Guest Author - Christine Blachford
Ferrari were first out of the gate in the race to launch their new car. The F2009 (also known as the F60 to celebrate the teams 60 years in Formula 1 racing) was released on Monday at the Mugello circuit. Ferrari had initially planned to launch the car at their Fiorano test track but had to move it to Mugello due to the freezing weather conditions.
The car was unveiled to the waiting press, and pictures were released of it's current look. The chassis is much simpler than last year's model, with all the winglets stripped off. The high rear wing is just as bad as we first thought, when we caught a glimpse of the BMW in winter testing. It sticks up high at the back and is much narrower than the 2008 version. The front wing has also changed a lot, and is much wider, flatter, and nearer to the ground.
The BMW version we spotted in testing was a lot squarer, so it was at least a relief to see the Ferrari's front wing was less boxy. However, it doesn't look very secure, and being so wide, there are bound to be a lot of front wings knocked off when we get to the first round in Australia.
Both drivers were present at the launch, although it was only Massa who took the car out on track. Raikkonen was confident about the upcoming season, and says that he has put the dreadful 2008 year behind him. Massa hasn't let the disappointment from last season get to him either, and is fully confident of the year ahead. He does admit that they may have a lot of competition now, though, with BMW and Renault both appearing to come back strong towards the end of the championship. Massa settles with the fact that McLaren will be their main competition, and with the regulations changing so much, he's probably right.
The one unknown about the 2009 Ferrari is their KERS device. Apparently it was fitted to the engine during the launch, but the team haven't decided whether to run it at races yet or not. They may not run it at every race, they may not run it at all. At the moment, the decision rests on whether they'll fit it for Australia or not.
We have a few more launches coming up this week, so it'll be interesting to see what other teams decide to do.
Please visit the forums, where I have linked to some pictures of the 2009 Ferrari, and then let me know what you think!