Ferrari launches 2012 F1 car
Ferrari unveiled the 2012 car on Friday that it hopes will return it to world championship-winning glory.
After being forced to cancel its launch ceremony because of heavy snow at Maranello, the team published the first images of its car on its official website instead.
The new Ferrari was instantly condemned for its clunky looks, however: there are several extreme elements to its appearance, including a very aggressive step in the nose of the car due to rule changes for this year restricting the height of the nose.
But the team claim that the bizarre appearance of the car is down to new regulations.
"The nose has a step in it that is not aesthetically pleasing: with the requirement from the regulations to lower the front part, this was a way of raising the bottom part of the chassis as much as possible for aerodynamic reasons," a team statement said.
Ferrari afficionados were more damning, with Gazzetta dello Sport's Paolo Ianieri describing the car as: "The ugliest Ferrari ever! Let's hope it will be fast."
Having promised a more radical approach with its car that it has had in recent seasons, the new Ferrari is the result of a big effort at the factory under the guidance of new technical director Pat Fry.
Team boss Stefano Domenicali said that he believes the changes made behind the scenes should yield instant results, following a tough 2011 season for Ferrari."I am sure our car will be winning right from the beginning," he 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."
Domenicali made reference to the new car having "many novelties" but added that it was not a complete overhaul compared to last year's machine.
"From a technical point of view, we have many novelties in terms of mechanics and also the shape of the car," he said.
"[But] we wanted some continuity here, and hopefully we will reach the right performance. We have only 12 days to work on the car and achieve reliability, and also test the new tyres that have been given to us by Pirelli."
Domenicali also paid tribute to his driver line-up of Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa, while Ferrari also revealed that its major sponsorship deal with Santander has extended until the end of 2017.
"I am sure our team will deliver a great effort," he said. For Fernando I don't have to add anything about his skill. In a difficult time last year he extended his relationship with us for many years, so this shows his responsibility.
"Felipe has been here 10 seasons in F1, always with a Ferrari [engine], always with us. A great, great talent and I am sure this year after a difficult season he will show his great value for himself and the whole team."
The snow that forced the cancellation of the launch also means that plans for a shakedown of the car at Fiorano have also had to be abandoned. It is not clear if the team will be able to complete any mileage prior to the first official test with the car at Jerez in Spain next week.
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All photos from www.ferrari.com