Sunday, January 29, 2012

The Beautiful Beast

The Formula 1 pre-season has officially begun! Caterham launched their 2012 single-seater earlier last week and McLaren, Force India and Ferrari are all set to follow in the coming days. I have to say that if the rest of the grid looks like the deranged sea mammal that the Norfolk-based Caterham have produced, we’re in for one ugly grid this year. Okay, maybe I’m being a little bit harsh on the CT01, I am after all no aerodynamicist but still I know that I am not the only one who is turned off by that nose. It makes me wonder what monstrosity will emerge from the fog when the new Ferrari makes its way around Fiorano for the first time on Friday. Both Stefano Domenicali and Luca di Montezemolo have been quoted describing the car as less than attractive so chances are the new baby will be no raving beauty. Of course, beauty is not everything. My boyfriend Luca was quick to remind me of the Ferrari 312T4. It was, as he put it, “The ugliest thing since the March ‘tea tray’” and yet no one complained because Ferrari was able to secure both the constructor’s and driver’s championships with it in 1979. Ferrari too seem to be taking the attitude that beauty is in the eye of the beholder and that it will be the character of the car that wins tifosi hearts. Luca di Montezemolo joked about the new single-seater at Ferrari’s Wroom event “I’d like it to look lousy: I say that provocatively because I want it to be a winner, reliable but also simpatico in the sense that it knows how to win with a smile!”

Just in case you can’t wait until Friday to speculate on which direction Ferrari have gone, I discovered yesterday that the Italian magazine Austosprint has created predictive drawings of what is set to be named the F12 or F2012 in their latest magazine! Buy it if you can get your sweaty little hands on it, I know that I will!

Even after the car launch on Friday, Ferrari will likely still be keeping a few things under wraps until March. At this point the only thing that I can say for certain is that we won’t know exactly how fast the new Ferrari is until the first race of the season in Melbourne. Remember last year’s pre-season testing? I was feeling very confident in the Ferrari 150ยบ Italia (although all the fuss over the name seemed like a bad omen to me) and McLaren looked way off the pace. I remember on several occasions feeling a premature sense of smugness while watching the time sheets and then being surprised by both McLaren and Red Bull at the first race. I won’t be making that mistake again this year.

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