FERRARI'S F2007: 'Nothing's changed'
By: Jeremy McMullen
By: Jeremy McMullen
| Ferrari effectively said to the world, 'What's the big deal?' Despite no Michael Schumacher, his ninety race wins, nor his seven driver's championships, the official car launch had the appearance of an informal meeting rather than a ceremony hosted by a team supposedly in transition. Ferrari's car launch on January 14th seemed to say loud and clear, 'Nothing's changed'. And yet, a lot has.
Besides not seeing Michael Schumacher clad in a Ferrari red driver's suit, the low-key ceremony this past weekend at Ferrari's home base in Maranello was also void of something else—the car. Jean Todt, now overall CEO, introduced the F2007's specs and drivers Felipe Massa and Kimi Raikkonen. The car, in fact, did not debut to the public, sort of, until the next day at Ferrari's Fiorano track. The team did release some photos of the F2007 before the test and first impressions were that it was just the 248 of a year ago only now branded with a different identifier. However, upon further inspection, the new car's design boasts of many changes and refinements and is, in all practicality, a brand new machine.
One of the interesting things about this year's Ferrari entrant is that it is rather void of some of the aerodynamic tweaks other teams seem to be jumping to employ on their cars. As an example, the F2007 maintains a center pillar design instead of abandoning the design in favor of a pillar-less design. The cascading front wing design, developed for the 248 last year and a variation of Renault's original concept, remains on the new car. The F2007 keeps the same mirror set-up as last year's where they are placed further out on the sidepod instead of nearer the cockpit. Also, this year's Ferrari employs the controversial rear-wheel aero shrouds that Ferrari claims aids in rear brake cooling and not aerodynamic efficiency. Finally, the F2007 retains the full width wing profile attached at the back of the engine cowling that has been in use now for the last few years. Of the things that changed, the Scuderia F2007's overall appearance is the biggest. In comparison with its predecessors, the F2007 is red, definitely red. With Vodafone gone and tobacco advertising under fire, the usual sponsorship branding is gone. Therefore, the Ferrari red really stands out. Marlboro does, however, remain on the car but in a much more subliminal way.
As to the design changes on this year's F2007, they're found in the details. The overall length of the Ferrari's wheelbase has been increased over the 248. The front suspension has been refined much to the delight of Ferrari's engineers. Ferrari boasts that these changes to the front suspension could yield such great gains aerodynamically that it will be evaluated throughout the year to determine whether the same changes will be made to the rear suspension.
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