Ferrari has unveiled their 2014 challenger, the F14 T.
The F14-T which was named by a fan vote and will be raced by what is arguably the strongest driver line-up on the 2014 grid – Fernando Alonso and Kimi Raikkonen, and features a far wider nose tip than we’ve seen in the cars launched so far.
The F14-T will be debuted by Raikkonen at Jerez on Tuesday and Wednesday, before he hands over testing duties to Fernando Alonso for the remaining two days.
The rear of the car seems very tightly packaged around the new turbo engine but due to the ‘anteater’, ‘bull’ and ‘tusk’ noses that have preceded the launch of the F14-T, all eyes are on the nose of the new Ferrari which features a far flatter design than those preceding it.
Ferrari said in a statement that the new regulations presented designers with a real challenge to repackage the front suspension into a much lower monocoque.
“The front wing is regulated to be 75mm narrower per side in order to make it less vulnerable to collisions with other cars and with the barriers,” their launch statement said. “This change, perhaps one of the less noticeable visual differences to the 2013 cars, has a profound effect on the aerodynamics of the vehicle.
“The front wings used since 2009 have all featured elaborate measures to encourage the wake of the front wing endplates to pass around the outside of the front tyres in order to maximize the downforce on the car. An innocent change of just 75mm to the position of the wing tip has required us to reinvent completely the front wing aerodynamics for 2014.”
Ferrari team principal Stefano Domenicali said that the new additions to the technical team and the upgrades to the wind tunnel – which is now operational at Maranello – have been crucial for Ferrari to make a step forward.
“In the last couple of years the changes and investment we have made in Formula One has been very important and significant,” Domenicali said. “Some have been spectacular in terms of names that were in the Formula One world and some others less, but nevertheless the changes were very important.
“Not only the organisation of the people, but also investment in the new windtunnel and tools of the simulation that are really important to make sure all the group of engineers can make the difference.”
The F14-T retains Ferrari’s pullrod front suspension concept in the new design and the new car is the first that will have been influenced by Ferrari’s new technical chief James Allison, who arrived late last season after switching from Lotus.
Ferrari is clearly hoping that the F14-T will have what it takes to finally bring home the championship that has been snatched away by Red Bull for the last few years. The 2013 season saw Fernando Alonso coming super close to clinching the title but just not having the car to make it happen. He compared his experience of not winning the title in his first four seasons with Ferrari to that of Michael Schumacher, who finally won his first championship with the Scuderia in his fifth season with the team.
Alonso said, “I think Schumacher won in the fifth year with Ferrari. I’m in the fifth year now so hopefully I can repeat some of the success that he had. Obviously in the last four years we had some opportunities, especially in 2010, 2012, we were very, very close to winning the championship. So this year we’ll try again and hopefully this time will be the good one.”
Alonso also believes that his partnership with incoming Kimi Raikkonen will be formidable saying, “I think [with] Kimi and me as a team we should be quite strong because we’ve had some success in the past in our Formula 1 career.”
Coincidentally, Raikkonen is the last driver to have won a title for Ferrari, in 2007 but he was sent packing to make way for Alonso.
Raikkonen is very positive about the F14-T and his return to Ferrari. “It is nice to come back to Ferrari, the place I won my championship,” he said. “The aim is the same. We want to do the best I can, try to win races and championships.”