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Ferrari unveils their 2011 car and why Vettel says he'll be fighting from the get go

A look under the bonnet of the latest Ferrari and a catch-up on how tension between teams is hotting up ahead of Bahrain

Posted Jan 30, 2011 by Weekend Round-Up

The new Ferrari F150 sports a tri-colour decoration in the national colours

Just 40 days now until the 2011 season kicks off and there’s plenty of action in the build up to Bahrain.

Friday saw the grand unveiling of the F150, Ferrari’s commemoratively named new car for the 2011 season, which sets the pace in terms of meeting the new technical requirements following a ban on double diffusers – something which Ferrari technical director Aldo Costa said required them to take “an entirely new approach”.

Press gathered in anticipation at Ferrari’s HQ in Maranello, to see the new model which although similar in looks to the 2010 model, is “from a technical point of view…really different” according to Costa.

Formula 1 fans that closely follow the development of the cars will notice that the F150 is sporting an entirely new rear end which has been designed from scratch to comply with this season’s new specifications. Aldo Costa added that the F150 is nowhere near the finished article because the upper-body aerodynamics will be completely reworked throughout pre-season testing which starts in Valencia on Tuesday.

The F150 was taken for a quick spin on Friday by Fernando Alonso at the team's Fiorano test track after he and fellow Ferrari team mate Felipe Massa unveiled the car to press. Alonso, who only joined Ferrari last season, is hoping for a stronger 2011 season after he made a number of mistakes early on in the 2010 season before recovering form in the latter stages only to lose out in Abu Dhabi to Sebastian Vettel, tipping Alonso into second overall in the championships.

Alonso is clearly more upbeat about the forthcoming season, saying he feels more integrated within the Ferrari team and ready for the challenges that a new season brings. Alonso has made it clear that the new Ferrari model will be more to his liking adding that “I hope [the F150] will be as strong as it is beautiful.

However Alonso, Massa and the entire Ferrari team are under no illusion that this season is going to be a walk in the park. Team principal Stefano Domenicali commented “This will be a very hot championship. It will be a very intense season, just like last year”.

Sebastian Vettel, the current champion, is the man to beat – he narrowly pipped Alonso to the title last year and Vettel knows the Ferrari driver won’t want to see that happen again. The Red Bull driver, Vettel, told a German newspaper that “It starts from zero... of course it will be a very tough season." A clear indication that he isn’t going into the 2011 season with an ounce of complacency.

Vettel became the youngest world champion (at 23) last year and many say that he is under no illusion that the clincher at Abu Dhabi against Alonso was in part down to the wrong pit stop strategy from the Ferrari team. I for one can’t see that happening again this year as the Ferrari team appear more prepared, more determined and more focused than ever. Sebastian Vettel and the Red Bull team are really going to have to step up their game this year if they want to stay on top.

In my mind, Vettel is the one to watch and the one to beat this year. We’ve seen the usual stoking between camps when Alonso told the press last week that he wasn’t bothered about Vettel but instead said his “most dangerous rival” was Schumacher. Pundits say Alonso in doing so revealed what a threat he sees Vettel as, it is clear he was trying to drive the attraction away from the young champ and make an attempt to rain on his parade – but the tactic seemed to have little effect as Vettel played down the remark.

Alonso knows he’s got a mountain to climb if he’s going to de-rail the Red Bull juggernaut because they’re going into the season as champs rather than the challengers and there’s no doubt that gives them the initial edge.

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