Ferrari has launched the car it hopes will be able to challenge Red Bull for honours during the 2012 season in a video launch from its Maranello base.

The official launch ceremony had to be cancelled after heavy snow hit the region, which has also forced a shakedown of the car at the Fiorano test track to be canned.

The new car, named the F2012, features a radical interpretation of the stepped nose seen on Caterham's CT01, with Ferrari themselves admitting that the design 'is not aesthetically pleasing' but, with a change in regulations dictating that the nose of the car needs to be lower, was 'a way of raising the bottom part of the chassis as much as possible for aerodynamic reasons'.

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Further evolutions to the front wing are due to be introduced during the season ahead.

The new car features pull-rod suspension on both the front and the rear in an attempt to improve aerodynamic performance and lower the centre of gravity, while the sidepods have been redesigned and the radiators repositioned.

As is the case throughout the grid, the rear of the car is much narrower than in the past, partly down to a new gearbox casing, while Ferrari has also worked hard on the new exhaust regulations.

The car will be powered by an evolution of the engine used last season, with technical regulations preventing any internal modifications to try and increase performance. However, work has taken place to improve the installation of the engine into the new chassis to ensure there is no penalty in terms of aerodynamic performance.

The car, which will be driven once again by Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa, will test for the first time at Jerez next week with much of the early focus being on the performance of the car with the new Pirelli tyres.