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Ferrari emphasize the old, while unveiling the new
Ferrari emphasize the old, while unveiling the new
Posted By:   |  12 Jan 2009   |  3:35 pm GMT  |  20 comments

Full marks to Ferrari for getting their 2009 car out first, especially as they were fighting for the world championship until the final round last season.

So dramatic are the rule changes this year – the biggest for a generation – everything is new with these cars and it’s hard to make many judgments based on what we see at the launch. Technical boss Aldo Costa says that it is a completely new car, a clean sheet of paper, but I’m sure much of the DNA which has run through the ultra successful generation of Ferrari cars since 1999 is there.

It’s a nice touch that Ferrari has called the car the F60, to underline the fact that the team is the only one to have taken part in every one of the 60 years of world championships. But it also indicates the degree to which the company feels it is intrinsically linked to the sport, that their heritage and F1’s are one and the same. There is more to this than meets the eye. The sport is at a historical turning point and team principal Stefano Domenicali underlined that Ferrari is playing a key role in the shaping of the sport for the future; he is referring to the recent developments with FOTA.

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john g
[Quote]:”good drivers can do anything without abs that they could do with it.” [/Quote]

Sorry this is simply not true. ABS dramatically changes the handling and adhesion characteristics under severe braking far beyond any human capability. The nearest a driver can get to emulating this is cadence braking, but at racing speeds this is maybe 20-50 times too slow.

I see that we shall never agree, but hope that one day F1 will allow ABS. and you will see the difference. A great pity the OWG did not include it this year.

I wish you ATB


the drivers can carry braking into the corners at the moment by careful modulation of the brake pressure and by intuition and feel. the drivers will better skill therefore can carry more speed through the corners by virtue of higher speeds, better stability etc.

good drivers can do anything without abs that they could do with it. bad drivers rely on aids to make up for their defficiencies.

you need to be able to pressure someone into locking up a wheel and going wide, or being braver in the confidence of your ability to brake more effectively than the other guy. ABS will remove all of this.


John g
I don’t agree, that ABS is the same as all other driver aids.

Sure the driver will stamp on the pedal , but the difference is he can carry on steering into the bend without loosing static contact. It still relies on driver skill to use that extra grip in driving round the corner in a useful manner.

Ok, you are taught to brake in a straight line, off the brake and have the suspension un loaded/neutral at the turn in point, but in practice after a while you develop into trail braking right into the corner while you turn in, both inducing understeer as you almost lock the front and lightening the rear end which threatens oversteer, hopefully cancelling each other out.

ABS will allow you overtake later on the outside raise lap times for the more skillful.


abs like all other driver aids only make you as good as the car. to really differentiate driver skill, these aids need to be absent from racing cars. the ability of a driver to feel the optimal point of locking a wheel into a corner and acheiving the maximum braking , especially under pressure or pressuring the car in front, is essential for the best racing.

introduce abs and the driver just stamps on the pedal and the car sorts itself out – once they have learned the latest braking point for each corner it’s exactly the same for each driver and there is then no opporunity to overtake


John g
Why ABS? Because it could make a huge difference to overtaking into/around bends, it would move the braking point nearer the turning in point or indeed further past it and create opportunities. I agree that traction control was pretty horrible and gave an advantage to those with more power.

Yes I am sure they tried the effects of the new aero in the wind tunnel, if not on the track using two cars; the idea was a lot more than aiming for the gap, the rear downforce is less and therefore it must create less turbulence behind it (at the same air speed), thus following cars front aero will work better


rpaco – everyone cheered the loss of traction control, why on earth do you want ABS!?

the cars are ugly, although the ferrari at least looks a lot better than the interim BMW that we saw over the winter – i hope they manage to improve that thing! overall i think it’s overly simplistic to align the rear wing to the gap in the front wing and expect that this will cure the problem of following another car. did any teams actually do testing of following another car (’09 spec) over the winter, and what was the verdict? i’ve certainly not heard much positive in whether or not this will help with overtaking?


Hmm, good point about the nose being so low…


Thanks for the reply James.

