Get ready for Formula One fever! Ferrari has kicked off the forthcoming season by being the first team to pull the wraps of its 2009 grand prix challenger.
Called the F60, the all-new car gives fans their first look at how this year’s F1 racers will look, following a raft of radical new regulations that are intended to lower costs and increase overtaking.
The aerodynamic changes are most notable. These should result in less downforce, lower lap times and greater opportunities for cars to overtake each other. At the front is a wider and simpler front wing design, while at the rear the set-up is taller and narrower. Look down the sides of the car, and you’ll notice that the large barge boards and smaller winglets seen on 2008 cars, which were designed to smooth airflow over the bodywork, have been removed.
Another major change is the return of slick tyres. These were last seen in 1997, before grooved rubber was made mandatory the following year.
Under the skin, the F60 makes use of a hi-tech Kinetic Energy Recovery System (KERS) that has been jointly developed with Italian electronics giant Magneti Marelli. All of the teams are developing their own versions of KERS. The system stores energy under braking, which drivers canthen release for a short burst of extra pace when overtaking.
Last year’s championship runner-up Felipe Massa was the first driver to get behind the wheel of the F60,
successfully completing a small number of laps in chilly conditions at the Mugello track in northern Italy. The Brazilian announced: “I am happy and excited to have taken the new Ferrari out for its first ride.”
Later this week, arch rival McLaren will unveil its 2009 challenger – as will Toyota, which is hoping to score its debut race win this year. Contenders from Renault, Williams and BMW Sauber will also appear in the next few days. Remeber to check out www.autoexpress.co.uk for first pictures and all the details.