Key changes include aero, electronics, gearbox and suspension
As Ferraris 2008 car was presented to the worlds media on Sunday, Aldo Costa, the teams technical director, and Gilles Simon, head of Ferraris engines and electronics department, were on hand to present the latest modifications to the F2008, successor to the championship-winning F2007.
Explaining the main changes on the Italian squads machine, Costa said: "For the F2008 we mainly worked on the aerodynamics, which are completely different to the ones from the season 2007, but there are still some elements which are identical to the F2007. All the aerodynamic surfaces have been completely updated. 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 (McLaren Electronic 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."
Simon revealed more about the unification of the engine and electronics management: "This new organisation 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 bi-components in the fuel. We'll use the biofuel already at the tests in Jerez next week.
As far as the performance level of the F2008 is concerned, Costa said: "The evolution of the aerodynamics is excellent. The team has done some fantastic work, although it is the fourth year in terms of stability of the rules in that sense. Nevertheless we managed to have further progress. Without judging the others I have to say that our car has many hidden features, which we hope will pay in terms of reliability and performance."
And speaking about Ferraris seamless-shift transmission technology in the context of the new four-weekend gearbox rule, he added: "We don't want to slow down, we want to keep up our performance level of 2007; we want to further develop the seamless system. We have to produce a gearbox, which will last for four races, while we have to reduce its weight and its dimensions. Changing gear will thus depend now more on the drivers."
The F2008 will get its first shakedown run at Ferraris Fiorano circuit in Italy on Monday, before travelling to Spain for next weeks multi-team test at Jerez.