Evolution over revolution has been the theme emanating from F1’s factories this winter and with the technical regulations remaining static, this has hardly been surprising. However, as they look to overthrow the sport’s current front-runners Mercedes, Ferrari have unveiled a 2016 challenger which looks decidedly different to it’s predecessor from both a technical and aesthetic standpoint.
Talk of a retro livery has been circulating in the lead up to today’s launch. As such, a predominantly white engine cover was largely anticipated. Maranello’s graphic designers have crafted an aesthetic masterpiece and at a time where many fans are critical of F1’s colourless field, Ferrari have certainly bucked the trend.
That said, a Ferrari will always stand out from the crowd.
This year has also seen the team break away from a philosophy which has dictated technical innovation since 2012. Ferrari have been the only team to pursue a pull-rod front suspension configuration until now. The team have adopted the much favoured push-rod setup, which greatly aids front stability and therefore, plays to the driving styles of both Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen.
This change, which has a huge effect on the aerodynamic performance further down the car, has facilitated additional alterations to the sidepods and engine cover. The SF16-H’s powerunit is packaged much tighter than that of its predecessor and assuming that the car’s cooling can cope with the increased pressures, there will surely only be aerodynamic benefits to this modification.
The same can be said of the team’s decision to adopt the shorter nose shape for 2016. Unlike the majority of its rivals, Ferrari retained the long nose design for the entirety of last year. While the short alternative has historically been a technical challenge, particularly regarding crash tests, Ferrari’s competitors noted a performance improvement and as such, it is fair to assume that this is the correct development path.
Another feather in the cap of Ferrari’s 2016 title aspirations.
With the margin to Mercedes still sizable even at the end of 2015, Ferrari need another big step forward to overthrow F1’s current pace-setters. On paper, this year’s car is somewhat of a revolution compared with Ferrari’s recent ideology and in a campaign where the majority will simply evolve their 2015 packages, this could see the Scuderia make the winter’s biggest step forward.
It will be fascinating to see how the car performs in testing and whether Mercedes’ fears of a much stronger Ferrari in 2016 are realised.