Maranello, 1 February – The F138 is the fifty ninth car built by Ferrari specifically to take part in the Formula 1 World Championship. The name comes from a combination of the current year and the number of cylinders, to mark the fact that this is the eighth and final year of competition for the V8 engine configuration.
The project, which goes by the internal code name 664, is the first design to come from the reorganisation concerning working methods that has been in operation for several months, with the creation of two distinct groups of designers: one working on this car and the other on the completely different car which will race next season. This car constitutes the Scuderia’s interpretation of this year’s Technical and Sporting Regulations, which in fact are substantially the same as those from last season. Therefore the F138 can be seen as an evolution of the F2012, in terms of its basic design principals, although every single part has been revised in order to maximise performance, while maintaining all the characteristics which were the basis of last season’s extraordinary reliability.
The design philosophy of the suspension layout has not changed and it continues to use pull-rods both front and rear, but it has been refined to the limit, in order to gain as much aerodynamic advantage as possible, especially at the rear. The bodywork elements have been redesigned to allow for changes to the positioning and layout of the exhausts. The dynamic air intake, mounted above the cockpit has been redesigned, as have been the intakes to the side pods, which in turn have also been optimised in aerodynamic terms, while maintaining unchanged the overall cooling system.
The rear of the car is much narrower and more tapered on the lower part. The configuration of the front and rear wings derives directly from the last versions used on the F2012, partly because development of that car ran all the way to the final race of last season. However, the aerodynamic elements shown on the car are only those from the initial phase of development: significant modifications will be introduced in the weeks leading up to the first race and a busy development programme is already planned. The drag reduction system on the rear wing has been revised and optimised to make the most of the modifications to the Sporting Regulations that come into play this year. There are detailed changes to the design of the brake ducts, both front and rear and work has been carried out with Brembo on optimising the braking system overall. During both the design and production stages, great attention has been paid to weight reduction and on increasing rigidity. This theme was carried out through all departments working together – Chassis, Engine and Electronics and Production – which bears witness to the importance of being able to design and build a car with everyone working side by side in the same place, which has always been the case at Ferrari.
The engine on the F138 is an evolution of the one fitted to the car last year, inevitably given that the technical regulations forbid modifications to internal components aimed at improving performance. Given the consequent difficulty of finding performance increases through internal modifications, work was intensified on ensuring that the engine’s performance level remained as high as possible throughout the lifecycle of each power unit, which has now reached an average life of three races.
The kinetic energy recovery system retains its location in the lower-central part of the car, a strategic choice which has always been adopted by the team, partly with the aim of ensuring maximum safety. Once again this year, a great deal of effort has gone into reducing its weight and size, at the same time improving the efficiency of some of its components and, as in the case of the engine, maintaining the highest performance level throughout the KERS usage cycle. The technical collaboration with Shell, which has run for several decades now, has led to further progress on the fuel and lubricants front, aimed at increasing performance in overall terms and also on maintaining it throughout the engine’s life, as well as reducing consumption.
As for the electronics, it is worth noting the introduction, ahead of schedule, of the single control unit that will be used in 2014. This has involved a lot of work to integrate and control all its features in terms of both software and hardware.
In keeping with a Ferrari tradition, much time has been dedicated to the performance and improvement of the materials used, at the design stage of each of the six thousand or so components which make up the car, in order to make all the on-track work more effective and efficient. Obviously, quality control remains a vital aspect, with the aim of achieving the highest levels of performance and reliability, at the same time as maintaining the highest safety standards possible.
With only twelve days of testing available before the start of the Championship, the preparatory work on the test benches prior to the car’s track debut, has taken on even more importance. The three test sessions – at Jerez de la Frontera and Barcelona – will allow the team to get to understand the behaviour of the F138 and to adapt it to the new Pirelli tyres: in fact, tyre use is an area that has seen a lot of work both at the design stage and in its management at the track. Also very important and something that will not only be restricted to the winter months, has been the effort invested in areas that could influence the result of a Grand Prix, such as the team’s pit stop work, reduction of time spent going through the pit lane, strategy management and the start procedure.
