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Exclusive - 2006 Ferrari preview 30 Nov 2005

An artist's impression of Ferrari's 2006 car. © FOM

Could this design be the key to an Italian comeback?

The Ferrari F2006 (assuming the team retain their recent naming convention) is likely to be only a distant relative of its predecessor, not only because of the F2005’s poor results, but also because of changes to the technical regulations. Here, and in our technical analysis section (see link below), we bring you our artist’s impressions of what we expect the team’s new car to look like.

The move from 3-litre V10s to 2.4-litre V8s will have a significant impact on the design of all Formula One cars. The new, smaller engine will have different requirements, not only in terms of its positioning, but also in terms of cooling. These requirements will in turn have a significant impact on the car’s aerodynamics.

The new Ferrari and its rivals will be smaller than their 2005 counterparts, thanks not only to the reduced size of their engines, but also because a V8 will be easier to cool than a V10. This will allow designers to use more efficient aerodynamic solutions in terms of body shape - solutions that were perhaps tried in 2005, but proved too extreme, will now be perfectly adequate.

In 2005, McLaren’s MP4-20 was the benchmark, featuring arguably the most extreme and efficient aerodynamics. Occasional reliability issues hinted at just how close to the limit the team’s tight packaging of their V10 was, but the design philosophy was one that Ferrari and other teams are likely to follow in 2006.

Like the MP4-20, the F2006 will be a very sleek and efficient machine, not just in terms of aerodynamics, but also dynamically, with a well-centred weight distribution allowing it to smoothly ride the kerbs and ensuring minimal tyre wear - all features that served McLaren well in 2005. The F2006 is also expected to draw on other 2005 features, such as Renault’s cooling gills. Nevertheless, the new car will retain a definite Ferrari identity, with a certain continuity in the design concept from Maranello.

For further details see our Technical Analysis section.