This is the F138, the Formula One challenger that Ferrari CEO Luca de Montezemolo describes as "hopeful" and the eighth and final version of a Scuderia Ferrari Formula One car with a V8 engine – for now. The last digit in this car's name pays homage to that cylinder count, while the first two digits represent the year; next year the regulations will mandate 1.6-liter turbocharged V6s.
The Scuderia did well in pre-season testing last year but at the first race found itself almost two seconds down on the other top teams. With no significant changes to the regulations for 2013, Ferrari focused on weight loss, making components smaller and making the package more rigid, refining every aspect of a car that's essentially an evolution of last year's F2012. The front suspension has been redesigned for aero benefit, and the rear suspension is completely new. The front and rear wings are evolutions, and there's a new air intake design above the cockpit and redesigned intakes on the sidepods. The rear bodywork forms a much narrower package around the redesigned exhaust system, and the KERS is smaller and lighter.
Getting a jump on the 2014 car that will be a clean-sheet design under the new technical regime, Ferrari has integrated the spec TAG 320 electronic controller unit to this year's car. Forbidden from raising the power performance of the engine, the F1 team has worked on maintaining that performance over the three-race life of the engine. And yes, that's a vanity panel over the stepped nose in front.
Ferrari's 12-year-old wind tunnel needs modernizing, so it's doing all of the aero work for the F138 at the Toyota wind tunnel in Cologne, Germany. There are already updates planned for each of the three pre-season test sessions and the first race in Melbourne, so the F138 pictured here is predicted to look "quite different" than the one on the first grid of the season.