Carbon-fibre and honeycomb composite structure
Ferrari longitudinal gearbox
Semiautomatic sequential electronically
Controlled gearbox – quick shift
Number of gears 7 +Reverse
Brembo ventilated carbon-fibre disc brakes
Independent suspension, pull-rod activated torsion springs front and rear
Weight with water, lubricant and driver 642 kg
OZ Wheels (front and rear) 13”
Number of cylinders 8
Cylinder block in sand cast aluminium V 90°
Number of valves 32
Total displacement 2398 cm3
Piston bore 98 mm
Weight > 95 kg
Electronic injection and ignition
Fuel Shell V-Power
Lubricant Shell Helix Ultra
Maranello, 1 February 2013 – “I liked this presentation,” was Ferrari President Luca di Montezemolo’s opening remark to a crowd of journalists immediately after the F138 launch. “I felt a special atmosphere, right from the start of the morning when I left my home in Bologna. We had not seen fog here for a long time and it reminded me of the 1997 presentation, the year when Ferrari began its winning cycle.
“During the ceremony, I was moved by the tribute to the Avvocato Agnelli, someone who was very important in my life and whom I miss a lot, a man who was of fundamental importance to Ferrari on so many occasions, at the race track and in the factory.
“Apart from my family, Ferrari is the most important thing in my life and every time I walk into the factory, even after all these years, it puts me in a good mood and I continue to get new stimuli and ideas. Today’s presentation went off with good spirit and passion and I’m pleased about that.”
Asked about the technical characteristics of the F138, the President had this to say: “yesterday afternoon, I saw it and I defined it as “hopeful,” because I noted plenty of attention to detail, especially in areas where aerodynamics are key. Why should I hope this car is competitive right from the first race? The answer is threefold. Firstly, because of the obsessively detailed review of the past season, secondly, the major changes to the organisation and work methodology and thirdly, the concentration on just one wind tunnel, which will be important, especially throughout this season. Track testing is not available to us, something many would like to see reintroduced, so we have concentrated more on simulation tools. Bringing an experienced driver like De la Rosa to Maranello is part of this strategy and attention to detail.”
The conversation switched to engines, given that 2013 is the final year for the V8. “A V6 engine is not part of the Ferrari tradition and in the name of the F138, we are paying homage to the 8 cylinder engine and the fact this is the last year we will use it. I continue to maintain, for economic, musical and power reasons that it would be better to stick with 8 cylinders. But the decision has been taken to build the V6 and if next year, there will be modifications that are in the best interests of Formula 1, then I will even be pleased to see this engine at work and in fact, I’m sure Ferrari is capable of building the strongest V6 in the world.”
Asked why Alonso was not taking part in the first test at Jerez, the President said, “the decision not to run Fernando in the first week at Jerez was dictated by the wish to allow him to stick to a very precise physical training programme. However, for the Barcelona test, attention will switch to performance, which is why Fernando will start then, rather than the first few days.”
As for the wind tunnel, Montezemolo set out the reasons for not using the one in Maranello. “We had our doubts as to the correlation of data from the wind tunnel and the track, therefore we decided to close the Maranello wind tunnel, to update it while concentrating only on the Toyota wind tunnel. This will be important, especially in the coming months for the development of the car. I hope that, after the summer break, the rebuilt wind tunnel will open again here at Ferrari.” As for the idea of Vettel driving for Ferrari, Montezemolo said that it was not possible to have the German teamed with Alonso. As for the third driver, the choice is between De la Rosa and Bianchi and the question is under discussion at the moment.
With the drivers and Domenicali alongside him, the President chose to highlight the importance of the sponsors, such as up market brands like Swiss watchmaker Hublot, the Russian high-tech company Kaspersky and for the first time a Chinese sponsor, Weichai Power. “Our team was becoming Spanish with Gene and De la Rosa and we wanted to increase the presence of the Italian flag at Ferrari to show how important is our country and our roots to us.”
