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Ferrari launches 'ugly duckling' F14T

Maranello, Italy - Former world champions Fernando Alsonso and Kimi Raikkonen on Saturday helped unveil Ferrari's new F14-T car that the Italian team hopes to power to Formula One glory in this year.

Ferrari's 2014 model, unveiled at the Scuderia's Maranello headquarters, features a number of modifications to fall in line with the many changes introduced for the new season by the International Automobile Federation.

The 1.6-litre, turbo V6-powered F14-T, its name chosen in a vote of more than a million fans, was launched on the team website ahead of pre-season testing that starts in Jerez, southern Spain, on Tuesday, 28 January.

Its 'broken' nose, with a pronounced hump in the middle section before drooping wide and low, offered a different solution to rival offerings seen so far - more dolphin than anteater.

If far from the most beautiful car produced by the most glamorous of teams, it need only be a winner to be loved after a difficult 2013 for Ferrari.

NEW BEGINNING

Alonso, who won two world titles with Renault in 2005 and 2006, replaced Raikkonen at Ferrari in 2010 as the Finn, who had won the title with the Italians in 2007, went on to take a break before returning with Lotus.

In his four years with Ferrari so far, Alonso has had to settle for three runner-up places and one fourth (in 2011) amid Sebastian Vettel and Red Bull's grip on the sport.

Raikkonen's return alongside Alonso, however, coupled with the new changes, is expected to herald a new beginning for Ferrari as they seek to loosen Vettel's four-year stranglehold on the title.

“Are we the strongest team? We hope to be.”

Raikkonen, who scored a third and then a fifth place with Lotus in his two previous years after returning to the sport in 2012, said: “We have the desire to win but only time will tell if we can bring the title back to Ferarri.”

The 34-year-old Finn missed the final two races of 2013 to have back surgery.

"Did I miss driving a Formula One car? Not really," he said in typical deadpan fashion. "It was nice to have a break. I had to have a small operation done and didn't really have a choice. I wanted to be 100 percent as pain-free as possible for the coming season."

Formula One will introducing a new V6 turbocharged engine this season with complex energy recovery systems that represent the biggest technical upheaval for at least a decade. Reliability, particularly early on, will be crucial.

“We need to stay very focused.”

Team principal Stefano Domenicali said he was expecting the first days of testing to be challenging for all.

"The most important thing that we have to avoid is to fall under the big pressure that we have.

For Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo, only one result will do at the end of the season.

“Even though we're the only team in the world who, when we come second, it's considered a defeat, we're fed up with finishing second,” said Montezemolo.

He added he was confident the team had all the ingredients to be successful.

"Now is the time to win," he said.

ALONSO ‘CURIOUS’

Alonso, whose contract with Ferrari will expire at the end of 2014, said: “We've had opportunities to win, especially in 2010 and 2012 so I hope this year we will deliver.”

The Spaniard added he was “curious” to see how the new rules changes in the sport would affect driving performances.

“For sure, the many changes made for this year will mean changes, with regard to driving styles; I'm curious to know what effect this will have on Formula One. I'm sure we'll find out soon.”

The 19-race season will start with the Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne on 16 March. Ferrari will begin testing at Jerez in Spain this week.

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