Ferrari unveils new 'sexy' car for 2015

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MARANELLO, Italy (AP) — After a year to forget, Ferrari unveiled the Formula One car it hopes will help drivers Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen get the Italian team back to winning ways.

Ferrari failed to win a race last season for the first time since 1993. The year also saw three different team principals, while Sergio Marchionne replaced Luca Di Montezemolo as president.

The team is looking to the new Ferrari SF15-T to restore its fortunes.

"The best car is the winning car," team principal Maurizio Arrivabene said on Friday. "Last year, we had an ugly car, and it was a non-winning car on top of this. I like the car this year, in terms of aesthetics. I don't know about the performance but it's really sexy."

While Arrivabene does not expect Ferrari to end its seven-year wait for a title, he has reiterated his demand for at least two grand prix triumphs this season.

"I'm just realistic," he said. "Nobody has the magic to change things when things are unchangeable.

"We applied certain modifications that in our opinion are quite interesting. With that, I don't want to say we are going to win the world championship, but for sure we are committed at least to win two races."

The most striking features of the car are the elongated nose and heavily revised sidepods, and technical director James Allison said they have "made a very useful leap" in both the car design and the engine.

"No one ever said Formula One was supposed to be easy," Allison added. "It will be a very stiff challenge to win races in 2015, but we have made good steps forward over the whole car, and we hope that this work will translate into a notable step forward in our fortunes."

It is hoped the arrival of Vettel, who won four straight world titles from 2010-13, will also rejuvenate the team.

"There is a change in color for me so it's a new experience, but the car looks beautiful," Vettel said. "I can't wait to go on track and see how it feels.

"There is a lot of change going on, a lot of new people in new positions including myself, and it always takes a bit of time to settle in until you really start to make proper progress. I'm confident that we are going in the right direction, but it would be wrong to immediately expect a lot of us."

Vettel, who also had a disappointing 2014, replaced another former world champion in Fernando Alonso. The German will be the first to drive the SF15-T when he takes to the wheel for the first winter test in Jerez on Sunday.

"The most important is that we start getting into the groove quickly in winter testing, and then we start to make progress," Vettel added. "If the situation is like last year, it will be very difficult to really fight for victories, but of course it is our goal, and that's why we're here. We're not here to finish second.

"For us, the main target is to start to really work together, and hopefully catch up more and more as the season progresses."

Ferrari believes it will show a clear improvement in performance from its power unit, starting with the first race in Melbourne in mid-March.

"The increase in performance is significant, but probably still not enough to be at the top level," said the head of Ferrari's power unit department, Mattia Binotto. "It will be difficult to be at Mercedes' level right from Australia. They have such a huge advantage. It's our aim to reach the top teams before the end of the season."

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