JANUARY 15, 2007
Inside the new Ferrari F2007
Scuderia Ferrari (significantly no longer Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro) kicked off the new season with the launch of its new car, codenamed the 658 within Ferrari, but racing as the F2007. Rather than unveiling the car the team issued only a few carefully-chosen photographs, notably nothing from the rear end, presumably because there are aerodynamic solutions that the team is keen to keep under wraps for as long as possible. In the modern world of F1 new ideas are quickly in rival windtunnels and on the cars and so every day that secret is kept is a day in which the team has an advantage. Given the fact that some of the teams intend to have new aero packages before the start of the year, the launches are really only of commercial interest as the chassis are not only very similar to one another but also not necessarily the cars that will be raced.
According to the team the new car is significantly different to the 248 F1. The design was revised to accommodate a new front suspension that represents a major conceptual innovation, mainly in terms of aerodynamics. The shape of the side-pods and their openings are also revised, based on modifications to the cooling system, which also implies exits for the radiators on the upper part of the bodywork, while the engine air intake is also substantially different. The car has a longer wheelbase than its predecessor. The rear of the car is much narrower, taking advantage of the more sculpted shape of the gearbox housing, which again this year is made from carbon fibre. The gearbox itself, which is still mounted longitudinally, is fitted with an innovative quick-shift system (seven gears plus reverse). The rear suspension is similar to that on the 248 F1, but the teams says that it is planning a significant development programme based on knowledge that has been gained working with the 2007 tyres.
The car features no tobacco branding although the white lines where Marlboro used to be are, no doubt, intended to maintain the image built up since the team's Marlboro sponsorship began. Vodafone has been replaced by Alice, the Italian broadband company.
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