Ferrari has taken the wraps off the car it hopes will both redress and erase memories of one of its poorest seasons in recent memory, unveiling the F10 to a packed house at its Maranello base.
Having achieved just a single win in 2009, courtesy of the now-departed Kimi Raikkonen
in Belgium, and seeing the more competitive Felipe Massa
sidelined by a serious head injury in Hungary, the Scuderia is keen to get back on track, admitting that it simply wasn't up to taking on the likes of Brawn, Red Bull
and, latterly, old rival McLaren
a year ago.
With Raikkonen replaced by double world champion Fernando Alonso, and the recovering Massa back in harness - and scheduled to give the F10 its maiden run this afternoon [Thursday] - team boss Stefano Domenicali spoke of 2009 being a 'turning point' on a road that he hopes will lead back to multiple victories, and a renewed title challenge, in 2010.
"It's a very important season for us," Domenicali admitted, "We come from a season which was not positive, [but] we have the potential with everything we have to do well. We have two new drivers, but two extraordinary drivers from a professional and personal point of view."
The F10 has, the team hopes, benefited from a longer development period than some of its expected rivals, work on its predecessor, the F60, having been canned mid-season when it became apparent that Ferrari
was not going to challenge for either championship. The new machine has naturally borrowed from the success stories of last season, with a front end that resembles that of Adrian Newey's RB5 Red Bull
challenger, while the remainder has also undergone a makeover to redress the aero problems and technical failings that blighted 2009.
As expected, the car is longer than last year's due to the need to carry more fuel after refuelling was banned for 2010, and the change will also see the F10 carry bigger brakes to provide the necessary stopping power for the heavier machine. The new design also features a bigger rear diffuser, a key element of the F10 after the Scuderia was caught on the hop by the introduction of the 'double diffuser' that dominated early 2009, and narrower front wheels as dictated by the regulations. The livery remains predominantly scarlet, but with noticeably white wings.
Massa is due to give the car a shakedown after the launch, but will not get to discover its true potential until meeting rivals on track on Monday in Valencia.
More news and images from the launch to follow....