As the F138 was being shown off to the journalists for the first time this week, the team's technical minds were already turning to the challenge that lies ahead as a result of the major changes to rules and regulations due to come into effect for the 2014 season.

"The 2014 car will be very different," said technical director Pat Fry on Friday. "Aerodynamically the exhaust effect is changed with the turbo and exhaust positions being different, the front wing development will be new, while the rear wing constitutes another major change."

The looming rule changes for next year limit how much time Ferrari can afford to put into developing and fine-tuning the 'end of line' F138 this season, Fry admitted.

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"[It] means that a lot of our 2013 work will not carry over, which will put an increased work load on aero departments and the design department as well," said Fry. "However, I think the design side is working very well with the changes we made, working in conjunction with the power unit team.

"Having said that, there's a huge amount of work to do on both car projects and we have to get to work early on the 2014 car to be in a good position," he added, explaining that the appointment of two Deputy Chief Designers was crucial to the teams' technical approach to the unique challenge this year. "With some big changes coming through it's a better way to organise ourselves, when we need to run two concurrent car projects."

One of the biggest changes in store will be the new engine regulations, meaning the end of V8 power in F1 - something of particular regret to Ferrari. Team president Luca di Montezemolo was quick to explain that the name of their new 2013 car is intended as a farewell salute to the era of V8 technology that had served the team so well over recent years.

"In the name of the F138, we are paying homage to the eight cylinder engine and the fact this is the last year we will use it," he said.

"A V6 engine is not part of the Ferrari tradition," di Montezemolo went on to lament. "I continue to maintain, for economic, musical and power reasons that it would be better to stick with eight cylinders.

"But the decision has been taken to build the V6 and if next year, there will be modifications that are in the best interests of F1, then I will even be pleased to see this engine at work," he said. "In fact, I'm sure Ferrari is capable of building the strongest V6 in the world."

"The challenge of the major rule change for 2014 is proving to be very interesting," picked up Luca Marmorini, Ferrari's Head of Engine and Electronics. "It's a big job, much more than just designing a new engine and a turbo compressor.

"It involves a new system, a new way of thinking, new tools to test it and in order to do this we are upgrading our manpower and our infrastructure," he added. "There has been plenty of time to come up with ideas and hypotheses but now it's time to finalise the plans for what will drive our cars next year."

One area in which the teams can get an early start in making use of the 2014 technology is in the car electronics, Marmorini pointed out. He explained that this year's F138 would use the new TAG 320 standard electronic system that will form the basis of the one all teams will use in 2014: that means any time spent on developing and testing new software in 2013, as well as the benefits of developing specific new programming tools for the ECU, will be able to be carried over to next season.

Development work on the KERS unit will also have application in 2014, Marmorini added. "For 2013, we have succeeded in decreasing both the weight and the volume [of the KERS]. That in turn involved improving the efficiency of the system, which is an important step when we look ahead to the 2014 regulations when the system will have to perform for much longer. This meant finding a way to decrease the drop off in performance, particularly as far as the batteries are concerned."

But for the majority of the car's design, the message is clear: sooner rather than later, Ferrari will have to find a compromise between continuing to extend and develop this year's championship contender while also making sure they're ready for 2014. It's not going to be easy - but it's also nothing new for Corrado Lanzone, the head of Ferrari's production department.

"Like the need to continue development of the F2012 while working on the new F138 [at the end of last season] we now face another overlap, because of the need to look to the development and manufacturing linked to the 2014 car and new engine, while still fighting hard in 2013," said Lanzone.

"The fact we were fighting for the title right to the very last race in 2012 involved us in developing components such as wings and bodywork for the final rounds in the United States and Brazil, while at the same time developing the new 2013 car," he explained, saying that Ferrari had learned the lessons of the necessary levels of discipline that running the parallel development strands required.

"To continue bringing developments to the F2012 so as to be in the fight right to the end and not affect the very important work on the F138, we imposed very strict organisational rules," he added.

Now Ferrari will be hoping that these practices learned in the past 12 months will enable them to steal a march on their rivals in 2014, if not before. But the fear is that the transition will allow one of their rivals to get an even bigger jump in performance, making the next year potentially one of the most fascinating, unpredictable and downright terrifying periods of transition the sport has ever gone through.