The new machine, which will be driven by Ferrari’s all-world champion line-up of Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen, is noticeably different in appearance to last year’s underwhelming F14 T, which became the first Ferrari since 1993 not to score a Grand Prix victory.
“Last year we had an unacceptably large gap in our performance,” technical director James Allison told Ferrari's website. “We’ve tried to make sure that the weaknesses that we felt were particularly noticeable on the ‘14 car were put right for the ‘15 car.”
Like other 2015 cars, the most obvious change from last year is at the front where a long flat nose has been introducued in response to recent rule changes. However, Allison says the rear of the SF15-T received similar attention: “The back of the car is something that is noticeably different from the 2014 car. We have been successful in pulling the bodywork much tighter to all the stuff underneath the skin. That’s been done from a lot of work, not just in the wind tunnel, but also in the design part of the company to try to find radiator designs that were fundamentally more efficient.
“For every square centimetre of radiator we’re able to extract more cooling this year than last and therefore were able to close the car down at the back as a consequence.”
Another crucial area of development for the Scuderia over the winter was on their power unit, which struggled against the might of Mercedes in 2014.
“We had a number of issues with last year’s power unit,” explained Allison. “Early on in the season the power delivery was not particularly sophisticated so it was tough for the drivers to get the throttle response they wanted. That improved a lot during the season and we’ve taken it a step further for the SF15-T.
“A definite weakness of last year’s car was that the amount of electrical energy we were able to recover from the turbo was not really good enough for producing competitive power levels during the race. That’s an area where we’ve tried to change the architecture of the engine to make it a better compromise between qualifying and racing performance.
“And then plain simple horsepower. Enormous amounts of work has gone into all aspects of our combustion efficiency to try to make sure that in this fuel limited formula where every team is only allowed to burn the same amount of fuel, that every single compression stroke, every single ignition stroke is extracting the maximum amount of horsepower and putting it on the road.”
Maurizio Arrivabene, whose appointment as team principal in November was one of a number of key staffing changes at Ferrari over the winter, was full of praise for the new machine.
“Enzo Ferrari said a long time ago that the best car is the winning car. Last year we had an ugly car and it was a non-winning car. I like the car this year in terms of aesthetics. I don’t know about the performance (but) it’s really sexy."
Arrivabene had previously stated that Ferrari’s objective for 2015 should be to win at least two races, and the Italian sees no reason to change that goal.
“I am just realistic,” he said. “Nobody has the magic to change things when things are unchangeable. The car was ready in December and we applied certain modifications that in our opinion are quite interesting. I don’t want to say that we are going to win the world championship but for sure we are committed to win at least two races.
“The work to do is to enhance the team spirit, the passion that was a little bit lost in the past few years and to work together very hard with one objective: to win as much as possible.”
The SF15-T is expected to make its track debut at the start of pre-season testing in Spain this Sunday.