Ferrari launch first in bid to make quick impact

Saturday, 29 January 2011 00:01 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

(Reuters) - Ferrari unveiled their new F150 car for the Formula One season on Friday, promising Fernando Alonso he now has the means to recapture the world title after last year’s slow start and calamitous finish.

The Italian glamour team and oldest in the sport could not keep pace with eventual champions Red Bull in the early 2010 races but are confident they can make an immediate impression at the first 2011 grand prix in Bahrain on March 13.

“We start off with reliability, this is the basis of our work,” team principal Stefano Domenicali said as the covers were whipped off in a marquee next to the Ferrari factory wind tunnel in northern Italy.

“We want to arrive at the first race with all the details ready. Last season had difficult moments but also beautiful ones and we must begin again from there.

“The team is motivated and always wants to improve.”

As well as the reintroduction of the Kinetic energy recovery system (KERS) and new moveable rear wings, the F150 has a bigger nose and has the Italian flag painted on in homage to Italy’s celebration of 150 years of unity.

The 2005 and 2006 champion Alonso, who missed out on last year’s world title to Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel after a pitstop strategy error in the final race in Abu Dhabi, is set to take the new car for an unofficial spin around Ferrari’s own track later on Friday for promotional photographs.

First official testing with this season’s new Pirelli tyres start on Tuesday in Valencia.

Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo beamed with pride at the lavish launch ceremony, as did the team’s other driver Felipe Massa, aiming to improve on a poor season last year. Sergio Marchionne, chief executive of FIAT who hold a controlling stake in Ferrari, was also reported to be in attendance along with the head of the Agnelli empire John Elkann as all the big guns turned out in the hope of witnessing the start of a triumphant year for Italy and their team.