After twenty-one years of waiting, Michael Schumacher wins his first title with Ferrari, the third of his career after the two won with Benetton. After years of hard battles against Williams and McLaren, Ferrari manages to break the fast: the last drivers title dates back to 1979, a season in which Jody Scheckter prevailed.
In Maranello they had to work hard to overcome the tough competition of the McLaren-Hakkinen duo: to do this, a reliable and fast car like the F1-2000 was needed.
Ross Brawn presents it as the first born of the new wind tunnel, a futuristic structure designed by architect Renzo Piano in which the lines of the F1-2000 took shape, a car that will in fact launch Ferrari towards an era of domination and undisputed successes.
The President Luca Cordero di Montezemolo immediately highlights the great efforts of the men in red, both in the road car sector and in sports competitions: in the exciting year 2000 Ferrari ends the season with both titles won, setting new personal records.
In addition to ten wins, nine by Schumacher and one by Barrichello, nine pole positions and 170 world championship points, the F2000 establishes a new record of points obtained by a Ferrari driver in a single championship, reaching 108.
The team led by Jean Todt is mature and flawless, and the inclusion in the team of Rubens Barrichello in place of Eddie Irvine guarantees greater stability within the team, bringing that serenity that was missing with the Irish driver.
The work closely between Byrne and the engineers
The F1-2000 was designed by Rory Byrne, with the intention of respecting certain technical requirements: the reduction of weight and the lowering of the center of gravity, two aspects that allow the car to fully exploit the potential of the new Bridgestone tires. Furthermore, Byrne can work closely with the engineers headed by engineer Paolo Martinelli.
The goal of the South African designer is to design a single-seater able to adapt perfectly to the engine, without necessarily focusing on total power, but rather exploiting the efficiency that an adequate installation of the engine can guarantee without particular problems.
The objective is fully centered: the V10 called 049 no longer has an 80-degree architecture like the units of previous years, but the widening of the angle between the heads to 90 degrees guarantees a lowering of the heads by 25 millimeters, granting an important advantage from an aerodynamic point of view, since this leads to a substantial reduction in drag.
Small details make the difference
Apparently the F1-2000 doesn't differ much from the F399, but it's the small details that make the first Red of the new millennium an excellent car. Paying particular attention to some details, it is possible to notice its strengths, such as the nose, which remained high thanks to the intuition of the Greek engineer Nikolas Tombazis, who understood, during the experiments in the wind tunnel, that a greater passage of air under the car guarantees an increase in aerodynamic load thanks to the extraction from the rear diffuser.
A completely different philosophy from McLaren's rivals, who, instead, opt for a lower nose than even the 1999 MP4-15. Even the front wing, with two overlapping arrow-shaped flaps, show the careful aerodynamic research desired for the F1-2000, but Byrne's touch of class is noticeable above all in the subtleties present on the chassis.
Ferrari chooses performance
According to the new directives imposed by the FIA, in 2000 the cars must be characterized by minimum body sizes to ensure maximum safety values. But the Ferrari technicians prefer to focus on solutions that guarantee the best performance level of the F1-2000, through the creation of two ribs at the edges of the upper part of the body, perfectly adapting to the regulations and guaranteeing an important level of aerodynamic penetration on the rest of the surface.
The side bellies are redesigned according to the new position of the radiators, while the protections around the pilot's head are hollowed to free the passage of flows towards the rear wing.
Finally, the engine hood is narrower, not only due to the lowered V10 but also thanks to the displacement of the oil tank inside the petrol tank. The combination of all these elements will lead to sensational results in Maranello right from the first tests at Fiorano. In fact, the F1-2000 is immediately faster than two seconds compared to the F399.
The end of the fast
The goodness of the F1-2000, combined with the talent of Schumacher, means that the Red can obtain three victories in the first three Grands Prix. But Ferrari's real strength lies in knowing how to adapt perfectly to difficult conditions: in complicated situations the Maranello team always manages to make a difference, adapting perfectly to the weather conditions and traffic on the track.
The Ferrari pit wall, orchestrated by Ross Brawn, will have the ability to always guess the best strategy. All these elements contribute considerably to bringing the Red to the top of the world after two decades, sending the Ferrari environment into a frenzy, which had been waiting for that moment for so long.
Simone Pietro Zazza