Maranello, 1 February 2013 – After President Luca di Montezemolo, it was Stefano Domenicali’s turn to face the press and the first question centred on the work that went into designing the F138 and his expectations about the work of the team. “There are areas of development on the car which will be very important, from now until the end of the year. We have a clear goal, which is to give Fernando and Felipe a competitive car, at the highest level. Then, it will be our drivers and the team that can make the difference. Our approach from the first race on must be the right one and we must be mentally ready to deal with very tense moments. We definitely don’t want to find ourselves having to fight like last year to close down a 1.6 second gap to the fastest.
“We spoke of this a few days ago and I reaffirm that it is hard to maintain concentration and not spend too much time looking at what’s going on elsewhere,” continued the Scuderia Ferrari Team Principal, on the topic of his expectations. “Better to concentrate our efforts on ourselves and ensure we manage the tension, otherwise there’s the risk of giving a helping hand to those who are fighting the same battle with the same aims. If we come up against surprises in the early part of the season, we will try and stay focused, prioritising the reasons why things have not gone as expected.”
As for the development programme for the F138, Domenicali had this to say: “According to our planning, there will nothing too revolutionary, but rather an implementation of what we have seen so far. In my opinion a serious team has to focus on the fact that, in 2014 we face a completely different season in terms of the regulations and therefore, we must concentrate on bringing into play the right resources.”
Maranello, 1 February – There were plenty of questions for the Scuderia Ferrari race drivers at the press conference which followed on from the presentation of the F138 and which also featured Team Principal, Stefano Domenicali.
Asked about the reasons why he will miss the Jerez de la Frontera test, Alonso said that, “the first test is a general test in which one checks that all the components are put together properly. Given the short amount of time available, we have decided that I will concentrate on the following tests: testing in Barcelona is more useful for measuring performance as well as being a circuit we race on. In the meantime, I will continue with my preparation and will follow the Jerez test, keeping in touch with Felipe and Pedro and analysing the data acquired by the engineers. To be 100% fit from now ‘til November will require combining training and testing. I can’t say if it’s a nice car or if it’s good enough to make the difference, because tenths are not visible to the eye, you need to see them from the cockpit. Now, all we can do is concentrate on testing.”
It falls to Massa to give the new car its first taste of the track. “The first test is very useful to understand the direction in which we should go and where we need to do the most work,” commented the Brazilian. “Last year, I had a very positive second half to the season and I really want to get back on track and continue with the work that has seen me improve a lot over the past years. My aim is always the same, to give my all, right from the start of the season.”
Both drivers were asked about their motivation to win at this point in their career and their response was unanimous: “The sooner we win the better and we want to win for this team, for what it means and to be part of the history that makes up the legend that is Ferrari.”
Maranello, 1 February – As Technical Director, Pat Fry is not only ultimately responsible for the F138 but also for the workforce that has produced it and he began by talking about the latter. “Among the changes made to our structure has been the appointment of two Deputy Chief Designers,” explained the Englishman. “With some big changes coming through it’s a better way to organise ourselves, when we need to run two concurrent car projects. This year’s car is more of an evolution than a revolution, based on similar concepts to the F2012 and in all the little areas of performance where we think we can gain something, we have looked for those gains. The car has changed in subtle ways, some areas more than others, but in general, the F138 is a development of last year’s car.”
Although Fry agrees that fighting right to the end of last season for the title did have an impact on this year’s work, he is not overly concerned about it. “I think that is something that all the top teams will say,” he says. “In a way we were fortunate that we had already made the previously mentioned changes to our structure, as we were able to keep pushing on with last year’s car, while still being in reasonable shape for developing this year’s one. The biggest challenge was the aerodynamic side of things, as we started maybe three months later than is normal. We have quite a lot of catching up to do and you will see quite a lot of changes coming after the launch car: we will have some new parts for the second test and then another big upgrade for the third and final one, so lots of changes coming through.”