Yes, having seen pictures of Massa testing the new F60, I saw that he had a huge 3 on the nose cone. So yes we see, as the official entry list says different. But as ‘rpaco’ says above, of course its not overly important and it wont make the car go faster, but I still do think that Massa deserves some recognition for his performance last season over Kimi’s rather lackluster season. But yes maybe it is just down to who has the biggest pay packet!!!


I agree that they will look good, but with the front end so low, the first kerb will destroy a great many noses/ front aero assemblies. They are going to hit the kerb before the wheel starts to lift, the body. Suspension travel will be shorter, thus harder. More tiring, more bad backs, almost back to the ground effect days? But thank goodness for the slicks at last. Just add ABS now.


Hi James,

I have to say that i completley disagree with the wildly held view that this year’s tech changes has breed, or will, a grid of ugly cars this year.

I think this cars are best looking for year’s, probably not since the early to mid 90’s have i seen thses cars that the hairs on the back of my neck stand on end.

They look like proper racing cars, and can’t you just imagin them on full opposite lock, mid power slide, with all the drivers skill in keeping it on the black stuff employed!

This no better advert for the sport than the sport itself, and the drama it can create!


JA writes: Well he’s certainly number one for me. I followed him as a kid when he was in Formula Ford etc and then when I made it to F1 in 1990 I met him and worked with him and he was totally unique, hugely charismatic, very intense.

As to whether he’s the best, it’s so hard to judge. He raised the bar, but then Schumacher raised it again, so how can you tell?

I think there’s a bit of the James Dean syndrome, whereby he’s idolised because he’s dead. People forget he did some pretty naughty things when he couldn’t stand the idea of anyone else winning… read my recent biography of Schumacher and you’ll find a whole section about Senna and his influence on Schumacher.


Also in answer to Malcom’s question;
Does it matter? I have often looked in vain for any sign of the number on the cars and at one time thought the regs had been changed so that it was no longer required.

The most memorable number was of course red five! Which Il lione carried for several years.

Yes Senna was the greatest, (although I would have loved to see Senna and Schumi in the same team) but my best memory is of whilst working at Brands Hatch watching Mansell qualifying. Because I used to go to the race school there, (back in the days of Tony Lanfranchi’s control) I knew all the turning in points, apexes and exits and was absolutely thrilled as I lived it with him absolutely on the edge, over the “Indy” part of the track that I could see, dodging the burning Ferraris. Sadly my own efforts were halted at my limit of a 1:04 lap (Indy) which I could not improve upon in the school’s XR3i (3 gears only allowed) in spite of tuition by many out of work BTCC drivers and so never graduated.


James: I think Ayrton Senna was the best F1 driver of all time. And the most charismatic. Do you agree?


JA writes: In answer to Malcolm’s question, I’m told that Massa will be number three and Kimi number four…


You are right mike.
What i really want to see is a decrease in ticket prices.
i am ready to go and watch a race live. because in the schumacher years i did not see any. To tell you the truth it was a rip-off.
In the 1980`s, you got much better show for your money.
If they reduce the ticket prices, i would say the good old times are back!!! Back the race tracks can not do it, until they get rid of eclestone.
Right now bernie is the real evil, for f1 fans.


Hi James,

Another interesting article, a question I have from the launch and the FIA publishing the entry list is; why is Kimi no. 3 and Massa no.4, when Massa finished higher in the championship last season? Who made this choice because it seems to already show who Ferrari think is their main driver this year and scant reward for Massa’s efforts last year?


Instead there is an intricate battle, which will be one of the most interesting features of the 2009 campaign.

I wonder if it will be an interesting battle or if they will just do their own thing as they have done this year. Even if they are both competitive, I can’t see any more interaction between them than we’ve seen of late.


Go Luca! The time when F1 interests and Ecclestone interests were aligned is gone.

Max says everyone needs to tighten their belts but that doesn’t seem to include limiting the cost of hosting a race! The race organizers are as much hit by a sponsorship crunch as the teams. Also, there’s no way that European and N. American governments are going to pump money into events when it appears to the public that a significant portion of that taxpayers’ money is being passed on to one of the richest people on the planet.

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