Under the skin of the Ferrari F1-2000: Red revolution

In 2000, Michael Schumacher became Ferrari’s first F1 World Champion since 1979, but how much of that title was down to the car? Doug Nye delves into the inner workings of their F1-2000

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Twenty-one years ago, Ferrari returned to the pinnacle of Formula 1 achievement, adding the Drivers’ World Championship for Michael Schumacher to its second consecutive Formula 1 Constructors’ title, which itself was its 10th overall – matching its Drivers’ Championship total. Such double success came after a further 21 years of what in Drivers’ Championship terms had certainly been disappointing failure, more than 340 races since the Italian giant’s previous double-title domination of the F1 scene, with Jody Scheckter in 1979.

Here we present Tony Matthews’ magnificently revealing cutaway artwork commemorating Ferrari’s double title-winning car for that memorable season, the F1-2000. It has been described as being perhaps that year’s most innovative design. Only the high nose of the 1999 Ferrari F399, its underside even higher, plus the general suspension layout and gearbox construction type had been retained.

Ferrari F1-2000 illustration

Ross Brawn, Rory Byrne and Paolo Martinelli led Maranello’s contemporary technical team – Ross as direttore tecnico, Rory head of vehicle planning, and Paolo the engine specialist. This trio had been recruited for Ferrari by Jean Todt through 1995-97, Martinelli first, followed by Brawn then Byrne, the ex-Benetton engineers whose cars had carried Michael Schumacher to his first two world titles in 1994-95.

Through the seasons of 1997-99 Ross Brawn would consider Ferrari always to have been in catch-up mode, starting the opening race a half second or more off the pace (most notably of McLaren) and relying upon Schumacher’s skills to help compensate. Through 1999 its Ferrari F399 had taken the Constructors’ title, but Schumacher’s opening-lap crash at Silverstone when his car’s rear brakes failed and he broke a leg, missing six high-summer races, foiled Ferrari’s Drivers’ Championship ambitions. Team-mate Eddie Irvine stepped up late season, but Mika Häkkinen duly clinched the crown for McLaren-Mercedes.

In Drivers’ Championship terms, Ferrari’s breakthrough year then became 2000, the latest F1-2000 car winning first time out for Schumacher in the Australian GP, then completing a hat-trick with further consecutive wins in Brazil and at Imola where Brawn’s two-stop strategy and a stunning drive by Michael brought Ferrari home-soil victory.

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Before the 2000 Italian GP (race 14 of 17), Schumacher trailed Häkkinen by six points but a crucial win at Monza brought him to within two points

McLaren struck back with David Coulthard and Mika Häkkinen winning the British and Spanish GPs, before Michael responded on his home ground at the ersatz Nürburgring. Coulthard took Monaco, Schumacher’s F1-2000 Canada. Coulthard and Häkkinen added McLaren wins in France (where Schumacher’s engine ran a bearing) and Austria, Michael’s team-mate Rubens Barrichello scored his highly emotional breakthrough victory with his F1-2000 at Hockenheim, before Mika struck back with McLaren wins in Hungary and Belgium.

Suddenly Ferrari’s season seemed to be unravelling. But it then exploded as every one of the final four GPs fell to Schumacher’s F1-2000 – Italy, the USA, Japan and Malaysia. He clinched the Drivers’ title in the penultimate round, the Constructors’ in the final. For Maranello’s men it was mission accomplished – an immense achievement after such a long and (in the late-1990s) a so-demoralising wait.

Eight Ferrari F1-2000 chassis identities were built – one fewer than the F399s the previous year. They were numbered from Ferrari F1-2000 chassis 198 to 205. Their use – and achievements – are detailed here, beginning with 198 which spent most of the year as the team’s T-car and primary test hack, only pressed into service for the Monaco GP when the left-bank exhaust broke and burned the rear-suspension pushrod link to failure.

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Maranello in 2000… the Scuderia’s extra man hours over its rivals paid off

Conceot and design thought on the Ferrari F1-2000 had begun in March/April 1999 after analysis of the contemporary F399’s performance against its competitors’ new cars plus – of course – detail evaluation of the coming year’s new FIA regulations. The hunt for omissions and loopholes was on!

