ROME: Ferrari unveiled a faster and visibly changed new single seat car on Friday (Saturday in Manila) in which Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen will bid to rival Mercedes this season.
The Italians struggled last season finishing behind Mercedes and Red Bull in the constructors’ championship.
Ferrari have not won a drivers’ championship in a decade with Finn Raikkonen the last to triumph for the team in 2007.
Having tested the new car at Ferrari’s Maranello base, Raikkonen said: “We weren’t going full tilt in the first few laps but the car seemed good.
“Obviously it was only the first contact, we’ll do more laps today but the real work will only start at the Barcelona testing.”
Four days of pre-season testing in Barcelona starts on Monday with another four days taking place in the Catalan capital the following week.
“I like the look of this car—it’s very different to last year’s one due to the new regulations,” added Raikkonen.
Named the “SF70” in reference to Ferrari’s 70 years in competition, the car is as usual largely red with black trim alongside a sweep of new features following regulation changes aimed at speeding up Formula 1.
The SF70, the 63rd model of the Ferrari racing car, has more aerodynamic downforce and more mechanical grip on top of much wider Pirelli tyres, giving increased grip and faster cornering.
The lengthened nose and the arrow-shaped wing are also a consequence of the new regulations, as is the obvious white-coloured shark fin on the engine cover.
The hubs and wheel-caps have been altered to allow for faster wheel changes at pit stops and the enhanced braking and steering are more powerful.
The nose of the Ferrari is markedly wider than the rival Mercedes W08 unveiled at Silverstone by Lewis Hamilton on Thursday on the back of three consecutive world championship titles for the German team.
Germany’s Vettel and Raikkonen came fourth and sixth respectively in the 2016 world championships while Ferrari were third in the constructors’ standings.
The Italian outfit is challenging for a first world title since Raikkonen won in 2007, and a first constructors title since 2008.
Raikkonen is due to put the SF70 through its paces at Barcelona on Monday as the world championships series gets underway in Australia on March 26.