Although he believes his team has done a reasonable job, in terms of the F138, Chief Designer, Nikolas Tombazis urges his team not to start making predictions.
If the new Ferrari is as fast as it looks, the Italian outfit might well be heading to its first title since 2007. On the other hand, failure could mean a culling in terms of the teams management and design department.
Speaking at the launch of the F138, Tombazis refused to make any predictions. "Recent years have taught me not to say too much too early, so let's wait and see what answer we get from the track," he told the audience.
"I think we have done a reasonable job and we certainly had to make a step up from where we had been in the past few years: the launch specification car, that will run at the first test, has had a relatively small amount of wind tunnel development because it was fixed straight after the end of the season, when we pushed so late on the F2012. However, I believe we will have a strong package for the third test and first race.
"The recent reorganisation of the team after a couple of disappointing seasons had an impact on my position when it became clear that there were too many demands on my time overseeing both the mechanical and aerodynamic aspects," he continued. "In order to alleviate this difficulty, we have created the role of Deputy Chief Designer with two people in this position, each of them alternating car model years. We have also taken on a Head of Aerodynamics and some additional people to improve our methodology on the aero side.
"In turn, my role has evolved to oversee these activities, while freeing up time for me to spend on specific aerodynamic issues and on adopting a more creative approach. Over the last few years, Formula 1 has become ever more sophisticated so one person can no longer do every single thing."
The new organisation is the result of an in-depth internal enquiry into the shortcomings of the team in recent seasons. Apart from restructuring the human element, it also became clear that the wind tunnel, was now in need of some modernisation. "Last year, we had to push on the development of the F2012 right to the end of the year, while initial development of the F138 began towards the end of last season with the bulk of the aerodynamic work being carried out in Maranello," said Tombazis. "We also did some work in an external tunnel in 2012 and all the work for this season's car will be carried out in the Toyota tunnel in Germany while we upgrade the Maranello wind tunnel to bring it up to the right level. It is now quite old and needs upgrading having served us well for twelve years.
"The ideal situation would be to have the wind tunnel right here and I cannot say that using a wind tunnel in Cologne is the perfect solution, but weighing up the medium and long term advantages of having an upgrade on our wind tunnel or carrying on as it was, we concluded that our current strategy was the best. We have taken steps to ensure communications and logistics are as effective as possible in 2013. But still, wherever the wind tunnel, the most important thing is to have good ideas and aerodynamic development and a good facility."
A name, that will be unfamiliar to most outside the walls of the Ferrari factory, alongside a job title that is also unfamiliar and new to the Maranello team: Simone Resta is now Deputy Chief Designer. "I started my Formula 1 career with the Minardi team, where I spent a few years, he explained.
"Then I moved from Faenza to Maranello, working for Ferrari, first as a designer, then as a coordinator for a group of designers, followed by a time as head of Research and Development, before taking on my current role with the responsibility of coordinating the 2013 car project. In this role, I report to Nikolas Tombazis and to Pat Fry.
"As from this year, the design team has been split into two groups: one for this year's car and one for next year's," he continued, indicating that the F138 can be seen as his first car. "There were very few changes to the regulations, but nevertheless we chose to work on and modify all aspects of the car, trying to move forward in every area, because we felt there was a significant amount of performance that could be gained with this new car. I would say the biggest changes relate to the front suspension, which has an improved layout, while at the rear, the suspension is completely new. We also have a revised sidepod design, aimed at improving the aerodynamics in this area, as well as a completely new layout for the exhaust system.
"The car we will race in Melbourne will be quite different to the one seen at the launch and the first test," he continued. "In the past few weeks we have improved and indeed in those ahead of us now, we can improve further, the performance of the car, which guarantees that the F138 in Melbourne will be significantly different to the F138 at Jerez... and hopefully quicker. I am reasonably happy with the car so far as there was a significant performance gap to be closed, something which we cannot deny, but I think we have done a good job in all areas, trying to cover all the weak points of its predecessor."
Check out our F138 launch gallery, here.