In line with the heavily revised 2014 regulations, the Scuderia’s new challenger is powered by a 1.6 litre, turbo V6 power unit and features a new-look nose, quite different to that seen on other 2014 cars so far.
“I think as far as I remember this year the technical challenge is the biggest that we’ve seen in the last 10 years of F1,” said Ferrari team principal Stefano Domencali. “Connected to the challenge there is opportunity to make sure that this challenge will be taken in the right way from our group of engineers.
“We have a totally new powertrain, we have a new set of regulations that are very interesting, and which have to be looked at very carefully in depth in order to make sure that we take the opportunity to improve the level of performance. And this is what I’ve asked to all my people here in Maranello.”
Development of the F14 T, the 60th single-seater built by Ferrari for F1 championship competition, began over two years ago, and it is the first car to be influenced by new technical chief James Allison since he joined the team from Lotus late last year.
Its chassis retains the pull-rod suspension of its F138 predecessor, but little else. Packaging the new ERS-assisted power unit has been one of the biggest design challenges, in particular meeting its increased cooling needs while retaining adequate aerodynamic downforce.
“This is one of the key areas where having both power unit and chassis under one roof has been strongly to the benefit of the Scuderia,” said the team.
“Having chosen the correct overall level of cooling to supply, packaging the resultant cooler elements and managing the correct airflow to them is something which has absorbed a very large investment of design time to ensure that the F14 T is able to retain the sharply tapered bodywork that allows efficient extraction of downforce from the design.”
Ferrari admitted that the sheer complexity of the 2014 regulations meant that delivering a car under the minimum weight requirement of 691kg had been much tougher than in previous years. They also stressed the importance of optimising the car for Pirelli’s revised 2014 tyres.
“Weight control has been an important part of the project from the outset in order to deliver a car with a workable amount of ballast that will permit us to operate and develop the car through the season.
"Equally important will be the car’s integration with the new tyres that Pirelli is introducing this year. The ability of the F14 T to get the most out of their characteristics will be one of the cornerstones in terms of seeing if our overall efforts will deliver the hoped for results.”
The F14 T will make its official track debut next Tuesday, when pre-season testing gets underway with a four-day session at the Spanish circuit of Jerez.
“For sure I’m expecting the first days of testing to be challenging for everyone, there are a lot of things to be tested, a lot of things to be checked," added Domenicali.
"The most important thing as we said that we have to avoid is to fall under the big pressure that we have. This has to be very clear with my people, we need to stay very focussed on the job. The company has given us and our group of engineers everything to make sure that we can do a good job.”
Allison, meanwhile, also made it clear that while the new regulations will mean a rapid rate of both aerodynamic and power train development throughout 2014, outright performance in those areas is unlikely to decide the championship.
"If I had to choose a thing that was likely to be the dominant factor for the season, I would choose neither the level of power nor the aerodynamic development," said Allison. "I would say this year reliability is going to be absolutely fundamental."
Ferrari finished third in the 2013 constructors' championship behind Red Bull and Mercedes, with Alonso runner-up to Sebastian Vettel in the drivers' standings.