There have been some truly incredible Formula One cars made over the years. Whilst some have been downright ugly like the 2014 long-nosed monstrosities, some have been beautiful. In this series, I investigate the history of some of my favourite F1 cars of the last 30 years.
Today I’m starting with the Ferrari F2008.
The Ferrari F2008 was the car which almost carried Felipe Massa to the 2008 Formula One title. It was also the final Ferrari built before the drastic change in regulations for the 2009 season which included the banning of large bargeboards in front of the radiator and under the sidepods, a shorter wheelbase and front splitter, and higher and narrower rear wings. The F2008 was perhaps of the most elegant Ferrari built for a good number of years and carried the team to what remains it’s most recent F1 title, the 2008 Constructors championship.
Unveiled to the public on January 6th, 2008 at Ferrari’s base in Maranello, the car was despite appearances, a complete aerodynamic redesign of its predecessor, the championship winning F2007. Designed by a team headed by four of Ferrari’s most capable staff – Mario Almondo (Operations Director), Aldo Costa (Chief Technical Officer), Gilles Simon (Chief Engineer) and Nicholas Tombazis (Chief Designer) – the F2008 went on to win 8/18 races, 8/18 pole positions and 13/18 fastest laps over the course of the 2008 season. It was the 54th Ferrari built to compete in Formula One.
Ferrari F2008 Key Stats At a Glance:
Engine: Ferrari 056 2398cc V8. Limited to 19,000rpm.
Suspension: Pushrod activated torsion springs
Chassis: Carbon-fibre and honeycomb composite monocoque
Brakes: Ventilated carbon-fibre disc brakes
Transmission: Ferrari 7 speeds + reverse Semiautomatic sequential, electronically controlled, longitudinal gearbox, quick-shift Limited-slip differential
Weight: 605kg including driver
Fuel: Shell V-Power ULG 64 Fuel
Tyres: Bridgestone 13in
Drivers: Kimi Raikkonen and Felipe Massa
After first hitting the track in the hands of Kimi Raikkonen at Fiorano on January 7th, 2008, the F2008 would score its first pole position (Felipe Massa) and race win (Kimi Raikkonen) at the Malaysian Grand Prix. That race would mark a run of 4 straight victories for the F2008 in a run which included wins in Malaysia, Bahrain, Spain and Turkey before Lewis Hamilton and McLaren took victory in Monaco. Kimi Raikkonen’s lap record at the 2008 Spanish Grand Prix would remain for 10 years until it was broken by Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes at the 2018 Spanish GP.
The F2008 would score another 4 race victories in 2008, all in the hands of Brazilian and title challenger Felipe Massa who took the top step of the podium in France, Valencia (European GP), Belgium and Brazil.
The 2008 Brazilian Grand Prix will go down as one of the most dramatic races in F1 history with Lewis Hamilton clinching the title from Felipe Massa by overtaking Toyota’s Timo Glock at the final corner in Interlagos. Hamilton held a 7 point lead over Massa going into the season-ending Brazilian GP, meaning that if Massa won the race, Hamilton would need to finish 5th or higher to win the driver’s championship. Hamilton held 5th going into the final stages of the race until he was passed by Toro Rosso’s Sebastian Vettel on lap 69. With Massa winning the race, he would momentarily take the title and with it, Ferrari’s second driver’s championship in as many years before Hamilton’s move on Glock at the final corner on the final lap swung the title back in McLaren’s favour.
Despite missing out on the drivers crown in 2008, the Ferrari F2008 powered Ferrari to the constructor’s title, beating McLaren by 21 points. It would also go on to score 19 podium finishes in across the course of the season, the highest out of any other team on the 2008 grid. The car also proved to be the best over a single lap. Felipe Massa clocked the highest average starting position of 2.94 over the course of 2018, with Lewis Hamilton 2nd (3.89) and Raikkonen 3rd (4.39). It’s worth noting however that both Ferrari and McLaren shared the spoils in terms of pole positions with 8 apiece. The other two going to Robert Kubica (Bahrain) and Sebastian Vettel (Italy).
I think it’s fair to say the F2008 deserves its place in modern F1 history. The last car (currently, at least) to win an F1 title for Ferrari was one of the most striking, elegant and sleek designs I’ve ever seen in F1.
Not many teams in F1 can capture the imagination quite like Ferrari, and not many cars can do it better than the F2008. Comment below if you agree! Or let me know what car you would like to see me cover in the next instalment of F1 History.