Targets were set to reduce structure weight so that as much ballast as possible could then be added as low as possible within the coming car, and which could then be placed to tune car balance and handling. Degradation rate of the Bridgestone tyres was closely studied to identify optimum wheel camber and toe stiffness. Ferrari’s wind tunnel was working three shifts seeking any and every advantage, since in recent years McLaren aerodynamic performance had been considered superior.

The forthcoming new Ferrari’s carbon-composite monocoque fuselage carried a redesigned V10-cylinder engine, forming the rearward half of the load-bearing structure, accepting all rear suspension, tractive and torsional inputs. When Formula 1 had returned to a 3-litre capacity limit in 1995, the V10-cylinder engine format was adopted as the optimum to combine combustion and thermal efficiency with neat packaging and a good length/cross-section structural compromise. Very short-stroke design enabled the crankshaft to be lowered within the power unit, providing a lower centre of gravity height, pursuit of which also led Martinelli’s design group to consider a wider vee-angle than the V10’s traditionally ideal 72 degrees. Initially Ferrari had gone from that included angle between the engine cylinder banks to 80 degrees in their 047 unit, which had a CoG height of 204.5mm (8.05in). Modification to the still-80-degree 048B V10 spec then cut 7mm off that height, while Martinelli’s new 90-degree 049A V10 design for 2000 – Ferrari’s sixth V10 iteration – slashed it to 187mm (7.3in).

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Schumacher’s title came here at the Japanese GP

The engine featured classical twin overhead camshafts per cylinder bank actuating four titanium valves per cylinder with a pneumatic spring system. The underside of each shallow, large-diameter piston was in part cooled from below by carefully directed oil sprays. Obviously by 1999-2000 the era of onboard management unit computer control was well advanced and one F1-2000 system it handled involved variable-length intake trumpets to provide optimum torque delivery, while throttle and gearbox control were both drive-by-wire, freeing the monocoque design from having to accommodate rigid rod or cable linkages.

Ferrari’s 049 V10 would rev to 18,000rpm, and developed some 823bhp at 17,500rpm. Both crankshaft speed and power output were new records for Maranello. This engine drove through a seven-speed semi-automatic sequential-change longitudinal transaxle. Its lightweight carbon-composite structure accepted suspension loads while the titanium gear case beneath and to the rear also supported the rear wing and regulation impact structure.

“Ferrari’s 049 V10 developed some 823bhp at 17,500rpm”

From its winning debut in Schumacher’s hands at Melbourne, with team-mate Rubens Barrichello second, relatively few changes were made to these F1-2000 team cars. Five front wing designs were used, introduced at Melbourne, Imola, Montreal, Hockenheim and Suzuka, three rear wings and three diffuser planes – one virtually standard for most of the year, for the faster circuits and another for Spa. In France, McLaren-like sidepod air-relief chimneys appeared but were not raced until Hungary, then Malaysia, while flip-ups were added ahead of the rear wheels.

Up to 70kg of tungsten (much denser than lead) ballast was carried to ensure the car always hit the 600kg minimum weight limit if checked. Two vee-shaped pieces mounted into each side of the under-nose splitter section, and to reduce rear tyre wear at Silverstone 30kg in a tungsten slab was carried further forward in the leading-edge of the horizontal underfloor.

At Melbourne the cars had run in near pre-season launch configuration with F399 front brake cooling ducts. New wings, enlarged brake intakes and air vents appeared in Brazil, while thin 21mm brake discs – against the standard 28mm, saving 500g per disc – were run in qualifying. The rear brake calipers clasped each disc from beneath, further minimising centre of gravity height.

For Imola still bigger brake ducts were used with a new rear wing. At Monaco maximum downforce wings were of course applied, maximum power-steering lock was enabled for the hairpin and the suspension arms reinforced against potential kerb (or barrier!) damage.

In Canada the front suspension pushrod was remounted directly upon the wheel upright, and changes made to both front and rear wings. In France a new low-friction Stellite underfloor ‘plank’ was introduced plus new barge boards abaft the front wheels. For the European GP at the Neue Nürburgring the front wing had reduced chord, the rear diffuser more channels. The potential heat of the Hungaroring brought in the sidepod chimneys, and for Spa amongst aerodynamic mods the latest 049Bspec engine was raced, while a small brush on the rear brake calipers swept carbon dust from inside the wheel rims. For Monza a reduced-chord rear wing emerged, and for the US GP at Indy a Spa-like spec was adopted. At Suzuka a new wing derived from one tried in practice at Spa was run and in steamy Malaysia that same setup, but with the Hungaroring hot-race chimneys re-adopted, was used.

