Ferrari became the third team to unveil their 2013 Formula One charger this morning.
The famed Italian squad pulled the covers off of the F138 machine – an effort they hope will take them back to the top of the category.
Despite being ever present at or near the top of the standings, Ferrari have not enjoyed the easiest of paths in recent seasons.
Leading Spanish racer Fernando Alonso has twice come tantalisingly close to the Drivers’ crown with the Scuderia – in 2010 and 2012 – only to be denied on both occasions by Red Bull and Sebastian Vettel.
Yet Ferrari have not helped their cause by revealing cars that have too often been a long way behind the curve at season start. Alonso commented prior to Christmas that it may prove difficult to repeat his 2012 performance; such was the intensity of the campaign – an understandable statement after he somehow dragged three wins and ten podiums from the F2012.
Alonso’s superb talent, tenacity behind the wheel and driving force within the team has given the Tifosi some occasional cheer, but the need to play catch up with the leading pack is becoming a familiar tale.
The Spaniard has opted out of the opening test at Jerez, with teammate Felipe Massa and recently appointed reserve Pedro de la Rosa taking up testing and simulation duties; however Alonso seems far from worried.
“I will follow the tests with great interest and all the information that comes back from Jerez I will be looking at. In the next few weeks I will certainly be concentrating on preparing for the championship. I was busy in December and January, and up until a week ago we were involved in activities, so, it is right to step back and prepare a bit so I am 100 per cent from Australia to Brazil.” He continued “we are lucky in this team to have a real good level of trust between us. We trust each other explicitly. We have an extended team; we are not just one person.”
On the other side of the garage, Massa displayed a convincing turn in the second half of the season, following a dire opening segment. The Brazilian has currently notched up ten consecutive points finishes and at times toward the end of the year, was pushing Alonso hard.
Irrespective of his run, this will most likely prove to be Massa’s final year with the Scuderia as the Italian team look to the future. Should the equipment be there, it would not be inconceivable for Massa to finally claim that first win since his life-threatening accident in 2009.
However, one cannot help but feel that Ferrari – in one sense – lucked into their runner-up spot in the Constructors’ Championship last year.
During a campaign that saw the faster McLaren-Mercedes package repeatedly fail to finish and / or endure operation errors, Ferrari ploughed through races on the back of a stellar reliability record; all the while pulling together a reasonable development programme.
Indeed, Ferrari did not suffer a single mechanical ailment in a Grand Prix throughout the season and the recent appointment of Pedro de la Rosa as reserve and development driver may help steer the team in the right direction.
But last year, Ferrari were not good enough and the harsh glare that shun upon Team Principal Stefano Domenicali and Technical Director Pat Fry may only intensify if they struggle to deliver again.
According to Domenicali, “…the key objective that we must have is of immediately delivering a competitive car to our drivers. Unfortunately in recent years we have at the beginning of the winter unfortunately not been able to be right on top of what we are doing. We have tried to look at our organisation to be much more effective in the preparations over the coming week.”
Team Principal: Stefano Domenicali
Techical Director: Pat Fry
Chief Designer: Nicholas Tombazis
Operations Director: Mario Almondo
Head of Aerodynamics: Loïc Bigois
Head of Production: Corrado Lanzone
Head of Tyre Development: Hirohide Hamashima
Engine & Electronics Director: Luca Marmorini