Ferrari is hoping to secure its place as the top F1 brand to beat as it fired up its new engine for the first time ahead of the unveiling on Feb. 22.
ESPN described the progress being made on the new engine as a “significant milestone” for the top-notch car maker, which is turn the corner in terms of winning the championship. Despite being synonymous to F1, the luxury Italian car maker only finished second to Mercedes last year.
This year, Ferarri hopes that the new engine, along with drivers Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen, will carry them on top once again.
Sergio Marchionne even agreed to tie up with Alfa Romeo to bring the latter to F1 after more than three decades. The partnership included an “exchange of engineering and technical know-how.”
“This agreement with the Sauber F1 team is a significant step in the reshaping of the Alfa Romeo brand, which will return to Formula 1 after an absence of more than 30 years,” the statement from Marchionne read. “The brand itself will also benefit from the sharing of technology and strategic know-how with a partner of the Sauber F1 team’s undisputed experience.”
Sauber, meanwhile, is optimistic that the new Ferrari engine will bring the brand closer to its dream of smoking the competition. Last year, the Swiss team struggled with contention when it still used the old Ferrari engine.
Sauber team principal Frederic Vasseur said that their car will see vast improvements over last season’s aerodynamics issues. Coupled with the new Ferrari engine, he’s confident of a better showing this time around.
“I think it’s a big leap to have the same engine as Ferrari,” he said. “The team have a lot of confidence and a desire to do well.”
The Swiss team even had to cancel a Honda deal in favor of Ferrari. Vasseur said that he already saw the computer rendering of the car they’re going to use and “it seems very beautiful.”