Ferrari today launched their new 2009 Formula One car – the F60 – in celebration of the 60th anniversary of the F1 championships and the fact that they are the only team to have been involved since its inception
Presenting a car which commemorates this historic milestone, Ferrari team boss Stefano Domenicali underlined the significance of the car’s name at the Mugello race track.
“We wanted to celebrate the fact that Ferrari is the only team to have always been in the World Championships,” he said.
“The history of Formula One is twinned with the history of Ferrari.
“This is why we need to support Formula One in this difficult situation, and Formula One needs to come out of this strengthened and not weakened.”
Formula One is entering a new era with cost-cutting measures and rule changes defining the landscape of motor sport and, because of Ferrari’s historical involvement, they aim to play a leading role in moulding the sport’s future.
“This is a very significant moment as we are giving a very strong input on how the future of Formula One should be,” continued Domenicali.
“What we are aiming for is the common good.
“The unity among teams that we have seen in recent months is unprecedented, but totally necessary. We live from and for Formula One so compromises have got to be made.
“We know we are standing before a very challenging season and one which will be very stimulating in every sense, from the political to the technical.”
The 2009 season will mark the introduction of a kinetic energy recovery system (Kers), designed to give cars an optional energy boost.
Ferrari today tested their Kers system for the first time on the Mugello race track, and Domenicali admitted even he was still in the dark about what advantages – if any – it may bring.
However, he confirmed that Ferrari would try to win the “technological battle” to get the most out of the new system, even if he still has reservations about the inherent “contradiction” in introducing an expensive new system while trying to reduce costs.
“If Kers can really be beneficially in certain situations, then we really have to exploit it,” he said.
The new season also sees the return to slick tyres and, with Ferrari employing Michael Schumacher and Luca Badoer – two drivers with experience of driving on slicks – the Scuderia can also count on the advantage of their expertise.
Aerodynamic changes designed to make the sport more appealing have been agreed by the Overtaking Working Group (OWG), substantially altering the front wing of all cars.
“Drivers will have to get used to it because the dimensions are different, so perhaps the drivers could have a bigger impact [than they have now],” claimed Domenicali.
“We have got to understand the best way of dealing with them (the changes).”
Trying to reduce the aspect of human error is another challenge facing the Ferrari team next season.
Avoidable incidents in the pit lane may well have cost Ferrari the drivers’ championship last season and Domenicali is keen to stamp this out in 2009.
“We must try to improve the areas where last year we were not 100%,” he admitted.
“We have strengthened our mechanical team and we need to try to stimulate people and keep our concentration. Obviously we have to try to improve our procedures.
“Our top priority is reliability because that is what let us down last year. That also includes procedural reliability, although we cannot guarantee that human errors can be totally eliminated.
“In a way, that is what gives Formula One its human side. It is impossible to think that drivers cannot make errors.
“But to work on this is part of being number one at all levels.”
Domenicali concluded by ruling out the possibility of Honda – who sent shockwaves through the sport by pulling out of F1 last month due to the global economic crisis – receiving Ferrari engines in 2009.
“The percentage (chance) of us giving them our engines is very close to zero,” he said.