After spending the last few seasons playing catch-up to Red Bull and McLaren, Ferrari were under pressure to pull something special out of the bag for 2012. And after revolutionising the way they approach the design of their cars, the Italian team are certain the newly-launched F2012 is capable of returning them to their championship-winning heydays.
The Scuderia endured a miserable 2011, winning just one race and finishing the year 275 points behind eventual champions Red Bull and 122 behind long-time rivals McLaren. After much reflection, Ferrari decided their recent disappointments had been largely caused by their too-conventional design approach and have opted to be much more aggressive this year.
“The F2012 has a relatively small amount of ‘carry over’ when compared to previous cars,” explained chief designer Nikolas Tombazis after Friday’s launch of the new car. “We have actually reviewed almost the whole car.
“In previous years it’s clear our results have been disappointing so we have had to analyse the reasons for that and fundamentally change the philosophy behind the project. We have been too conservative in our approach and so have been much more aggressive this year.”
The F2012 certainly looks a lot different to its predecessor. It features heavily-redesigned sidepods, pull-rod suspension at the front as well as the rear, a stepped-nose, tapered rear bodywork and new exhaust exits.
“It’s a very different approach, both from a mechanical and an aerodynamic point of view,” explained Ferrari team principal Stefano Domenicali. “I will only be happy when I see that this car is competitive. There are a lot of expectations but we need to control that and make sure we stay focused.”
The new car will make its on-track debut next week at the opening winter test, which takes place over four days at Spain’s Jerez circuit from Tuesday.