Ferrari turns beast into beauty
NEW FERRARI FOR FERNANDO: Ferrari Formula 1 driver Fernando Alonso with the 2013 F138 race car at its unveiling in Maranello, Italy. Image: AFP
Author: ALAN BALDWIN
MARANELLO, Italy - Glamour team Ferrari took the wraps off its 2013 F138 Formula 1 car on Friday and set its sights on a winning start to the 2013 season after turning 2012's year's beast of a car into a beauty.
The broken stepped nose that drew shocked gasps when unveiled early in 2012 - some said it was the ugliest Ferrari yet - was smoothed over with a more flowing and aesthetically pleasing nose.
Looking fast and racing fast do not always go together - even ugly cars are loved when they become winners - but the signs were at least more promising ahead of the first test of the season in Jerez.
OFF THE PACE
"It is more beautiful," agreed team principal Stefano Domenicali after the wraps came off at the Maranello factory.
Ferrari was painfully off the pace at the start of 2012 but reliability and the prowess of Fernando Alonso kept the team in the chase, the Spaniard fighting for the title all the way to the wire in the last race in Brazil.
Watch the launch video
The double World champion, denied a third crown by Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel, told reporters that the Italian team could not afford to make the same mistake.
"There will be three teams who win all the races and we have to be one of those," said Alonso, who will miss the Jerez test to give himself more time to prepare physically and mentally for the battle to come.
2012 saw seven winners in the first seven races with six different teams triumphant over the season, but Alonso said that would not happen again.
"I think it was a one-off as a result of the regulation changes," he said. "Now, with things a bit more stabilised, we saw at the end of 2012 the top teams emerge. I think it will be highly unlikely we will have seven races and seven winners."
Champions Red Bull, Ferrari and McLaren were the top three teams in 2012 with McLaren winning the final race in Brazil.
The Ferrari's 138 designation derives from the year and the V8 engine, which will be replaced in F1 by a turbocharged V6 in 2014 after eight seasons of use.
Domenicali said the team, now using Toyota's wind tunnel in Cologne while the Maranello one is redesigned, had changed procedures to ensure it made the best start possible.
"Unfortunately in recent years," he said, "we have at the beginning of the (northern) winter unfortunately not been able to be right on top of what we are doing.
"We have already forgotten those things which left us with regret in 2012 and we have started improving on the positive aspects of 2012, such as reliability and strategy during the races."