Another effect of the future on the present is that not much of this year’s work will be useful next season. “The fact that the 2014 car will be very different – aerodynamically the exhaust effect is changed with the turbo and exhaust positions being different, the front wing development will be new, while the rear wing constitutes another major change – means that a lot of our 2013 work will not carry over, which will put an increased work load on aero departments and the design department as well,” reckons Fry. “However, I think the design side is working very well with the changes we made, working in conjunction with the power unit team. Having said that, there’s a huge amount of work to do on both car projects and we have to get to work early on the 2014 car to be in a good position.”
One should not forget that Formula 1 is a team sport and therefore teamwork is another important constituent part of the whole package. “Apart from the car itself, you have to go after every last little bit of performance,” agrees Fry. “We have reviewed all last year’s races, to see what we did right and what we did wrong, in terms of strategy and we need to learn from that. We are trying to improve our pit stops still further and we have made some changes in that area. Hopefully we can gain another couple of tenths off our pit stop time. On average, we were consistently the best in this area last year, but you cannot afford to stand still, otherwise you find yourself dropping behind: we need to catch up to the level of teams that were quicker in pure speed terms even if they had more problems at their pit stops. We could say we were lucky at times last year on the reliability front, but you make your own luck and it reflects on the amount of work done back here at the factory: we must continue to work to be as good or even better on this front this year.”
So, is Fry pleased with the F138? The answer is long and considered: “In the last eighteen months to two years we have made major changes to our methodology and we are partway through a process and I am pleased with the progress we have made so far. But for me, our progress can never be quick enough and I feel we still have quite a lot to do to improve. I am never going to be happy unless we arrive in Melbourne and prove to have the quickest car. In terms of the launch car, we have done a good job on the mechanical installation and the design, we have hit all our stiffness targets and saved a lot of weight. However, we cannot hide the fact that, aerodynamically, the launch car is a long way behind where we are in the wind tunnel today. We will have a better idea of what our true performance level is come the third test but I’m not going to be happy until we are clearly quickest.”
Maranello, 1 February – The Formula 1 regulations have frozen engine development for several years now, but this has not stopped the specialist engineers from using all their ingenuity to continue improving the internal combustion engines that power the Grands Prix cars. And that is the case, even as Formula 1 embarks on its eighth and final season in which all cars must use the V8 configuration.
“We are not allowed to make direct modifications to the engine in terms of performance, so we worked mainly on improving our reliability when it came to the engine that will power the F138,” states Scuderia Ferrari’s Head of Engine and Electronics, Luca Marmorini. “Already, thanks to analysis in winter testing last year, we improved our reliability for 2012 and were also able to reduce costs. For this year, the engine has been modified in the area where it connects to the chassis and gearbox in order to make the engine work better as a component of the car as a whole. We do look at performance, but that is mainly by focussing on fuel development with our friends at Shell. We also consider the lubricants and in this area, our prime concern is reducing the drop in performance which all Formula 1 engines will experience during their life. Our target is to provide our drivers with an engine that keeps its performance level the same from the first race to the third, as with the current rules, most engines have a cycle of three races.”
When it comes to the electronics required to control the engines, there are no major changes in the regulations for this season, however here again, Marmorini and his crew found areas that could be improved. “Our main aim here was to reduce the weight of the electronic systems in the car, which involved adopting innovative solutions,” explains Marmorini. “However, there is one important new element for this season: for the first time we will use the TAG 320 standard electronic system that will form the basis of the one that everyone will use in 2014. Use of this new ECU (electronic control unit) has also meant developing new software and testing it, as well as developing specific new programming tools.”
