On a cold and damp day in Maranello, crowds converged on the Ferrari compound to watch the 2011 challenger, the F150, take to the track at the hands of driver Felipe Massa. The weather didn’t dampen the spirit of the crowd as they watched the Brazilian driver make a few laps with the Italy-celebrating F150 and its Italian flag rear wing. Team boss Stefano Domenicali;
“I would like to thank all of you for having coming all the way here to give us your passionate support,” said Stefano Domenicali as he got the day underway by addressing the crowd. “Last year, on the day we won at Monza, feeling this wave of affection from all of you was a great motivating force as we fought our way back and we hope to give you something back this year with a championship title, something that we missed out on in Abu Dhabi by the smallest of margins. This car is dedicated to celebrations for the 150th anniversary of Italian Unification because it is part of our makeup to feel pride in representing our country all over the world. Even if we have team-members who come from many different countries, starting with a Spaniard like Fernando and a Brazilian, albeit with Italian origins, like Felipe, we have a strong desire to hold high the national flag which is now seen in all its glory on our car.”
The weather was definitely not at its best, with a bit of sleet in the early hours of the morning making the track damp and temperatures were even lower than yesterday, so that Felipe Massa only did just over sixty kilometres at the wheel of the F150. The car was then loaded onto a truck which headed off to Cheste, near Valencia, where on Tuesday 1st February the development testing will get underway. First up will be Fernando Alonso who will also drive on the following day. On Thursday 3rd it will be Felipe Massa who will bring to a close the first of four pre-season test sessions.
As the team puts the F150 through its initial paces, I was sent an email by our own Paul Charsley which pointed ti an interesting comment made by Domenicali himself regarding the future of F1’s development. The Ferrari team boss said:
“There is too much focus on aero development, and that has a huge impact on car performance,” he said. “This is opposed to the requirements of a GT car and this is something we should consider, especially in respect of future regulations.”
Interesting to say the least and it does seem that while the F150 is no doubt a downforce monster, that even Ferrari feel a need to go back to the ground effect and mechanical grip days and that is a good thing.