Ferrari chief designer Nikolas Tombazis has said he is confident the Scuderia will have a 'strong package' for the opening race of the season in Australia.
The Scuderia took the wraps of the new F138 at Maranello on Friday, and after the struggles with last year's car, the F2012, Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa - and indeed the whole team - will be hoping its successor is more able to challenge the Red Bull.
“I think we have done a reasonable job [with the new car] and we certainly had to make a step up from where we had been in the past few years,” Tombazis admitted. “The launch specification car, that will run at the first test [at Jerez next week], has had a relatively small amount of wind tunnel development because it was fixed straight after the end of the season, when we pushed so late on the F2012.
“However, I believe we will have a strong package for the third [and final pre-season] test and for the first race.”
Deputy chief designer, Simone Resta meanwhile is also quietly optimistic that the F138 will give the Scuderia the base to challenge for the Drivers' and Constructors' Championships.
“There were very few changes to the regulations, but nevertheless we chose to work on and modify all aspects of the car, trying to move forward in every area, because we felt there was a significant amount of performance that could be gained with this new car,” he added.
“I would say the biggest changes relate to the front suspension, which has an improved layout, while at the rear, the suspension is completely new. We also have a revised sidepod design, aimed at improving the aerodynamics in this area, as well as a completely new layout for the exhaust system.
“The car we will race in Melbourne though will be quite different to the one here at the launch and the first test [next week],” he continued. “In the past few weeks we have improved and indeed in those ahead of us now, we can improve further, the performance of the car, which guarantees that the F138 in Melbourne will be significantly different to the F138 at test 1 [at Jerez] - and hopefully quicker.
“I am reasonably happy with the car so far as there was a significant performance gap to be closed, something which we cannot deny, but I think we have done a good job in all areas, trying to cover all the weak points of its predecessor,” he concluded.