Mario Almondo, Director of Operations, Aldo Costa, Technical Director, and Gilles Simon, Head of the Engines and Electronics Department, presented the latest modifications of the F2008, which will be used during the season 2008, to the international press.
When Aldo Costa was asked, what the main characteristics of the new single-seater from Maranello are, the Technical Director said: "For the F2007 we mainly worked on the aerodynamics, which are completely different to the ones from the season 2007, but there are still some elements which are identical to the F2007. All the aerodynamic surfaces have been completely updated. The body is more concave, the engine cover has a different profile to improve the efficiency and resolve some problems we had on circuits such as Monte Carlo, Hungary and Canada. We've also done some major work on the electronics and the control systems. This year we have to use an integrated central system and an MES (Mechanics and Electronics System). Thus we had to review the electronic layout of the car and try to figure it out without any help from the drivers, such as the traction control and some other controls. We've been working a lot on the gearbox, which has to be used for four races in a row this year. We changed the dimension to improve its lifetime; but we've worked also on the suspension, to improve the lifetime of the whole car."
Gilles Simon spoke about the unification of the engine and electronics management: "This new organisation is already looking ahead to the year 2009, when we will develop a kinetic system to reuse the energy produced by the car. This will take up a lot of our time this year. To combine the two departments is an obvious thing to do. We will do many test sessions inside and outside of the works. This is already the second year that we are not allowed to further develop the engines. From March 2008 on the engine will be completed and approved. What we have actually done is concentrated our work on everything that is sitting above the cylinders; such as the inlets and also on the improvement of the lubrification. We also developed a new kind of fuel over the last winter in collaboration with Shell. The rules of 2008 set a limit of 5.75% of bi-components in the fuel. We'll use the biofuel already at the tests in Jerez next week.
Mario Almondo explained the organization of the Director of Operations: "Well, in the world of High-Tech my role is quite traditional. At Ferrari that means working on technical things, which are not part of the planning, such as logistics and strategic planning of works and investments, managing the race tracks and the buying, technical, technological and quantitative development of our partners. And then there's the management of the A1 GP, which will start with a collaboration by Ferrari in the next year. For us the start of this Championship is a great business opportunity and the possibility to consolidate our brand in the Far East."
As far as the Formula One car and the performance level of the F2008 is concerned Costa said: "The evolution of the aerodynamics is excellent. The team has done some fantastic work, although it is the fourth year in terms of stability of the rules in that sense. Nevertheless we managed to have further progress. Without judging the others I have to say that our car has many hidden features, which we hope will pay in terms of reliability and performance."
A journalist asked if there will be a further improvement to the seamless-technology in 2008 as far as the gearbox is concerned; which might be a kind of advantage for those who are responsible for the hardware and know the code; Costa replied: "We don't want to slow down, we want to keep up our performance level of 2007; we want to further develop the seamless system. We have to produce a gearbox, which will last for four races, while we have to reduce its weight and its dimensions. Changing gear will thus depend now more on the drivers."
Mario Almondo was asked how many improvements of the F2008 are foreseen for now: "In 2007 we had four major developments of the car and many minor developments for each race according to the different race tracks. Simulation and the wind tunnel are very important here, but also the tests in the works play an important role. From the first GP on we try to keep a straight line in terms of development, to eliminate all the problems caused by the single circuits."