Originally Posted on SJB Supercars - http://www.sjbsupercars.com/single-post/2016/02/20/Ferrari-and-Williams-Launch-their-2016-F1-Cars-The-SF16H-and-the-FW38

February 20, 2016 | Sean Smith

Two of Formula 1’s longest serving and most successful veterans have revealed their new competitors online to the world, but will Ferrari and Williams be able to pose a true threat to Mercedes? Sean Smith reports.


The F1 train is beginning to kick itself into gear now as the first 2016 pre-season test is only a matter of days away. The latest new cars to be revealed were from the 2nd and 3rd place teams of last year, one looking familiar, the other also familiar but only if you can remember back to 1993.

Williams were first to blink. Out of the blue they launched images online of their FW38 and to the untrained eye many fans would have been very disappointed. The car looks almost the same as last years. Not helped by the fact the colour scheme is the only one unaltered from 2015 so far, you had to look very closely at the front wing and side pod turning veins to spot the surface development over the old car. Williams have swapped their “open” turning veins for ones that loop onto the side pod top surface like most other teams and the front wing looks ever more complicated with tiny flairs and winglets, very similar to last years. But like the Renault, don’t be surprised if it changes by Australia or even the first test.

Williams say they have worked heavily on the 2014 and 2015 cars shortcomings on low speed grip and resultant wet grip issues where the cars of Felipe Massa and Valtteri Bottas would slip back through the order as soon as the heavens opened. We saw at the tail end of 2015 that the team were already trying to aid weakness but 2016 will be the first true test as to if the work will pay off.

Rob Smedley and Claire Williams have both expressed that the team will be hard pressed to finish 3rd in the standings for a 3rd year running as the more heavily financed Renault, Red Bull and McLaren Honda teams look to jump up the grid, plus Force India will have to be a threat as well as they showed a generally stronger pace towards the last couple of races. Williams may still be able to hold them all off though with their obvious understanding of the Mercedes engine, the greater prize money they will be receiving from Formula 1 for their 3rd place finishes in the standings and the fact they have two of the best and closest matched drivers on the grid but time will tell.

Secondly, this time expected, came the online launch of the new Ferrari. It doesn’t need to be repeated that Ferrari had a resurgent year in 2015 ending up a clear 2nd in the standings largely due to Sebastian Vettel and his 3 wins, so the new car has to impress as many hope 2016 can be the red cars return to the very front. Except, the new SF16-H is not exactly red. Ferrari instead has returned to a colour scheme that was last used, for 1 year, in 1993. The car is mostly red, but with a distinctive white area around the driver cockpit and the engine bay. I personally love it.

The SF16-H is much more distinctly different to its father, the SF15-T. Aside from the better colour scheme the new car has had aerodynamic changes all the way from the nose to the rear. Starting at the front, Ferrari have thankfully ditched the old super long nose that hung over and beyond the front wing and regressed it back to look a lot like the Red Bull design from last year with a large thumb hovering over the main plane of the wing, sculpted nose pylons which attach to the back of the main plane and then the FIA design directed arching nose cone up to the rest of the car. The Ferrari still sports the periscope front TV cameras ahead for the suspension, an idea copied from Mercedes. Ferrari have also changed from pull-rod to push rod front suspension for the first time in 5 years and the front turning veins and winglets below the car have all been upgraded and re-profiled to account for the new front wing and nose designs.

Further back the car has incredibly tight rear engine bodywork packaging, the side pods look to have been trimmed in as well and a lot of work has gone into the louvres around the cockpit and on the rear floor of the car small changes also include the redesign of the side pod inlets, the sculpting of the turning veins and barge boards, and minor edits to the rear wing. Ferrari’s designer Simone Resta has certainly gone into detail with this car which would have been his first fully open plan car after he was chief designer of the SF15-T which in itself was derived from the awful F14 T. Shades of the old cars still remain but generally the car looks the most convincing of the 4 2016 entrants we have seen so far. Ferrari have openly stated that their engine is considerably different to before and believed to be another big step up and from these initial images at least, I’m beginning to feel a little bit more relaxed over my £5 bet on Sebastian Vettel.


Tell us your thoughts on the new Williams and Ferrari, do you think either of them can challenge Mercedes for the championship this year? Get in touch with us on Facebook search SJB Supercars or Twitter @SJBSupercars and follow us on Instagram.



(Images courtesy of ferrari.com, flaviogomes.grandepremio.uol.com and williamsf1.com - please click on the images for the original sources.)