Formula 1

Ferrari reveals the SF15-T

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Ferrari have become the latest front-running team to launch their 2015 car, the SF15-T.

After several years of disappointing results, the pressure is on new team boss Maurizio Arrivabene to start delivering an upturn in performance and this year he has a designer making his first real impact, the opportunity to develop an under-performing engine and a driver eager to prove a point as he starts life away from Red Bull.

Can Allison move Ferrari forward?

Looking at the car, it continues the trend for new front nose designs despite last year's design being the only one that would have been legal for this year.

Instead the new Ferrari features a much longer nose and also the elephant trunk-style slope between the chassis and the tip has also gone replaced with a much more gradual drop to meet the new height restrictions.

As I've mentioned with all the launches so far, the Ferrari you see now is more than likely not the same Ferrari you'll see at Jerez when testing begins on Sunday and then further development will take place between testing and the first race in Australia, but the rear bodywork appears to have been completely re-designed in an attempt to direct as much airflow as possible towards the rear diffuser.

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Indeed there is a lot of expectation that the new SF15-T can be a major step forward aerodynamically for Ferrari given it is the first car completely designed by James Allison. The British designer was the man behind the Lotus cars that Kimi Raikkonen won his two races in since his comeback in 2012 and there are hopes the 'Iceman' will find this first all-Allison Prancing Horse much more to his liking.

Engine development crucial

However, it is also under the bodywork where Ferrari needed to improve dramatically for 2015.

Given the Scuderia's history of mechanical superiority over aerodynamics their new V6 turbo hybrid was inferior to their rivals in a lot of areas.

Weight, fuel consumption, the ability to recharge the ERS all of these were arguably where Ferrari were last of the three engine suppliers last year and in terms of power they were at least second behind the all-conquering Mercedes.

New faces, renewed motivation

Away from the car it has been a time for reform for Ferrari in the boardroom and in the pit-lane.

Sergio Marchionne replaced Luca di Montezemolo as chairman and Arrivabene is the third different team principal in nine months. Pat Fry and Nikolas Tombazis were also fired and on the track there is another major change with a four-time world champion switching from Red Bull blue to Ferrari red.

Sebastian Vettel's announcement he was leaving the team he had dominated F1 with for the past four seasons was one of the biggest shocks of 2014. However, on reflection, the decision to leave Red Bull was probably the right one for Vettel's long-term career.

There have been reports quoting Red Bull team boss Christian Horner as saying Vettel nearly quit F1 altogether last year, but it was always known then when he had had enough in Milton Keynes the opportunity to follow his hero Michael Schumacher to Maranello was never going to be bypassed.

The German will bring a renewed motivation, a new energy that was perhaps dwindling as Fernando Alonso's frustration grew and the knowledge that Vettel brings after working with Adrian Newey could also help move Ferrari forward.

Ferrari must start progressing

However, with Vettel there is also a huge pressure to get things right as was seen with the way he left Red Bull. With the Renault power unit proving uncompetitive and Daniel Ricciardo amazing everyone by beating the German, he left at the first opportunity and if the results don't come within a couple of years, I doubt very much the 27-year-old will have the patience Alonso had.

Therefore this year is all about showing progress and building the foundations for a prolonged title challenge in 2016 and beyond.

My expectations for Ferrari this year is that they will be in a group with Red Bull, McLaren, Williams and also Lotus battling for best of the rest and gradually closing the gap down to the Mercedes up front.

If that doesn't happen then questions really will need to be asked if the most iconic team on the grid will ever return to the top again.

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