Ferrari hopes new F1 car can challenge Mercedes


Daniella Matar - Associated Press



Daniella Matar

Associated Press

Ferrari presented its new Formula 1 car on Friday which it hopes can mount a serious challenge to Mercedes during the 2016 season.

The SF16-H, which is a tighter and narrower car, sports a different livery with several parts of the traditionally red car painted in white.

It incorporates a push-rod front suspension, after four years with pull-rod, as well as a shorter and higher nose, while there have also been changes to the power unit.

“We know Mercedes were very strong last year, the year before, but we also know we have very talented people here at Maranello,” technical director James Allison said. “We’ve done our best to make this step up, to give this car the competitive edge if needs to be a proper winning car.

“I hope we’ve done enough but we’ll only know for sure when we start racing it but the love, effort and skill that has gone into this car is without question.”

Also present at the online launch were team principal Maurizio Arrivabene, drivers Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen, chief designer Simone Resta and power unit director Matteo Binotto.

“I think this year, we need to push a bit more,” Arrivabene said. “We want to push for the championship, at least. We’d like to fight until the end for that. It won’t be easy because our competitors haven’t been sleeping, but we are committed to do our best.”

Ferrari finished second to Mercedes in the constructors’ standings last season, with Vettel winning three races on his way to third in the drivers’ competition.

It was an improvement on a winless 2014 campaign but Ferrari was nevertheless 275 points behind Mercedes, with Vettel 103 points below champion Lewis Hamilton.

“It looks beautiful,” Vettel said. “Obviously there’s been a lot of work going on. It’s very exciting times. To really define my impressions I’ll have to wait until I go on the track.

“We had a fantastic year, obviously it was my first season with the team. Naturally we want more. Last year we were second so there’s only one more step to take. It will be difficult, but hopefully this car will help us achieve it.”

The drivers will get their chance to test the cars on Monday in Jerez. The first race of the new season is in Melbourne on March 20.

“It’s a new year and a new car,”Raikkonen said. “It’s always exciting to see the new car come alive and obviously we have a lot of expectations for the new car and it looks great, but we’ll have to wait until we get to the circuit and get some laps in.

“I want to win races and fight for the championship. Let’s see what we can do, it’s early days. We’ll wait and see how we do with testing and go from there.”

Williams, which has finished third in the constructors’ championship the past two seasons, also presented its 2016 car.

Few changes have been made to the FW38, which features the same red, white and blue stripes as the past two editions

“Williams has started to cement our position back amongst the front-running teams after finishing third in the championship in the past two seasons,” team principal Frank Williams said. “This has been a great achievement given the resources of those around us. Staying where we are will be a challenge in itself, but we are determined to keep improving because only winning will ever be good enough.

“We have a busy couple of weeks of testing coming up to learn more about our package and to refine the car ahead of the first race. We will have to wait until Melbourne to find out exactly where we stand in the pecking order but I’m confident that our hard work over the winter will stand us in good stead.”

Williams has also kept the same driver lineup for the third consecutive year, with Brazil’s Felipe Massa partnering with Valtteri Bottas of Finland.

Daniella Matar

Associated Press

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