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With its principal rival McLaren scheduled to follow tomorrow, and the others (accept for Williams) in the coming days and weeks, Ferrari kicked off the unveilings of the 2008 F1 cars when it took the wraps off its new F2008 today in Italy.
If you're thinking that the F2008 looks a lot like the F2007 it's replacing, you're not very far off. Aside from the fact that most F1 cars look the same to the untrained eye, rather than go with a completely new package like they did last year, Ferrari's racing engineers and designers opted to go for an evolution of the F2007 with the new car, code-named Project 659.
Despite the constantly-evolving technology in F1, the F2008 is actually heavier than last year's car, due to new regulations coming into play for the upcoming season that include the elimination of traction control, a new standardized ECU and additional safety structure. While the aerodynamic package has been significantly revised, Ferrari has been quick as ever to point out that all those wings and spoilers will be significantly revised again before the car begins its campaign to defend its world titles at the Australian Grand Prix in March.
The F2008 is scheduled to hit the track for the first time tomorrow at the company's private Fiorano test facility in Maranello. For more images, check out the gallery below. For those interested in the technical details, we've got the full press release after the jump.
F2008: Description and technical specifications
Maranello, 6th January 2008 - The F2008 is the fifty fourth single-seater built by Ferrari specifically to take part in the Formula 1 World Championship.
The design, codenamed internally as the 659, represents the Scuderia's interpretation of the regulations in force in 2008. A major new element of these is the introduction of a new electronic system to be used by all teams, known as SECU (Standard Electronic Control Unit) and produced by MES (McLaren Electronic Systems.) It consists of a single control unit and a software system, the development of which ends as the season begins. Other areas affected by rule changes are: gearbox, which must be used for four consecutive events; safety, with the introduction of higher side protection around the driver's helmet; materials, with a limit to the type of composites that can be used. As a result of these rules, there has been an increase in the weight of the car. All aerodynamic surfaces have been completely revised, however the current version will be replaced by a completely different configuration in time for the first race. In fact, an intensive and all encompassing development programme is planned to run throughout the season. The monococque has been further cut away under the driver's legs and the side pods and engine cover are more tapered. The suspension system has been reworked and developed around the new aerodynamics.
The wheelbase and weight distribution have been adapted to meet the challenge of the new regulations and on the basis of lessons learned last year in terms of the performance of the Bridgestone tyres. Changes to the technical and sporting regulations in terms of electronics, alongside the introduction of the SECU, have led to the removal of a host of a driver aids, such as traction control and engine breaking and the electronically assosted starting system, and also mean that management of the differential, engine and gearchange are much simpler. The gearbox casing is produced in carbon, while the transmission continues to be mounted longitudinally. For the second consecutive year the gearchange is fitted with a quick shift system, adapted to the SECU software and further speeded up. In dealing with the reliability aspect of the new regulations, Shell has played a key role in defining the lubricants for the gearbox. The braking system has been updated with new callipers and innovative concepts regarding cooling.
The 056 engine is mounted longitudinally and continues as a load bearing element. Its basic structure remains unchanged compared to the unit homologated at the start of last season, while its auxiliary systems, air and fuel intakes have been further developed. The technical regulations also call for the use of fuel corresponding to European Union norms, with a content of components derived from biological sources equal to 5.75%. As usual, during the design and development stages of the entire car, our technical partners played an important role. Apart from previously mentioned significant input from Shell , also worthy of note is the contribution of the Fiat Research Centre, especially in providing simulation systems and Brembo for its work in developing the braking system. As is now traditional, a great deal of attention was paid to the performance and optimising of the materials used at the design stage and through quality control, striving to maximise performance levels while attaining the highest possible safety standards.
Carbon-fibre and honeycomb
Ferrari longitudinal gearbox
electronically controlled gearbox
Number of gears: 7 + Reverse
push-rod activated torsion
springs front and rear
Weight (with water, lubricant and driver): 605 kg
BBS Wheels (front and rear): 13''
Number of cylinders: 8
Cylinder block in cast
aluminium: V 90°
Number of valves: 32
Total displacement: 2398 cm3
Piston bore: 98 mm
Weight: <95 kg
Magneti Marelli digital electronic injection
Magneti Marelli static
Fuel: Shell V-Power ULG 64
Lubrcant: Shell SL-1098