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The world number one at Suzuka, although due to wet conditions, Schumacher had a cautious race.

Ferrari’s winning edge – those 21 years ago – involved successful combination of so many factors. Maranello demonstrated wise expenditure of a huge budget. Ferrari’s test programme included 125 days of development work against McLaren’s 77, some 19,610 miles of running against the Woking team’s 14,358. Ferrari’s engineering was simultaneously pragmatic, evolutionary, cutting-edge and immensely capable. Jean Todt’s slick organisation combined with the talented combo of fellow boyhood aero-modellers Ross Brawn and Rory Byrne, plus Paolo Martinelli and all their staff to regain preeminence for the prancing horse.

Brawn’s strategic nous, developed from his years of sports car endurance-racing with TWR Jaguar, merged with Schumacher’s outstanding class and Barrichello’s fine supporting job to bring home the bacon. And today without doubt Ferrari F1-2000 chassis 205, with its four consecutive GP wins, all from pole position, the last pair both Championship-clinching, and chassis 200 with its three wins, plus chassis 201 and 203 with their single Schumacher win each, not to forget chassis 202 with its unique Barrichello breakthrough victory, are amongst the most coveted of all modern-era Formula 1 collectors cars.

None other than Peter Wright, of pioneering BRM and Team Lotus ground-effect fame, produced a book with Tony Matthews on these cars – Ferrari Formula 1 published by the late, lamented David Bull in 2003. I hugely recommend it…

 


Ferrari Tipo 651 F1-2000 spec

Wheelbase 3075mm
Front track 1457mm
Rear track 1416mm
Overall length 4503mm
Overall width 1798mm
Weight Under 463kg/1020.74lb (without ballast and driver)
Minimum running weight 600kg/1322.77lb

Tipo 049 engine 90-degree V10 cylinders
Block Investment-cast aluminium-silicon
Heads Sand-cast aluminium
Crankshaft Vacuum-cast extruded steel – six main bearings, tungsten balance weights
Bore 96mm
Stroke 41.4mm
Compression ratio 12.0:1
Unit weight Less than 106kg/233.6lb (in 049C-spec, including clutch)
Induction Gear-driven twin-overhead camshafts per bank – 4 inclined valves per cylinder – pneumatic return-spring system
Engine management Magnetti Marelli
Ignition Magnetti Marelli digital electronic

Max power 823bhp @ 17,500rpm
Max torque 35kg/m – 253.15lb/ft @ 15,500rpm
Max rpm 18,000

Transmission Longitudinal titanium-case electrohydraulic semi-automatic 7-speed

 

 

Ferrari’s season stats

In total, eight chassis (198-205) were raced in 2000, with Schumacher using six and Barrichello four

Chassis

Driver

Race

Result

Qualified

Total chassis use

198 Schumacher Monaco Rtd Pole 3054 miles (including T-car and testing)*
199 Barrichello

 

 

Australian
Brazilian
San Marino
British
Spanish
2nd
Rtd (hydraulics)
4th
Rtd (hydraulics)
3rd
4th
4th
4th
Pole
3rd
8750 miles
200 Schumacher

Barrichello

Australian
San Marino
British
Spanish
European
German
Malaysian
1st
1st
3rd
5th
1st
Rtd (collision)
3rd
3rd
2nd
5th
Pole
2nd
2nd
4th
3167 miles
201 Schumacher Brazilian 1st 3rd 8173 miles (race meeting and testing)
202 Barrichello

 

European
Monaco
Canadian
French
Austrian
German
Hungarian
Belgian
Italian
4th
2nd
2nd
3rd
3rd
1st
4th
Rtd (fuel pressure)
Rtd (collision)
4th
6th
3rd
3rd
3rd
18th
5th
10th
2nd
4413 miles
203 Schumacher

Barrichello

Canadian
French
Hungarian
American
Japanese
1st
Rtd (engine bearing)
2nd
2nd
4th
Pole
Pole
Pole
2nd
4th
2757 miles
204 Schumacher Austrian Rtd (collision) 4th 698 miles (race meeting and testing)
205 Schumacher Belgian
Italian
American
Japanese
Malaysian
2nd
1st
1st
1st
1st
4th
Pole
Pole
Pole
Pole
2040 miles

*Ferrari-approved figures quoted in 2001