The F138 is the fifty ninth car built by Ferrari specifically to take part in the Formula 1 World Championship. The name comes from a combination of the current year and the number of cylinders, to mark the fact that this is the eighth and final year of competition for the V8 engine configuration.
The project, which goes by the internal code name 664, is the first design to come from the reorganisation concerning working methods that has been in operation for several months, with the creation of two distinct groups of designers: one working on this car and the other on the completely different car which will race next season. This car constitutes the Scuderia’s interpretation of this year’s Technical and Sporting Regulations, which in fact are substantially the same as those from last season. Therefore the F138 can be seen as an evolution of the F2012, in terms of its basic design principals, although every single part has been revised in order to maximise performance, while maintaining all the characteristics which were the basis of last season’s extraordinary reliability.
The design philosophy of the suspension layout has not changed and it continues to use pull-rods both front and rear, but it has been refined to the limit, in order to gain as much aerodynamic advantage as possible, especially at the rear. The bodywork elements have been redesigned to allow for changes to the positioning and layout of the exhausts. The dynamic air intake, mounted above the cockpit has been redesigned, as have been the intakes to the side pods, which in turn have also been optimised in aerodynamic terms, while maintaining unchanged the overall cooling system.
With only twelve days of testing available before the start of the Championship, the preparatory work on the test benches prior to the car’s track debut, has taken on even more importance. The three test sessions – at Jerez de la Frontera and Barcelona – will allow the team to get to understand the behaviour of the F138 and to adapt it to the new Pirelli tyres: in fact, tyre use is an area that has seen a lot of work both at the design stage and in its management at the track. Also very important and something that will not only be restricted to the winter months, has been the effort invested in areas that could influence the result of a Grand Prix, such as the team’s pit stop work, reduction of time spent going through the pit lane, strategy management and the start procedure.