ROME, Feb 3, 2012 (AFP) - Ferrari on Friday unveiled their new car to contest the 2012 season, describing it as being "fundamentally revised" from last year's model and capable of winning from the start.
The Italian team introduced their new challenger online after being forced to cancel the official launch day due to heavy snowfall in Maranello, their north Italian base. The Scuderia have retained Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa for the new season despite a disappointing year in which they managed only one win and had to settle for third place in the constructors' championship. Former world champion Alonso finished fourth in the drivers' championship with Massa sixth.
"I am sure our car will be winning right from the beginning," Ferrari team principal Stefano Domenicali said."We have learned many lessons from the past and taken some difficult decisions. But I am sure all our efforts will be represented with this car. "From a technical point of view, we have many novelties in terms of mechanics and also the shape of the car. "We wanted continuity here, and hopefully we will reach the right performance."
While the car adheres to new rules regarding the position of the exhaust pipes and engine mapping, the most striking feature of the F2012 is its 'platypus' nose, a design which caused a stir when Caterham revealed a similar concept last week. Ferrari admitted in an official press release that the design was "not aesthetically pleasing", but Domenicali insisted he was only concerned with the car's performance following four disappointing years. "Actually it's not really so pretty from my personal perspective, but this is a value that doesn't count in F1," he said. "These choices are from both technical regulation constraints and the choices to try to maximise the performance of the car. "The fact that it's ugly or very nice doesn't count a lot, the most
important thing is the car has to be performing."
Although the fundamental design is unlikely to change between now and the first race of the season in Australia on March 18, Ferrari revealed that the car would "undergo a very intensive development programme over the first part of the season, especially on the aerodynamic front".
Massa lost the 2008 world title to Lewis Hamilton on the last corner in Brazil and was then involved in a bad crash the following year from which he has struggled to fully recover. After a disappointing campaign in 2011 he is under pressure to perform well this year. "Let me tell you that it looks very aggressive, it was something that was
part of my dreams," Massa told the web video. "It's a very important year for me and the whole team of course; 2012, this
is going to be the victory year. We are going to fight to get the championship back. "I really feel focused on winning. There are positive things in my head and I want to finish the championship in a better way." "It looks very different actually from what we have seen the last two years," Alonso said. "Im going to start with the same strength, force and determination. Its going to be a challenging season." The heavy snow that forced the cancellation of today's launch also meant the abandonment of a planned shakedown of the car at the team's Fiorano test track. Assuming there is no let-up in the weather, it is therefore likely the F2012's maiden run will be at the first official test of the year, beginning in Jerez on Tuesday.