Motor Racing: Barnard recharges prancing horsepower: Ferrari's radical new car threatens a revolution. Derick Allsop reports from Maranello
John Barnard, in his second spell with the team, has followed his innovative instincts to create a car he hopes will bridge the gap which has yawned between Ferrari and grand prix racing's finest over the past three years.
His latest offering to the sport - all red again after the addition of a white band to last year's model - was completed for this first public showing in the small hours of yesterday. It incorporates radical changes to the aerodynamics, a more compact, fabricated gearbox and a stiffer chassis.
Barnard, generally bracketed with Patrick Head, of Williams, as the best car designer in the business, said: 'I have tried to open the doors to new areas of development and improvement. I'm optimistic that's what we've done.
'Every time I finish a car I think I could have done this or that to make it even better. I always feel I could go back and start again. I always think the problems that can arise rather than the good things. But I think there are features of this car which will take us forward and may well be followed by other teams.'
No one here doubts that Ayrton Senna and the Williams-Renault will be the combination to beat this coming season, but there is a feeling that the most famous and evocative name in racing is about to figure among the winners again. The drivers, Jean Alesi and Gerhard Berger, will be hugely disillusioned if they are not competitive.
Optimism has filtered through to the supporters, who gathered outside the Centro Civico for a glimpse of the car 412T1 as it was loaded into a truck to be transported to the nearby Fiorano test track. Serious testing begins next week.
Luca di Montezemolo, the charismatic president of Ferrari, was uninhibited in his enthusiasm for the future. He said: 'These rituals are always a little official. Even Alesi is cautious] But we are re-founding Ferrari.
'We are fighting enormous odds and have to rise to the challenge. The spirit, the commitment and the enthusiasm are to put Ferrari back into the victory lane this year and go for the championship in 1995. I have endeavoured to put together the best team possible. We have got the organisation, the drivers and now a fabulous car. The conditions are perfect. This is our goal and our determination.
'All of us have a passion for Ferrari, people around the world have a passion for Ferrari and all are waiting for a winning Ferrari. We have a debt to these people. We realise what it means to people. It is not only the myth of Ferrari, it is the respect for Ferrari, and this has been worked for. We wish to go back to our illustrious past. Now words must give way to action.'
Montezemolo stressed, as Barnard, the team director, Jean Todt, and the drivers also stressed, that the 412T1 was '100 per cent legal', complying with this year's regulations. They were less convinced that McLaren's new car would satisfy the scrutineers.
McLaren and, more forcibly Williams, have expressed their fears of favouritism by the authorities towards Ferrari. This may well be only the opening shots of another technical wrangle. Berger, for one, was more interested in considering the prospects for racing. The Austrian said: 'The best car I have driven for Ferrari was in 1989. The same man has designed this car.'
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