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Ferrari dolphin v. Williams anteater

2014-01-26 12:39

FRONT, BACK AND SIDE: Ferrari has opted for a still-low but flattened nose for its 2014 Formula 1 race cars. Perhaps better-looking than Williams' anteater snout. Images: AFP

ALAN BALDWIN

LONDON, England - Ferrari unveiled its eye-catching 2014 Formula 1 car on Saturday with Fernando Alonso hoping a fifth season with the team will be as good for him as it was for Michael Schumacher 14 years ago.

The F14 T car, its name chosen in a vote of more than a million fans, was launched on the team website ahead of pre-season testing that will start in Jerez, southern Spain, on January 29 2014.

GALLERY: Ferrari 2014 race cars

Its "broken nose" with its pronounced hump in the middle section before drooping wide and low, offered a different solution to rival offerings seen so far - more dolphin than anteater.

FIVE IN A ROW

If far from the most beautiful car produced by the most glamorous of teams, it need only be a winner to be loved after a difficult 2013 for Ferrari. Alonso felt the omens were good.

Schumacher, in the thoughts of everyone at Ferrari as he lies in a coma in a French hospital after a skiing fall, had to wait until his fifth year at Ferrari before he won his third title. He went on to win five in a row and become a seven-times champion.

Alonso, who won two championships with Renault, the team that twice crowned Schumacher when it was Benetton, said: "I'm in the fifth year now so I hope I can repeat some of the success he had. In the last four years we had some opportunities, especially in 2010 and 2012 when we were very close to winning the championship.

"This year we will try again and I hope this time will be the good one."

Now, 14 years on since Schumacher's breakthrough title for Ferrari in 2000, Alonso has his lucky 14 on the car. For 2014, drivers have been allowed to choose career-long racing numbers.

'TIME WILL TELL'

He will be paired with 2007 champion Kimi Raikkonen, returning to the team from Lotus with an eye on another crown. The Finn said it was good to be back and "the aim is the same".

"Time will tell but I'll be fighting for the biggest victory," said the 34-year-old, who missed the final two races of 2013 because of back surgery.

"Did I miss driving an F1? Not really," he said in typical deadpan fashion. "It was nice to have a break. I had to have a small operation done and didn't really have a choice. I wanted to be pain-free as possible for the coming season."

F1 is introducing a V6 turbocharged engine for 2014 with complex energy recovery systems that represent the biggest technical upheaval for at least a decade. Reliability, particularly early on, will be crucial. Team principal Stefano Domenicali said he was expecting the first days of testing to be challenging for all:

"The most important thing we have to avoid is to fall under the big pressure that we have. We need to stay very focused on the job."

MONTEZEMOLO 'CONFIDENT'

The team was third overall in 2013, behind winner Red Bull and Mercedes. Alonso was runner-up to Red Bull's quadruple champion Sebastian Vettel.

Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo said, in an address on the team website, he was confident the team had all the ingredients to be successful.

"Now is the time to win," he said.
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