Belfast Telegraph

Ferrari finally show their hand for World glory bid

Good to talk: Ferrari’s Mattia Binotto yesterday
Good to talk: Ferrari’s Mattia Binotto yesterday

By Phillip Duncan

Ferrari have become the last of Formula One's major players to unveil the car they hope will end their long championship drought.

The famous Italian team have not won a drivers' title since Kimi Raikkonen triumphed in 2007, while they are without a constructors' championship since 2008.

Ferrari's challenge is set to be spearheaded by Sebastian Vettel, although the four-time world champion will have new company in the sister car following highly-rated Charles Leclerc's arrival from Sauber, with veteran Raikkonen moving in the opposite direction.

Vettel will be under pressure to deliver after his series of mistakes afforded Lewis Hamilton the chance to sew up last year's title with two rounds to spare.

Ferrari are also under new management for the forthcoming campaign as Maurizio Arrivabene was axed in January and replaced by Mattia Binotto, the team's technical director for the last three years.

Ferrari held the performance edge over Mercedes at a number of races last year but, like their number one driver, were guilty of making errors.

Speaking at Ferrari's Maranello headquarters yesterday, Vettel said: "I am looking forward to this year. The team is on the right path, and hopefully, we can continue improving."

Binotto added: "The car is a development from last year, it's not a revolution.

"We simply tried to push again, raise the bar, raise the level, and have tried to be as extreme as we could."

The new Ferrari, the SF90 to commemorate Ferrari's 90th anniversary, will hit the track at Barcelona's Circuit de Catalunya on Monday for the opening winter test following a shakedown at the track tomorrow.

Hamilton, who drove his Mercedes during a shakedown test at Silverstone on Wednesday, begins his quest for a sixth title in Melbourne on March 17.

Meanwhile, Lando Norris insists he will not fall into the trap of F1's champagne lifestyle by declaring: "You won't see me out in London getting hammered."

Norris, 19, will become the youngest British driver in F1 history when he makes his debut at next month's season-opening grand prix in Melbourne.

Just as Hamilton did 12 years previously, Norris will take his F1 bow with McLaren, Britain's most successful F1 outfit, but a team in the midst of a dire run.

But while five-time world champion Hamilton mingles with an A-List entourage, teenager Norris says he would rather stay in at his shared home in Guildford playing computer games.

"I don't like drinking at all," said Norris. "I find the negative effect of a hangover outweighs getting drunk, so I haven't done it for a while, and I don't think I'll get into that. But I enjoy simulator racing more so you won't see me out in London getting hammered."

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