Italy: Attempting to move on after a highly disappointing 2011, Ferrari will introduce their completely revised 2012 car on February 3. Team principal Stefano Domenicali made the announcement on Wednesday at Ferrari's annual winter retreat in the Italian Dolomites.
The unveiling will be held at Ferrari headquarters in Maranello, followed by a shakedown at the automaker's private track in Fiorano, weather permitting.
Fernando Alonso took Ferrari's only victory last year at the British Grand Prix in July. In the drivers' standings, Alonso placed fourth and teammate Felipe Massa was sixth.
Fernando Alonso (right) took Ferrari's only victory last year at the British Grand Prix in July.
This year's first test session is slated for the week of February 6 in Jerez, Spain, while the opening race of 2012 is in Melbourne, Australia on March 18.
Meanwhile, Domenicali also praised Alonso for giving his best last year with a car not good enough to win races.
"You always expect more and more from everyone, but to be realistic expecting more from Fernando than what he did last year is difficult. If he can perform at that level again it would be fantastic. But it has to come from our side and the engineering to make sure we're ahead of the others."
Ferrari's problems in 2011 were encapsulated before their home fans at the Italian Grand Prix in September. Starting fourth on the grid, Alonso put one tire of his Ferrari on the grass to get around McLaren's Lewis Hamilton and then beat polesitter Vettel to the first chicane, but Vettel then went around Alonso on the outside of the sweeping Curva Grande in the fifth lap and cruised to victory.
"(Alonso) really pushed himself over the limit last year," Domenicali said.
"Over the last two years he's spent more time at Maranello than anyone else in my 20 years with Ferrari — that shows how much it means to him."
Domenicali's duty now is to give Alonso a car capable of winning the championship, and he believes Ferrari are on the right track.
"It's a break with the past, with new concepts never used in a previous car," Domenicali said.
"The exhaust system is the biggest change and we've been working hard in the wind tunnel to get some extra performance in that area. But like last year we will only see the real scenario during qualifying in Melbourne — not before — because in testing everyone will try to mask themselves."