FER­RARI F1-2000

F1 Racing (UK) - - THE CHAMPION CARS - 2000

Ever since Enzo Fer­rari’s death in 1988, the team he founded had been in a state of chaos. Luca di Mon­teze­molo’s de­ci­sion to hire Jean Todt to run the team in 1993 took six years to pay div­i­dends, such was the mag­ni­tude of the task, but pay off it did, with the con­struc­tors’ ti­tle in 1999 and the dou­ble in 2000.

Backed by di Mon­teze­molo, Todt over­came re­sis­tance as he trans­formed the team, one day com­ing home to find bur­glars had de­posited a bro­ken pair of scis­sors on his pil­low. When he joined Fer­rari, chas­sis de­signs were faxed over a page at a time from John Barnard’s of­fice near Guild­ford in the UK. By 1997 Todt had poached the star driver and the chief tech­ni­cal ar­chi­tects of Benet­ton’s mid-1990s suc­cess – Michael Schu­macher, Ross Brawn and Rory Byrne – but there was still work to be done. Fer­rari didn’t even have a wind­tun­nel on site, and tum­ble­weed was blow­ing through the de­sign of­fice.

With Byrne in­stalled as chief de­signer and Brawn as tech­ni­cal di­rec­tor, Fer­rari’s form im­proved to the ex­tent that Schu­macher could have chal­lenged for the driv­ers’ ti­tle in 1999 had he not bro­ken his leg at Sil­ver­stone. In dif­fer­ent cir­cum­stances, the tech­ni­cal team would have cho­sen to evolve their al­ready com­pet­i­tive of­fer­ing for the next sea­son, but with the re­cently com­pleted Maranello wind­tun­nel com­mis­sioned and ready, they went for a clean sheet.

As Brawn said: “With the aero­dy­nam­ics I think we have a very good fa­cil­ity here and a very good group of peo­ple, so nor­mally when they say some­thing is bet­ter, it is bet­ter. We don’t get any sur­prises th­ese days from the wind­tun­nel.”

The F1-2000 was brand new, as was its V10 en­gine, a wider unit than be­fore to pro­mote a lower cen­tre of grav­ity. The outer skin fol­lowed some de­sign philoso­phies of 1999, but in­side it was very dif­fer­ent. The chas­sis ben­e­fit­ted from a closer tie-up with par­ent com­pany Fiat’s ve­hi­cle dy­nam­ics re­search cen­tre in Turin.

Schu­macher and his new team-mate, Rubens Bar­richello, could now take the fight to Mclaren more reg­u­larly, and Schu­macher won the first three races of the sea­son. Mclaren, for their part, suf­fered poor re­li­a­bil­ity. The F1-2000 had its flaws – the rear sus­pen­sion was too flex­i­ble, stress­ing the tyres, and the en­gine some­times ran too hot – but Brawn and Schu­macher could stitch up their ri­vals strate­gi­cally even when rac­ing on the prover­bial back foot. Car­bon-fi­bre com­pos­ite mono­coque Dou­ble wish­bones, pushrod-ac­ti­vated tor­sion arms, front and rear Fer­rari Type 049 V10 2,997cc 770bhp Fer­rari 7-speed semi-au­to­matic 600kg 3,010mm Bridge­stone Michael Schu­macher, Rubens Bar­richello Rory Byrne

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