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New Ferrari named 248 F1 24 Jan 2006

(L to R): Aldo Costa (ITA) Ferrari Assistant Chief Designer; Paulo Martinelli (ITA) Ferrari Engine Director; Luca di Montezemolo (ITA) Ferrari Team Manager; Pierre Lardi Ferrari (ITA); Luca Badoer (ITA) Ferrari Test Driver; Felipe Massa (BRA) Ferrari; Michael Schumacher (GER) Ferrari; Jean Todt (FRA) Ferrari Sporting Director. Ferrari 248 F1 Launch, Mugello, Italy, 23 January 2006. World ©  Sutton

Ferrari officially launched their 2006 car at Italy’s Mugello circuit on Tuesday. The car, up to now known only by its 657 project name, has been christened the 248 F1.

Both Michael Schumacher and Felipe Massa have already tested the car in shakedowns at Fiorano, but it was Schumacher who drove the first public laps in the 248 F1 at Mugello.

The 248 F1 is the first Ferrari developed entirely under Aldo Costa, successor to the team’s famed design chief Rory Byrne, who it was revealed will be staying on in a consultancy role.

Speaking of the major influences on the new car, Costa commented: "It was mainly to do with the V8 engine and we imposed a radical change from both a mechanical and aerodynamic point of view. The aerodynamics are still at a preliminary stage and will be until the first race of the season.”

The 248 F1’s chassis is all new - lighter, with improved weight distribution - as is its suspension, which features a complete rear redesign. The transmission and the differential are also new, built using composite materials especially designed to cope with the greater vibrations associated with a V8 engine.

“We started working on this engine midway through 2004 and then tested it on the bench,” explained Ferrari’s Formula One engine director Paolo Martinelli. “Last August it made its first outing, at Fiorano, and in the autumn of 2005 we completed the V8. Now we are close to the final version. Obviously, in the course of the season we will have to cope with a very steep learning curve."

Ferrari are hoping the new car, successor to the F2005, will revive their championship hopes. Last year they dropped to third in the standings, having won the constructors’ crown the previous six years in a row.