The 2007 represents a new beginning for Ferrari: the Schumacher era, which officially began in 1996, comes to an end at the end of 2006, after intense battles, unique joys and bitter defeats. Ferrari is back from an exceptional 2006, coming back to Alonso's Renault, considered unbeatable after the absolute domination of the 2005 season.
The team led by Jean Todt had managed to find the right place, putting the Spanish World Champion in charge on the ropes, giving the feeling of being indisputable. But the technical problem of the Suzuka Grand Prix will direct the 2006 World Championship in the direction of Renault, and the romantic ending that everyone was looking forward to, with Schumacher World Champion in his last year in Formula 1, will vanish in a flash.
But in Maranello they will be able to roll up their sleeves right away, presenting themselves at the start of the 2007 season with a competitive and high-level single-seater, which no longer had to cope with Renault, but with the arrembante McLaren, driven by Fernando Alonso, who changes his shirt at the end of the 2006 season, and rookie Lewis Hamilton.
And the new Ferrari driver, Kimi Raikkonen, comes from the Woking team: the Finn with McLaren had highlighted his qualities, and he was entrusted with the place of the Michael Schumacher, sharing the garage with Felipe Massa.
The safety step forward
The F2007 has some changes from the aesthetic point of view: the 2007 cars must in fact comply with the new sporting regulations, which include new measures designed for the safety of the drivers.
The novelties include systems, both on the front and on the rear, which are much more progressive, with the addition of even a lateral structure, positioned at the sides of the riders, made of composite material.
Compared to the previous year, the weight of the single-seaters has consequently increased by about ten kilos, but for Formula 1 safety has always been a fundamental aspect for the Circus, also to the detriment of performance on the track.
Changes to the chassis
During the winter of 2007, hard work is being done in Maranello to take the concepts presented the previous year with the 248 F1 to the extreme. The introduction of a new front suspension, the changes to the bellies and their inlets, due to the new cooling system, a new air intake, represent some of the main novelties of the F2007.
Compared to the 2006 single-seater, the new Ferrari has a longer wheelbase, and has a decidedly more tapered rear, thanks to the lower area below the gearbox which is much more hollow than the 248 F1. The gearbox, always positioned in the longitudinal position, boasts an innovative clutch system, thus speeding up the change of seven gears. Over the course of the season, Ferrari also works hard to debut a new rear suspension, thus trying to maximize its efficiency and make the most of the 2007 tires.
A revisited engine
The engine is always equipped in a longitudinal position, keeping the basic structure unaltered, already seen with the homologated units at the end of the previous season. However, thanks to a permit granted by the Federation, Ferrari makes changes compared to the frozen version at the end of 2006: in practice, the new 056 engine was born with a combustion chamber and with valves and intake ducts revisited, with the intent to optimize the torque curve of the engine, with the regulatory limit set at 19.000 rpm.
To increase reliability, the Ferrari's engineers also introduce a new piston, a new piston pin and re-designed cooling jets. To integrate the revised 056 to the new single-seater, the fluid inlet and outlet ducts were also modified.
Ferrari has always been a reference in the motor industry, but in Maranello the technicians work significantly to increase the performance of the engine, mindful of the failure encountered in Suzuka the previous year, thus trying to improve reliability, an aspect that except for the 2006 Japanese Grand Prix, he hadn't bothered Ferrari since the 2000 French Grand Prix.
A dizzying season
The F2007 has to deal with the fearsome McLaren MP4-22, a car born and developed well, giving the Red a hard time throughout the year. Against all odds, during the course of the championship the Woking team finds itself in the lead not with the established Alonso, but with the young Lewis Hamilton.
Paradoxically, it is probably this unexpected that complicates the British team's run-up to the world championship: a strong rivalry immediately arises between the two-time world champion and Stevenage's young talent, which will often lead to questionable episodes.
During qualifying of the Hungarian Grand Prix, for example, Hamilton will not respect the order to exit the pits imposed by his own wall, overtaking Alonso on the track. An action that will send the Spaniard into a rage, asking the team to intervene immediately.
Despite the warnings of Ron Dennis, Hamilton will not respect the instructions, and Alonso will therefore decide to return to the pits first, and not to restart as soon as the pit stop is finished, remaining stationary on the pitch for several seconds. In fact, this action will take away Lewis' material time to take to the track for his second attempt in Q3.
The strong tension between the two drivers, however, will not prevent Hamilton from reaching the penultimate Grand Prix of the season, in Shanghai, with a conspicuous advantage over Raikkonen in the standings: a fifth place is enough for the Englishman to be crowned world champion with a race. advance.
But at the entrance to the pit lane, Hamilton ends his run on the escape route, swallowed up by gravel. A twist that will favor Kimi Raikkonen's comeback: the Iceman, with his F2007, will win both the Chinese Grand Prix and the final round of Interlagos.
In Brazil, Ferrari will triumph, but above all it will win a double of fundamental importance, because with Massa's second place Alonso will only arrive third, and thanks to Hamilton's seventh place, Raikkonen will win the Formula 1 World Championship with only one point ahead of both McLaren drivers, bypassing them in the standings at the very last Grand Prix of the season.
The 2007 World Championship still represents one of the most unpredictable and breathtaking seasons in the history of Formula 1, while the F2007 has rightfully entered the hearts of Ferrari fans, because in addition to having consecrated the phenomenal Kimi Raikkonen, known as Iceman, it still remains the last single-seater of Ferrari to have won the title of Drivers' World Champion.
Simone Pietro Zazza