Ferrari’s New Ugly Duckling Might Turn Beautiful with Wins


After a disappointing 2011 season, Ferrari launched the F2012 to challenge for the F1 world title.

Amid heavy snowfall and arctic weather conditions (and probably driven in a red Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8 from their hotel to the Ferrari factory) the two Ferrari drivers, Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa, unveiled the Ferrari F2012. The F2012 is Ferrari's 58th contender for the F1 World Championship. It made its debut in front of a massive world audience who watched the live stream online from Ferrari HQ in Maranello, located in Northern Italy.

A few weeks ago, Ferrari President Luca di Montezemolo (who missed today's proceedings) said that he prefers a winning car to a beautiful one and that winning turns an ugly car into a beautiful one. Montezemolo knew in advance why he said it and after taking the wraps off the car, Massa described it politely as 'aggressive.' Ferrari's press release appropriately described it as "not aesthetically pleasing." That description refers to the stepped nose, a result of Ferrari's interpretation of the new technical regulations that requires a lower front-end and a raised back-end.

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These changes were made in order to raise the bottom part of the chassis as much as possible for aerodynamics purposes. The car was exposed from all angles as it stood on a rotating platform. When the back of the car was exposed, the diffuser area was blocked from view by a black bulkhead. The 2.4-liter V8 engine is an evolution of the one that powered last year's car. Much effort has gone into improving the engine's installation in the new chassis, so as not to penalize the aerodynamics of the car.

Ferrari engineers worked on improving the engine's performance drop off in order to maintain good characteristics even toward the engine's three race life-cycle. The engine's electronic management has been revised based on the modifications to the rules regarding the use of exhaust gases. The kinetic energy recovery system (KERS) maintains its low central location in the car (a choice also aimed at maximizing safety) and has undergone an update directed mainly at reducing its weight and improving the efficiency of some of its components.

Because of the arctic weather conditions, Ferrari had to cancel not only the media event but more crucially the F2012's first run on the Fiorano track in order to assess the car's system before testing starts in earnest next week in Jerez de la Frontera, Spain. There are only 12 days of testing, said team boss Stefano Domenicali, and in this period Ferrari's new ugly duckling will go through the beauty salon and if the treatment proves successful by winning a few races, the F2012 will surely be considered a beautiful car.

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