The fact that the big 2014 changes are just around the corner has also influenced work on the kinetic energy recovery system. “On the KERS front, we believe the one we first developed for 2009 is the one best suited to Formula 1, in that it is compact, with the components grouped together centrally under the fuel cell,” maintains Marmorini. “For 2013, we have succeeded in decreasing both the weight and the volume. That in turn involved improving the efficiency of the system, which is an important step when we look ahead to the 2014 regulations, when the system will have to perform for much longer. This meant finding a way to decrease the drop off in performance, particularly as far as the batteries are concerned.
“The challenge of the major rule change for 2014 is proving to be very interesting and we believe there will be a significant carry-over because of these regulations, from Formula 1 to our GT car production. It’s a big job, much more than just designing a new engine and a turbo compressor: it involves a new system, a new way of thinking, new tools to test it and in order to do this we are upgrading our manpower and our infrastructure. There has been plenty of time to come up with ideas and hypotheses but now it’s time to finalise the plans for what will drive our cars next year.”
Maranello, 1 February – Walk around the Ferrari factory and you won’t actually see anyone juggling or walking on a tightrope like a circus act, but metaphorically, that’s what the Production Department has been doing for some time, firstly balancing the demands of the 2012 and 2013 cars and then the need to also look to 2014.
“The fact we were fighting for the title right to the very last race in 2012 involved us in developing components such as wings and bodywork for the final rounds in the United States and Brazil, while at the same time developing the new 2013 car,” explains the Scuderia’s Head of Production, Corrado Lanzone. “So, a very big effort was required in terms of discipline, in respecting the plan so as to allow both car programmes to carry on correctly without either one compromising the other. In order to continue bringing developments to the F2012 so as to be in the fight right to the end and not affect the very important work on the F138, we imposed very strict organizational rules and this involved a great effort from everyone working here in the factory and from outside suppliers so as to reach the targets we had set ourselves.”
The fact there is general stability in the rules does not necessarily mean less work, as there is always room for improvement. “When it came to the F138 our two priorities were weight reduction and miniaturisation,” continues Lanzone. “Whenever rules remain unchanged the engineers concentrate their efforts on weight reduction, weight distribution and producing components to the very highest feasible level. This means confronting many challenges on the production side, putting us on the technological cutting edge in these areas of weight reduction and miniaturization of the components. The production stage is when it is vital to get this work done correctly, because while it is relatively simple to change the shape of external parts of the car during the season, it is a harder task when it comes to the core components. Miniaturisation, especially at the rear end of the car, allows us to come up with designs of aerodynamic components which give us a gain in terms of aero efficiency points and, eventually, in lap time.”
Working on two cars at the same time will still be the theme this year. “Like the need to continue development of the F2012 while working on the new F138, we now face another overlap, because of the need to look to the development and manufacturing linked to the 2014 car and new engine, while still fighting hard in 2013,” states Lanzone. “Our own staff and suppliers must again adopt a very disciplined approach so as not to compromise either programme, requiring a special effort on the organizational side, because the “time to market” of each element of the car must be met for the different steps in order for the project to be completed on time, so as to be in as strong a position as possible for 2014.”
Maranello, 1 February – Scuderia Ferrari’s Chief Designer, Nikolas Tombazis, like all his peers along the pit lane, will be eagerly awaiting the first few days of testing to get a glimpse of what the coming season might hold. For Tombazis, he will not only be looking for validation of his team’s work, but also for confirmation that the new organisational structure put in place last year in Maranello is taking the team in the right direction.
“The recent reorganisation of the team after a couple of disappointing seasons had an impact on my position when it became clear that there were too many demands on my time overseeing both the mechanical and aerodynamic aspects,” says Tombazis. “In order to alleviate this difficulty, we have created the role of Deputy Chief Designer with two people in this position, each of them alternating car model years. We have also taken on a Head of Aerodynamics and some additional people to improve our methodology on the aero side. In turn, my role has evolved to oversee these activities, while freeing up time for me to spend on specific aerodynamic issues and on adopting a more creative approach. Over the last few years, Formula 1 has become ever more sophisticated so one person can no longer do every single thing.”
