Scuderia Ferrari launched its SF15-T, which team principal Maurizio Arrivabene describes as "sexy." Somehow they've managed to make sharp looking vents and gills look incredibly sexy, indeed. And look, an Alfa Romeo logo on a Ferrari!
While we've all been giggling about the car being the "S-FIST," Ferrari managed to sneak a really beautiful design into production. There's no silly thumb nose like many others have this year, and no ungainly lumps and baubles. Even the cheese-grater-like rear end looks fantastic.
"Enzo Ferrari said a long time ago that the best car is the winning car," explains Arrivabene in a video interview for the launch. "Last year, we had an ugly car, and it was a non-winning car on top of this. I like the car this year, in terms of aesthetics, I don't know about its performance, but it's really sexy."
Driver and thoughtful Kimi Raikkonen agrees, saying in his interview:
It looks nice. I mean, it looks different than last year's car. From all the details, at least it looks good, and usually when it looks good, it should be a pretty good car, but obviously we have to wait until testing and see how it is. First impression is good.
We're talking about sexiness in the same discussion as fist jokes and cheese graters. You know what? I'm okay with that. Look at this car. Look at it!
Arrivabene hopes that the new car will reignite the passion Scuderia Ferrari is known for. Perhaps the loads of new hires on the team will help, too. Clean house, and release a great new car. Sounds like a good strategy to me.
"We've changed a lot internally to Ferrari in terms of our groups and departments," explained Mattia Binotto, as quoted by Motorsport.com. "People have changed; the organization has been changed, and we're really focused in order to be prepared for the start of the season."
Team technical director James Allison says that they must address the "unacceptably large gap in performance" in his video interview on the car. We couldn't agree more. With superstar talent in Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen, the team needs to do better than it has been doing.
"We've tried to make sure the weaknesses we felt were particularly notable on the '14 car were put right for the '15 car," Allison explains. Tighter packaging, particularly at the rear, was a big part of this. Allison continues:
That's been done through a lot of work not just in the wind tunnel but also in the design heart of the company to try and find radiator designs that were fundamentally more efficient. So for every square centimeter of radiator we're able to extract more cooling this year than last and therefore able to close the car down at the back significantly.
In short, this car promises to be prettier and more functional.
Speaking of aerodynamics, Ferrari is keeping its occasionally maligned pull-rod suspension design. Allison explains why:
Every year you set out which areas of the car you think you should put your effort into to try and improve them. These are decisions that need to be taken quite carefully because when you make a choice of working on one part of the car, because you don't have infinite resources, you're effectively making a choice not to work on the other part of the car.
So, when you decide what to work on you have to pick quite carefully the things that you think are going to bring the maximum amount of return for your effort. And push-rod, pull-rod on the front, it has pros and cons either side.
A pull-rod is probably harder to get light and stiff, but it's probably a bit easier to get an aerodynamic performance from it. So, it's swings and roundabouts. It was an area of the car that was something that wasn't felt to be a problem on last year's car and therefore not an area that really merited investment of effort in this time around on the SF15-T.
We're not sure Raikkonen will be happy with this little design tidbit staying on the car, but it it what it is. Many felt as if Raikkonen wasn't as able to get the most out of the pull-rod design in 2014 and his performance suffered accordingly. He was constantly complaining about the front-end of his car not being set up correctly last year, so hopefully this year's design is somehow easier for the team to adjust.
Also of note are several of the sponsors on the car. Not only is there a Haas Automation logo, but Alfa Romeo makes an appearance. Haas, as we know, plans to enter Formula One in 2016 using a Ferrari power unit.
Why is an Alfa Romeo logo so exciting? Well, Ferrari used to stick its logo on Alfa Romeo's grand prix cars.
I guess that means the S-FIST has come full circle.
Ferrari has a ton of videos on their mini-site for the SF15-T, including a time lapse of the car getting decorated with sponsor logos and other design features.
Sure enough, that's a Formula One car using the same kinds of vinyl that I use for bunny stickers. I'm glad to know my bunnies are aerodynamic enough to go on an F1 car.
Ferrari made a gorgeous car. Long live our new cheese grater overlords!
Photo credits: Ferrari (topshot), Flickr user alijava (Alfa Romeo)