Ferrari unveil the F150 which they hope will give Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa the chance to fight for victory in the 2011 season.
Ferrari unveils the 2011 contender car
Ferrari unveiled its new car for the upcoming Formula One season Friday, and Fernando Alonso says he's hopeful it will help him make amends for the disappointing end to the 2010 championship.
The Italian team is the first F1 outfit to show off its 2011 car, naming it the F150 in celebration of the 150th anniversary of Italy's unification.
The car features a new adjustable rear wing and has been modified for the use of the KERS system, which was banned last year but returns in 2011. "F150 was created with a simple aim," team principal Stefano Domenicali said.
"Our goal is to win the championships. We know it won't be easy, but that is definitely want we are aiming for."
Alonso came agonizingly close to achieving that aim last year, when he had a chance to clinch the title at each of the last two races. But he first failed in Brazil and was then overtaken by Sebastian Vettel after a failed pit stop strategy by Ferrari in Abu Dhabi.
Going into his second season with Ferrari, the two-time F1 champion said he's feeling more comfortable with his surroundings. "I think I know the team better now and I feel far more integrated into the team," Alonso said Friday. "The development through 2010 was crucial to the new car.
"I'm feeling very motivated. 2010 was an interesting year for me. It was my first with Ferrari and I enjoyed the atmosphere. 2011 will be an important year with a new challenge after changes to the rules. We have to commit to everything we do and I think we are up to the challenge."
Ferrari finished the constructors championship in third place behind Red Bull and McLaren. It was also embroiled in controversy when it was accused of using team orders during the German Grand Prix.
The team was fined $100,000 after an official was heard telling Felipe Massa – who was leading the race ahead of Alonso – that his teammate had the fastest car. That was interpreted as an order to let Alonso pass, since he had a better chance to win the championship title.
Massa is going into his sixth season for Ferrari, but hasn't won a Grand Prix since 2008. "Our two drivers are a good team and want to prove their worth," Domenicali said.
"This year will be as difficult as 2010 if not more because I expect more teams to challenge in more races and I certainly believe that the title will come down to the last lap of the last race."
The Formula One season begins on March 13 in Bahrain and concludes after 20 races on November 27 in Brazil.
Meanwhile, McLaren-Mercedes have announced an engineering reshuffle among their ranks with Paddy Lowe promoted to fill the vacant role of technical director at the British team.
Lowe was previously engineering director, a position now given to Tim Goss, the chief engineer. Neil Oatley remains director of design and development programmes. The three have a combined 62 years of service at McLaren.
Lowe said he and Goss would alternate their attendances at races, with the season now extending to a record 20 rounds for the 2011 campaign.
"It's very important to have senior technical management at the racetrack, because that's where you score the points, but, equally, if you spend all your time away then you risk overlooking some of the hard work that happens back at the factory," he said.
The team, who will unveil their new car in Berlin next week with drivers Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button, are looking to improve on their second-place finish in last season's constructors' championship, while Hamilton and Button finished fourth and fifth respectively in the drivers' title race.