Friday, 19 February 2016

This ACTUALLY IS the 2016 Ferrari Formula 1 Car!

2016 Ferrari SF16-H
Scuderia Ferrari just haven't got a clue, have they? When you "launch" the "new car" it's supposed to just be a drawn-out livery launch using an old car, ideally with an unfinished colour scheme on it and very few official pictures, if any. But noooo! They've only gone and revealed the 2016 SF16-H in full using multiple official images showing the car from various angles! Despicable... although they did at least have a faulty live stream.

Images from F1Fanatic
The first bit of news is that, following much speculation, the new car does indeed have a lot more white on it, and I quite like the graceful new look. Officially it's a bit of a '70s throwback to recall the cars driven by Niki Lauda (who ironically is now a big cheese at Mercedes...) but some out there reckon that Philip Morris - owner of Marlboro cigarettes - has asked for some kind of subtle subliminal influences to work around the strict ban on tobacco advertising. Hmm...

As for the bodywork itself, the big platypus nose of last year is gone in favour of something a lot more Williams-like. This much shorter nose changes the way the air flows through the car and is apparently better, which explains why nobody else had such a big floppy nose in 2015. The sidepods are also much tighter as a result of the hybrid power unit and its cooling systems being comprehensively overhauled to improve packaging and combustion (done by modifying the turbo, air inlet system and other stuff). Maybe McLaren-Honda's "size zero" philosophy isn't such a bad idea after all, eh?

In fact, the red car has been getting noticeably narrower at the tail year-on-year, as you can see here on here:

The other big change is in the front suspension. Since 2012 Ferrari have been using a "pullrod" system on its front suspension, which is essentially an upside-down version of the way all the other teams do it and was chosen to lower the centre of gravity at the front and be marginally smoother in compression. This year, it's been turned the right way up again to make it a "pushrod" system. Chief designer Simone Resta says of it that "the weight is better and it is a step forwards from last year," whatever that actually means.

Ferrari made a big, big jump between 2014 and '15, and I wouldn't bet against them being even closer to the all-conquering Silver Arrows this season. Four-time champ (and Race of Champions overall winner) Sebastian Vettel still has a decent-but-beatable Kimi Räikkönen as his team mate, while there are rumors that their reserve driver will be shared with the HAAS team, who have a close partnership with the Scuderia. So far in this new V6 Hybrid era of Formula 1, Mercedes have won all-but-three races in both seasons. In 2014 it was Daniel Ricciardo that spoiled their party and last year it was a reinvigorated Vettel. Whether more wins are possible this year remains to be seen. Hopefully it won't just be another year of waiting for Mercedes to drop the ball...