FERRARI TARGETS TITLE PUSH
As F1 2016 launches, Ferrari takes new back to basics approach F1 LAUNCH SPECIAL
Ferrari team head Maurizio Arrivabene believes his squad is capable of taking the fight to Mercedes in this year’s Formula 1 World Championship with its new SF16-H challenger.
The Italian squad took the wraps off its 2016 machine at Maranello last week. Ferrari enters this year having fulfilled Arrivabene’s former target of achieving three grand prix wins last term. Star driver Sebastian Vettel finished third in the drivers’ table and Ferrari was second in the makes’ race.
Arrivabene said: “Normally I don’t set objectives. But last year’s objective was three wins and we got it, this year we have to push for more.
“It is going to be for the championship at least. We would like to fight until the end for the championship. We know it will not be easy, our competitors are not sleeping or looking at what we are doing, we are all committed to doing our best.
“We hope that this will be a winning car for us – it is the result of the commitment of many, many people. This year will be more difficult. We had little expectation last year after a bad season in 2014, but because last year was good the pressure is now on for us to deliver the kind of results the people expect from us.
“We are not going to the races this year to play. We are going to try and put the red and white car in front of everybody else. We have to be able to win when the game is at its most difficult.”
The SF16-T takes a more traditional design concept to that of its predecessors. After a disastrous 2014 campaign, Ferrari managed to turn things around last year with a revamp of its engine development. This year those changes have been backed up by a tried and tested chassis design.
The simplest change resides on the front suspension, which now reverts to a pushrod system, not the pullrod solution that Ferrari has pioneered over recent years.
Ferrari felt the more conventional system, which
places less load on front tyres, was now workable thanks to Pirelli’s progress on the durability of its tyre compounds. The old pullrod system aimed to get tyres into their operating temperature faster. The new system is instead focused on cleaning up the car’s frontal aero.
Ferrari has adopted the snub nose concept to maximise airflow under the chassis, aided by the sloping suspension struts slotting behind the wishbones and creating a clearer air channel. Below the nose are two turning vanes used to duct air around the chassis and the sidepods have been fitted with larger air intakes to aid cooling.
Ferrari has also altered its engine installation philosophy, raising the rear-mounted gearbox to improve airflow and also repositioning its ERS hardware further alongside the engine as opposed to behind it as in previous cars. The car also has repositioned and improved cooling systems.
Ferrari technical director James Allison said: “It’s a very bold car and it needs to be. For last year’s car we were working to improve a poor baseline from 2014 so we could make big steps being relatively conservative. The 2015 car was good, so we needed to take some bolder steps and be braver and work across the whole car aggressively to find the same increases in performance.
“In one way it’s fair to say this car is groundbreaking, but in truth it’s a mixture of brand new innovation and holding on to tried and true concepts. This year’s car has a high proportion of new and bold approaches and known designs.
“The entire project team has given its absolute best to make sure that every way we can put a competitive car on the ground for 2016 has been followed. We have improved across the board. All our hopes are in this car, and we can’t wait to see it on the track.”
The SF16-H also represents the first fresh design of car for Ferrari since the team’s technical upheaval at the start of 2015.
Following a mass cleanout of its technical team in 2014, Arrivabene was installed as team principal at the start of last year, along with chief designer Simone Resta and power unit director Mattia Binotto. Mercedes performance engineer Jock Clear will also join the team for this season.
Vettel says the chemistry within the team is right for this year: “I think the new car is a step forward for us, but perhaps more exciting is what it represents. Last year was a very good year as we had a big job to stabilise the team and get things back on track in terms of results.we had new staff come in and some move into new roles and it takes time to get them settled. This car is the first chance we have to see the results of those changes.
“We will try to raise the bar for this year, and you can already feel that when you walk around the factory. Everybody is fired up and the expectation is there. There is huge potential.”
Ferrari’s F1 challenger has been heavily reworked for 2016
Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen will handle the new SF16-H