After Mercedes’ theatrical launch at Silverstone, Ferrari rolled out its challenger online on Thursday afternoon, meaning that the three leading teams’ cars are now out in the open.
They will all now travel to Barcelona for testing starting on Monday, although conditions in Europe are set to be very cold in the next week and there is also some rain forecast which will make the testing of the new Pirelli tyre compounds quite challenging.
The Ferrari builds on the car that narrowly missed out on winning the world championship last season. The 2017 car was a huge step forward for Maranello with not only more wins than for many years, but also pole positions. This has been Ferrari’s Achilles heel for a while and certainly in the hybrid turbo era, as it was unable to match the high regime setting on the engine which Mercedes can access for extra power on the final qualifying runs.
Last season we saw Ferrari getting close to that and also finding a way to make the tyres work better than Mercedes in hot conditions and on tight tracks, especially the street circuits.
The Mercedes has maintained the same longer wheelbase and the Ferrari has also grown a little, if still not as long as the Mercedes.
The rear view mirrors are innovative, playing a clear aerodynamic role in what looks a very sleek car. The rear end of the car is also narrower and according to the technical chief Mattia Binotto there has been even more emphasis on the qualifying performance of the car both from a power init and packaging point of view.
Ferrari clearly feel emboldened by last season and feel that by developing what was already a good car they can go one better in 2018 and challenge Mercedes to the end.
There has been considerable push back from fans on the halo so far with the new cars launched and it has to be said that on the Ferrari it looks particularly bad, even though they have painted it red.
Motorsport fans always look to the launch of a new Ferrari F1 car and expect to see something beautiful to stir the soul, but this one will take some getting used to.