Ferrari Unveils The F2008, Its 2008 Formula Car
Ferrari Unveils Its 2008 Formula Car
Ferrari has taken the wraps off what will be undoubtedly the car to beat in the 2008 Formula One World Championship, the Ferrari F2008 to be driven by Kimi Raikkonen and Felipe Massa, starting with the Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne on 16 March 2008.
Rule changes for the new season aimed at making the racing even more exciting and putting more emphasis on driving skills has seen some of the technology removed from all cars for 2008. The elimination of traction control is probably the most obvious change, one that even the reigning Formula One Champion, Kimi Raikkonen has to work hard to adjust to.
"We have already tested the new system before Christmas," says Raikkonen. "There is no traction control anymore. And we have to adapt to this fact, which is quite something. There are also other control systems missing, which we were still using during the last year. But we are really satisfied with the new car and its modifications. The cockpit of the F2008 is tighter and also the car is smaller. We have to be ready for these changes. Will I have more fun without the traction control? It will be much more complex to drive, that's for sure. Especially on wet tracks. But it will be also much more fun!"
So who does the World Champion expect to provide the biggest challenge to Ferrari in 2008?
"McLaren will be there for sure. And then there's BMW. It will be a difficult year It's my second year at Ferrari. I can feel that everything is going really well. I know the people I am working with and I really like the team. We will definitely try to win the Drivers' and Constructors' Championship again," says Raikkonen.
Raikkonen's team mate, Felipe Massa, says that watching the covers come off the new car was like watching a baby been born, a boy, of course!
"The first impression of the car is that it is really beautiful," says Felipe. "Just like every other Ferrari. But that is not enough. The looks are important, but the performance and the reliability are even more important. The team has to work to make the car immediately fast and reliable. We have to do some more work on it before the first race and we want to check its performance before we make any further comments!"
Like Raikkonen, Massa has to adapt to technology changes in the car.
"It really is different now," explains Massa. "You have to take care of the accelerator; even more than of the brakes. The driving style has to be softer and less aggressive. I don't think that my experience in other cars without traction control will be an advantage. The V8 is more aggressive and difficult than the V10. When you are driving under these conditions you want more stability and grip and you try to drive more aggressively and closer to the limit."
"When there's less grip you can use the tyres much better. That is really important, as there is no traction control anymore."
As far as the new qualifying rules are concerned, Massa says:
"To be honest I think that absolutely nothing will change here; we won't have 3-4 laps to use the old tyres. We'll start with new sets of tyres and with the right amount of fuel to get the right lap time. Almost nothing will change for me here."
The technical changes run very deep in the new car and some are in preparation for new rules in 2009.
"All the aerodynamic surfaces have been completely updated," explains Aldo Costa, Ferrari Technical Director. "The body is more concave, the engine cover has a different profile to improve the efficiency and resolve some problems we had on circuits such as Monte Carlo, Hungary and Canada. We've also done some major work on the electronics and the control systems. This year we have to use an integrated central system and an MES (Mechanics and Electronics System). Thus we had to review the electronic layout of the car and try to figure it out without any help from the drivers, such as the traction control and some other controls. We've been working a lot on the gearbox, which has to be used for four races in a row this year. We changed the dimension to improve its lifetime; but we've worked also on the suspension, to improve the lifetime of the whole car."
The Unification of the engine and electronics management is not just an improvement for 2008, it also prepares the car for new rules in 2009 that include energy storage and reuse systems, as Gilles Simon, Head of Engines and Electronics explained
"This new system is already looking ahead to the year 2009, when we will develop a kinetic system to reuse the energy produced by the car. This will take up a lot of our time this year. To combine the two departments is an obvious thing to do. We will do many test sessions inside and outside of the works. This is already the second year that we are not allowed to further develop the engines. From March 2008 on the engine will be completed and approved. What we have actually done is concentrated our work on everything that is sitting above the cylinders; such as the inlets and also on the improvement of the lubrication. We also developed a new kind of fuel over the last winter in collaboration with Shell. The rules of 2008 set a limit of 5.75% of bio-components in the fuel. We'll use the biofuel already at the tests in Jerez next week.
For the 2008 season Ferrari will have a new team structure, with changes starting right at the top, with Jean Todt, the man who guided the team to its most successful period, stepping down. As Mario Almondo, Director of Operations, explained, it does not matter how fast the car is, if it is not matched by an equal level of team organisation
"Well, in the world of High-Tech my role is quite traditional. At Ferrari that means working on technical things, which are not part of the planning, such as logistics and strategic planning of works and investments, managing the race tracks and the buying, technical, technological and quantitative development of our partners. And then there's the management of the A1 GP, which will start with a collaboration by Ferrari in the next year. For us the start of this Championship is a great business opportunity and the possibility to consolidate our brand in the Far East."
The Ferrari F2008 in detail
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.
Chassis: Carbon-fibre and honeycomb; composite structure
Ferrari longitudinal gearbox; Limited-slip differential
Semiautomatic sequential electronically controlled gearbox quick-shift
Number of gears: 7 + Reverse
Ventilated carbon-fibre disc brakes
Independent suspension, 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 cc
Piston bore: 98 mm
Weight: >95 kg
Magneti Marelli digital electronic injection
Magneti Marelli static electronic ignition
Fuel: Shell V-Power ULG 64