Analysis: New Ferrari Shows its Teeth

Ferrari's 'Red Shark' has finally shown its teeth after months of anticipation and trepidation.

Analysis: New Ferrari Shows its Teeth

Ferrari's 'Red Shark' has finally shown its teeth after months of anticipation and trepidation.

The long-awaited debut of the slippery F2003-GA car at the Spanish Grand Prix opens a new cycle for the Formula One World Champions.

Although questions remain about reliability, with Brazilian Rubens Barrichello forced to use the spare on Friday, it will be a definite disappointment for Ferrari's 'tifosi' should the machine fail to win on Sunday.

They have become so used to their team's new cars winning 'straight out of the box' that it will be a shock to the system if someone other than five times World Champion Michael Schumacher or Barrichello takes the chequered flag in Barcelona.

The last time the team failed to give a new car a winning start was in Australia in 1998.

Since then Eddie Irvine won the season-opener in 1999, Schumacher in 2000 and 2001 and again when the F2002 made its first appearance in Brazil last year.

Dubbed the 'Red Shark' by Italy's Autosprint magazine because of the gill-like air vents to the rear of the sidepods, the fierce nickname evokes previous creations such as the 'Sharknose' driven by Phil Hill to the 1961 title.

Before that there was also the 'Supershark'.

Fearsome Beast

But just how fearsome a beast is it?

On Friday, it was good enough for Michael Schumacher to seize 'provisional pole' with the fastest lap in first qualifying but the lead over Italian Jarno Trulli was a mere 0.019 of a second. Impartial experts were impressed however.

"It looks like it swallows small errors very well," commented former champion Jackie Stewart. "It looks a forgiving car. I saw Michael this morning miss two or three apexes and yet the car put in a good time. That's where you've got a good car."

With the F2002 winning on its last outing at Imola two weeks ago, Ferrari would not have brought the new car to Barcelona without being convinced that it is both reliable and considerably faster than the old.

That might normally send a shiver down the spines of rivals still struggling to match the F2002 but Ferrari have still got some ground to make up after a poor start to the season.

McLaren lead the standings with 51 points to Ferrari's 32, meaning that even if the Italian team finish one-two in Spain they still cannot regain the upper hand until Austria in two weeks' time. There are also bound to be teething problems.

"We've still got to learn it (the car)," said Ferrari technical director Ross Brawn. "However much testing you do, you don't understand it as much as when you go racing. The track conditions at a race are different to a test and you've got all the cars running around."

McLaren also have yet to bring out their new car, targeting the Canadian Grand Prix on June 15 as the earliest date possible, while Williams expect to show leaps forward in the coming months. The battle is on but Ferrari, their car's initials a tribute to late Fiat patriarch Gianni Agnelli, are in the thick of it.

"We are embarking on a new adventure with the F2003-GA," said team boss Jean Todt.

"The best we can wish for, for ourselves, our partners and our fans, is that this car will deliver the same emotion and satisfaction that we derived from the F2002. It was a car which will always have a place in the history of Ferrari and of Formula One itself."

shares
comments
Stoddart: Lack of Testing Cost Us Dear

Previous article

Stoddart: Lack of Testing Cost Us Dear

Next article

Button aims for top six in race

Button aims for top six in race
Load comments
The final throes of Brazil's fleetingly successful F1 team Plus

The final throes of Brazil's fleetingly successful F1 team

Emerson Fittipaldi is better remembered for his Formula 1 world championships and Indianapolis 500 successes than for the spell running his eponymous F1 team. Despite a hugely talented roll call of staff, it was a period of internal strife, limited funding and few results - as remembered by Autosport's technical consultant

Why McLaren's expanding agenda will benefit its F1 resurgence Plus

Why McLaren's expanding agenda will benefit its F1 resurgence

In the 1960s and 1970s, McLaren juggled works entries in F1, sportscars and the Indy 500 while building cars for F3 and F2. Now it’s returning to its roots, expanding 
into IndyCars and Extreme E while continuing its F1 renaissance. There’s talk of Formula E and WEC entries too. But is this all too much, too soon? STUART CODLING talks to the man in charge

Formula 1
Oct 17, 2021
How Tsunoda plans to achieve his F1 potential Plus

How Tsunoda plans to achieve his F1 potential

Yuki Tsunoda arrived in grand prix racing amid a whirlwind of hype, which only increased after his first race impressed the biggest wigs in Formula 1. His road since has been rocky and crash-filled, and OLEG KARPOV asks why Red Bull maintains faith in a driver who admits he isn’t really that big a fan of F1?

Formula 1
Oct 15, 2021
The danger of reading too much into F1's clickbait radio messages Plus

The danger of reading too much into F1's clickbait radio messages

OPINION: After Lewis Hamilton responded to reports labelling him 'furious' with Mercedes following his heated exchanges over team radio during the Russian Grand Prix, it provided a snapshot on how Formula 1 broadcasting radio snippets can both illuminate and misrepresent the true situation

Formula 1
Oct 14, 2021
Why F1’s approach to pole winners with grid penalties undermines drivers Plus

Why F1’s approach to pole winners with grid penalties undermines drivers

OPINION: Valtteri Bottas is credited with pole position for the 2021 Turkish Grand Prix, despite being beaten in qualifying. This is another example of Formula 1 and the FIA scoring an own goal by forgetting what makes motorsport magic, with the Istanbul race winner also a victim of this in the championship’s recent history

Formula 1
Oct 13, 2021
Turkish Grand Prix Driver Ratings Plus

Turkish Grand Prix Driver Ratings

On a day that the number two Mercedes enjoyed a rare day in the sun, the Turkish Grand Prix produced several standout drives - not least from a driver who has hit a purple patch of late

Formula 1
Oct 11, 2021
The hidden factors that thwarted Hamilton's bid for shock Turkish GP glory Plus

The hidden factors that thwarted Hamilton's bid for shock Turkish GP glory

Starting 11th after his engine change grid penalty, Lewis Hamilton faced a tough task to repeat his Turkish Grand Prix heroics of 2020 - despite making strong early progress in the wet. Instead, his Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas broke through for a first win of the year to mitigate Max Verstappen re-taking the points lead

Formula 1
Oct 11, 2021
How pitstops evolved into an F1 art form Plus

How pitstops evolved into an F1 art form

A Formula 1 pitstop is a rapid-fire blend of high technology and human performance. PAT SYMONDS describes how the science of margin gains makes stops so quick

Formula 1
Oct 10, 2021