More Whistles, Fewer Bells: Ferrari Premieres 2008 F1 Racecar

Anyone doubting Formula One's temperance movement has legs need only cast their F1-geek eyes on the latest Constructors' champ's entry for the aught eight season. Yesterday, Ferrari's F2008 car became the first showing among new cars that must comply with the latest technology prohibition by Formula One's own Robin Hood, Bernie Ecclestone and his "Merry Man" Max Mosley. They've robbed from the rich and given unto the lowest common demoninator, standardizing engine computing and banning most driver aids. All that, they say, to force F1 to be more of a drivers' contest. This is just an intermission, however; the next wave of development will start before next decade. But first, there's the whole matter of giving up some of drivers' favorite toys.

Topping the no-use list for 2008 are traction control, launch control and engine braking. A standard ECU developed by Microsoft and rival McLaren now control most functions. The new box manages the entire drivetrain, including gearbox — which now must last four consecutive races — and differential. The leaves aerodynamics as the major area for tweakage, and Ferrari's reconfigured its '08 car, vowed to make more changes in time for the Australian Grand Prix in March, and says it will keep tweaking all season. Between 2009 and 2011, the greening will accelerate, with a range of fuel-efficiency tech set to go online, starting with brake-energy recovery systems, moving to the reuse of exhaust gases to propel the car and a return to turbocharging to reduce engine speeds. All that, Ecclestone and Mosley tout, will bring F1's development direction back in line with that of passenger cars. Bah. We'd rather see F1 more unfettered — you know, biodiesel-powered turbine cars producing 20,000 hp, with aero kits creating downforce enough to suck low-earth satellites out of orbit. No sleep till 500 mph on the straights!

Press Release:

F2008: Description and technical specifications

Maranello, 6th January 2008 - The F2008 is the fifty fourth single-seater built by Ferrari specifically to take part in the Formula 1 World Championship.

The design, codenamed internally as the 659, represents the Scuderia's interpretation of the regulations in force in 2008. A major new element of these is the introduction of a new electronic system to be used by all teams, known as SECU (Standard Electronic Control Unit) and produced by MES (McLaren Electronic Systems.) It consists of a single control unit and a software system, the development of which ends as the season begins. Other areas affected by rule changes are: gearbox, which must be used for four consecutive events; safety, with the introduction of higher side protection around the driver's helmet; materials, with a limit to the type of composites that can be used. As a result of these rules, there has been an increase in the weight of the car. All aerodynamic surfaces have been completely revised, however the current version will be replaced by a completely different configuration in time for the first race. In fact, an intensive and all encompassing development programme is planned to run throughout the season. The monococque has been further cut away under the driver's legs and the side pods and engine cover are more tapered. The suspension system has been reworked and developed around the new aerodynamics.

The wheelbase and weight distribution have been adapted to meet the challenge of the new regulations and on the basis of lessons learned last year in terms of the performance of the Bridgestone tyres. Changes to the technical and sporting regulations in terms of electronics, alongside the introduction of the SECU, have led to the removal of a host of a driver aids, such as traction control and engine breaking and the electronically assisted starting system, and also mean that management of the differential, engine and gearchange are much simpler. The gearbox casing is produced in carbon, while the transmission continues to be mounted longitudinally. For the second consecutive year the gearchange is fitted with a quick shift system, adapted to the SECU software and further speeded up. In dealing with the reliability aspect of the new regulations, Shell has played a key role in defining the lubricants for the gearbox. The braking system has been updated with new calipers and innovative concepts regarding cooling.

The 056 engine is mounted longitudinally and continues as a load bearing element. Its basic structure remains unchanged compared to the unit homologated at the start of last season, while its auxiliary systems, air and fuel intakes have been further developed. The technical regulations also call for the use of fuel corresponding to European Union norms, with a content of components derived from biological sources equal to 5.75%. As usual, during the design and development stages of the entire car, our technical partners played an important role. Apart from previously mentioned significant input from Shell , also worthy of note is the contribution of the Fiat Research Centre, especially in providing simulation systems and Brembo for its work in developing the braking system. As is now traditional, a great deal of attention was paid to the performance and optimising of the materials used at the design stage and through quality control, striving to maximise performance levels while attaining the highest possible safety standards.

TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS

Chassis: Carbon-fibre and honeycomb
composite structure

Ferrari longitudinal gearbox
Limited-slip differential

Semiautomatic sequential
electronically controlled gearbox
quick-shift

Number of gears: 7 + Reverse

Ventiled carbon-fibre
disc brakes
Independent suspension,
push-rod activated torsion
springs front and rear

Weight (with water, lubricant and driver): 605 kg

BBS Wheels (front and rear): 13''

Engine

Type: 056

Number of cylinders: 8

Cylinder block in cast
aluminium: V 90°

Number of valves: 32

Pneumatic distribution

Total displacement: 2398 cm3

Piston bore: 98 mm

Weight: >95 kg

Magneti Marelli digital electronic injection

Magneti Marelli static
electronic ignition

Fuel: Shell V-Power ULG 64

Lubrcant: Shell SL-1098