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Ferrari unveils 2006 F1 contender


Ferrari has unveiled its 2006 contender for the F1 world crown -- the all-new 248 F1

Ferrari has launched an all-new car to contest the 2006 Formula One World Championship. The Ferrari 248 F1 features an all-new V8 engine to comply with the sports new regulations.

Under the new regs, it aero package has been significantly changed, giving the car a new look.

According to Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro's Aldo Costa (one of three chief designers behind the new car): "We imposed a radical change from both a mechanical and aerodynamic point of view. The aerodynamics are still at a preliminary stage and will be until the first race of the season.

"As regards the chassis, this is totally new in order to optimise the weight distribution and lighten the entire structure. The same goes for the suspension, especially in the completely redesigned rear end," Costa said.

According to Costa, the 248's transmission and differential is all new, the former "constructed from composite materials." Particular attention has been paid to the different power and vibration characteristics of the new V8 engine, says the team.

Team lead driver and F1 superstar Michael Schumacher is confident the car will prove competitive.

"The new car has already given positive results in the little testing that it has been possible to carry out," said Schumacher. "The car seemed well balanced and enjoyable to drive even though it is less powerful [than last year's]."

"Many have asked me how it will change the style of driving with a V8. There will not be such a big difference. It is like going back to the levels of power we had ten years ago. What I think will alter radically is the race strategy and not the style of driving," Schumacher said.

New car or not, Ferrari's president, Luca di Montezemolo, made it clear the team's target for 2006.

"After having lost two titles at the last round, in 1997 and 1998, and [won] six consecutive world crowns, I don't want the 2005 results to seem like the end of an era," he explained.

"We have lived through some incredible years. Last year we suffered a little from the successive rule changes but now we are looking ahead. We want to get back to winning ways."

"The 2006 norms are an improvement, we think," continued Montezemolo commenting on the modifications made by F1 governing body, FIA.

"The qualifying format will be more exciting and the tyre changes are back. We also agree with the changes planned for 2008. Formula 1 has to guarantee overtaking, it has to be an arena for experimenting with extreme technologies and, at the same time, optimise costs with cuts made to superfluous spending."

The 2006 F1 calendar kicks off on March 12 in Bahrain. The Australian F1 Grand Prix is the third race of the season and takes place on April 2.



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