The new organisation was the result of an in-depth internal enquiry into the shortcomings of the team. Apart from restructuring the human element, it also became clear that the beautiful Renzo Piano designed wind tunnel, was now in need of some modernisation. “Last year, we had to push on the development of the F2012 right to the end of the year, while initial development of the F138 began towards the end of last season with the bulk of the aerodynamic work being carried out in Maranello,” recalls Tombazis. “We also did some work in an external tunnel in 2012 and all the work for this season’s car will be carried out in the Toyota tunnel in Germany while we upgrade the Maranello wind tunnel to bring it up to the right level. It is now quite old and needs upgrading having served us well for twelve years. The ideal situation would be to have the wind tunnel right here and I cannot say that using a wind tunnel in Cologne is the perfect solution, but weighing up the medium and long term advantages of having an upgrade on our wind tunnel or carrying on as it was, we concluded that our current strategy was the best. We have taken steps to ensure communications and logistics are as effective as possible in 2013. But still, wherever the wind tunnel, the most important thing is to have good ideas and aerodynamic development and a good facility.”
Tombazis is far too experienced in the ways of Formula 1 to make brave predictions for the coming season: “recent years have taught me not to say too much too early, so let’s wait and see what answer we get from the track. I think we have done a reasonable job and we certainly had to make a step up from where we had been in the past few years: the launch specification car, that will run at the first test, has had a relatively small amount of wind tunnel development because it was fixed straight after the end of the season, when we pushed so late on the F2012. However, I believe we will have a strong package for the third test and first race.”
Maranello, 1 February – There’s a name, that will be unfamiliar to most outside the walls of the Ferrari factory, alongside a job title that is also unfamiliar and new to the Maranello team: Simone Resta is now Deputy Chief Designer. “I started my Formula 1 career with the Minardi team, where I spent a few years, he explains. “Then I moved from Faenza to Maranello, working for Ferrari, first as a designer, then as a coordinator for a group of designers, followed by a time as head of Research and Development, before taking on my current role with the responsibility of coordinating the 2013 car project. In this role, I report to Nikolas Tombazis and to Pat Fry. As from this year, the design team has been split into two groups: one for this year’s car and one for next year’s.” This means that the F138 can be seen as Resta’s first car and he outlines some of the key details of this brand new single-seater. “There were very few changes to the regulations, but nevertheless we chose to work on and modify all aspects of the car, trying to move forward in every area, because we felt there was a significant amount of performance that could be gained with this new car. I would say the biggest changes relate to the front suspension, which has an improved layout, while at the rear, the suspension is completely new. We also have a revised sidepod design, aimed at improving the aerodynamics in this area, as well as a completely new layout for the exhaust system.
“The car we will race in Melbourne will be quite different to the one seen at the launch and the first test,” continues Resta. “In the past few weeks we have improved and indeed in those ahead of us now, we can improve further, the performance of the car, which guarantees that the F138 in Melbourne will be significantly different to the F138 at Test 1…and hopefully quicker. I am reasonably happy with the car so far as there was a significant performance gap to be closed, something which we cannot deny, but I think we have done a good job in all areas, trying to cover all the weak points of its predecessor.”
Maranello, 30 January – The new Ferrari Formula 1 car which is being launched the day after tomorrow in a marquee inside the Maranello facility, will be called F138. The name of the fifty ninth car built by Ferrari to compete at the highest level of motor sport derives from a combination of the current year and the number of cylinders, partly to mark the fact that this will be the last year that the V8 engine configuration will be used in Formula 1, bringing to an end what will be an eight year career. With its fifty eight previous cars, the Scuderia is the only team to have taken part in every year of the championship and holds all the records in terms of titles won (31: 15 Drivers’ and 16 Constructors’,) Grand Prix wins (219,) pole positions (207) and fastest race laps (228.)