont teams like Lotus, who innovated the system, be disadvantaged since they might have spent crucial development time behind it? Is this not unfair in the part of the FIA not to clarify the regulations clearly in the first place itself?

  48. Scuderia says:

    I hope that during the 2012 season, the Scuderia Ferrari will bounce back with his future car as Fernando Alonso might well not stay very long in Maranello : http://www.wallpapersf1.com/Ferrari?debut_articles=6&wallpaper=573

  49. Rob says:

    Hi James,

    You state that the exhaust exit “will be at the lower end of the range specified in the new rules, blowing across the bottom profile of the rear wing”, but I’ve read in various other sources that the exhaust is notable high. Could you possibly provide a bit more clarification on that?

    Many thanks.

    1. Rob says:

      That’s supposed to be “notably high”, by the way.

  50. Mayo says:

    UGLY is subjective dont you think?

    Bring on F1 2012!!!

    1. James Allen says:

      Ugly is the new black

  51. Antony Biondi says:

    James,

    What’s the word on the front and rear wings being an old spec?

    Is this because Ferrari haven’t finished developing them yet, or are they just keeping their cards close to their chests?

    1. K says:

      Always almost the latter I’d say (agreeing with JA), much like the double-diffuser years where all teams covered up the back of the cars, or in previous year where teams also unveiled their new cars with old parts. Nothing new really.

  52. Roo F1 says:

    James this is the first piece with ANY words about McLaren (or Red Bull) secret plan.

    Very interesting. Do you have any knowledge about where such a ‘leak’ (or any info basically) came out from?

    I’m also always wondering if McLaren’s experience with a year of sidepod uniqueness will help this year.

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