Ferrari's 2013 F1 challenger is expected to be more pleasing on the eye than the F2012 amid reports claiming that the Scuderia will attempt to disguise the stepped nose that disfigured so many of last year's cars.
According to Spain's Marca
newspaper, the car – currently known only by its factory reference number 664 – will have a more classic appearance as Ferrari takes advantage of the FIA's decree that teams can use a laminated panel to cover the step, while allowing the cars to continue with the high nose concept that allows unhindered airflow under the front of the chassis.
While the inclusion of the panel is not mandatory for 2013, Ferrari is understood to be the second team to include it in its design, after Williams. It remains to be seen whether the first car unveiled for 2013, the Lotus E21 – which gets its public airing later today (28 January) – and the rest of the field will follow suit. Only McLaren and Marussia, which received technical input from the Woking team – eschewed the stepped nose idea in 2012.
Artists' impressions of the new Ferrari also show it to have smaller sidepods than its immediate predecessor, although the Scuderia has already admitted that the look of the car will change a lot between its launch and the first race of the year in Australia in mid-March. The aero treatment, front and rear, will certainly be more complex by the time Melbourne comes around, with the 1 February launch in Maranello not expected to give too much away.
The car is also likely to feature a Coanda exhaust similar to that use to good effect by Red Bull – and copied by others – in 2012, but will continue with the pull-rod suspension layout introduced last season. Other teams are thought to be considering following Ferrari's lead in this area.
Williams rookie Valtteri Bottas has already confirmed that this year's FW35 – which misses next week's Jerez test – will cover up the stepped nose introduced on its predecessor.
“With the new rules, the step nose is straightened,” he told Finland's MTV3
earlier this month, “That is the biggest difference in appearance.”
The rule tweak allowing the covers – described as 'an optional, single piece, non-structural fairing of prescribed laminate' - was incorporated into the 2013 regulations in order to appease 'the dissatisfaction of the fans in relation to the appearance of [last] year's cars', but insists that 'the fairings will not affect the car's aerodynamics or impact-protection properties'.