Called the Concept F1, Ferrari is showcasing the design to start a conversation about the next generation of Formula One cars and spur interest in the sport, which has been maligned for its unattractive racecars in recent years.
The Concept F1 was penned by the company's in-house studio, Centro Stile Ferrari, with input from its aerodynamics department. Though the sketches look futuristic, the company says the design could be executed without changing F1 regulations.
From its beginning, Ferrari's racecars have had both form and function, winning on the track and turning heads with everything from the 250 Testa Rossa, 330 P3, Michael Schumacher's single-seaters from the early 2000s and many others. That lineage led the Scuderia's leaders to survey the paddock, wring their hands and come up with the Concept F1.
As Ferrari said on its website: "Our challenge was to create something that was – to put it short – better looking."
It's a philosophy that was implemented for this season's car, the SF15-T. While not groundbreaking in appearance, Ferrari cleaned up the design, particularly up front, and the racecar now has a more attractive nose that delivers better aerodynamics. It's more of the same in back, where a tighter design creates more downforce.
"This year's car is certainly an awful lot better looking than last year's car," Ferrari technical director James Allison said in a video on the Scuderia's website.
The updates come as Ferrari, and all F1 teams, get a better handle on the extensive 2014 rule changes that brought back turbocharged engines and altered the aerodynamic regulations for the series. Less dramatic changes also are going into effect this year.
Ferrari, which is coming off a disappointing fourth-place finish in the World Championship, is obviously looking to the future. Appearances have always mattered for the red cars. We'll see if they bring the Scuderia success this season and beyond.
Other News and Notes
Next-generation Chrysler Town & Country spied
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles is hard at work on the next-gen Town & Country minivan, and our spy shooters have captured heavily covered prototypes during testing on the road. We can't tell anything about the exterior design, though we see glimpses of an instrument panel (which looks vaguely Dodge Charger-esque) and infotainment screen inside.
The next-generation minivan is scheduled to be revealed at the 2016 Detroit Auto Show. FCA said last year it planned to kill off the Dodge Grand Caravan and go with just the Chrysler Town & Country going forward. A plug-in hybrid-electric variant and other derivatives are also expected.
The factory in Canada that builds the vans shut down on Feb. 13 to convert to production of the new model. FCA chief executive Sergio Marchionne has said the automaker is spending more than $2 billion to develop the new model and retool the factory.
Rolls-Royce to build SUV
Rolls-Royce said this week it plans to make an SUV. Granted, the austere 111-year-old bespoke British company couldn't bring itself to say the words "sport utility vehicle," (apparently that's a term only used in the colonies), and its press release was actually an Open Letter From the Chairman and Chief Executive of Rolls-Royce. British Prime Minister David Cameron even showed up for the
Jokes aside, Rolls offered several hints of what its future product will entail, mentioning that the SUV will have an all-new aluminum architecture. It will also have an elevated ride height and be able to "cross any terrain" (so we're expecting four-wheel drive). The timing for the launch of the vehicle was not specified. Rolls-Royce is just the latest company to venture into the SUV segment to augment its traditional offerings, following a path well-worn by Bentley, Porsche and many others.
Teenage hacker showcases auto industry's weakness
A 14-year-old hacker is the latest example of the auto industry's vulnerability to cyber terrorism. The boy, who was participating in a camp with students, security experts and policy makers last summer, hacked into a car using $15 worth of parts he bought at Radio Shack. He was able to mess with the windshield wipers, remote starter, headlights and other features, leaving observers flabbergasted. The incident was recounted this week at a Center for Automotive Research event in metro Detroit, and it comes on the heels of a report released earlier this month by Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA) that said most car companies can't respond to real-time hacking of their vehicles.