The 2012 Scuderia Ferrari F2012

Just keep repeating “function over form” in your head. Do this over and over again until you become so unphased by the car, it’s as if it doesn’t exist.

We knew the nose height regulations were coming. We knew that it would affect the appearance of the cars. But I always assumed Ferrari, of all teams, would find a way to work around this. They have after all built the most beautiful car, currently on the road, the 458 Italia.

The caporegime arrived in their twin Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8’s to unveil the team’s latest creation.

Maybe you love it. Maybe you love everything Ferrari puts their name on, like beanies and cologne. Sure the thing looks great in red and I’ve always admired how Ferrari have strayed away from plastering massive sponsorship logos all over the sides of their cars (think McLaren). But this is not a pretty car. Even Team Principle Stefano Domenicali admits it.

Well, actually, it’s not really so pretty from my personal perspective.

So what exactly do we have here? Is this like the Gumpert Apollo, shameful to look at, but brilliant to drive?

The looks really don’t matter. Yes, it’s a great topic of conversation, but the only thing that truly matters is how this thing gets around the track. Those are the exact sentiments that Ferrari have. For a car to be this ugly, you better believe that it’s going to be competitive, otherwise they wouldn’t have built it. The Italians are obsessed with style and appearance and it no doubt, pains them to look at that step up nose.

The trend for 2012 is a much narrower body and Ferrari have implemented that into their own design. The side pods have been reduced and the ban on exhaust blown diffusers has also put the rear on a diet. The F2012 is so skinny in fact, that Ferrari have had to design a slimmer transmission to accommodate the body shell.

The  front suspension is a “pull rod” design to improve airflow from the front wing, which is an evolution of the design Ferrari were testing last year, on the 150 Italia. Remember the same wing that would violently rattle every time the car was at speed? As for the rear wing, it remains mostly the same from last year.

Stefano Domenicali has claimed that the team are taking a more aggressive approach in 2012, as competition between Red Bull and McLaren grow more fierce. Only time will tell on how good this car really is. For now the Ferrari test track is covered in snow and their scheduled demonstration has been postponed. The reality for 2012 is that 6 World Champion drivers, in 5 different chassis will be on the grid and that’s going to make for an extremely exciting season. Felipe Massa’s contract is up at the end of this year, so there’s no doubt he’ll be driving for his job.

Photos courtesy of Ferrari & Ercole Colombo.

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