February 19, 2016 / 3:28 PM / 3 years ago

Ferrari make the F1 title their 2016 target

(Reuters) - Ferrari showed off what they hope will be a Mercedes-beating car on Friday with the target of fighting for the Formula One championship right to the end of the season.

While world champions Mercedes had their 2016 car running for the first time at a grey Silverstone circuit for a private filming day, Ferrari revealed their red and white SF16-H car in an online presentation.

Team principal Maurizio Arrivabene, who last year set a target of three victories after the sport’s most successful team failed to win anything in 2014, set the bar considerably higher this time.

“Last year the objective was three victories, we got it. But I think this year we need to push a bit more,” said the Italian. “So it’s going to be the championship. At least we would like to fight until the end for the championship.

“I know that’s not going to be easy because our competitors are not sleeping at all,” he added. “But for sure we are all committed to do our best.”

Mercedes have won 32 of the last 38 races, and both the driver and constructor titles for two years in a row. Britain’s Lewis Hamilton, now a triple champion, wrapped up last year’s crown with three races to spare.

Ferrari have not won a driver’s title since Finland’s Kimi Raikkonen, who is still with the team, won in 2007. They were last constructors’ champions in 2008.

Raikkonen, on stage with four times champion team mate Sebastian Vettel who won his titles with Red Bull and joined Ferrari last year, could be in his last season.

The Finn, now 36 and the oldest driver on the starting grid, wanted another shot at a championship.

“I am still the same guy, just some years older,” he said. “So the aim is to do well and have a strong season.”

Testing starts at Barcelona’s Circuit de Catalunya on Monday. The first race on a record 21-round calendar is in Australia on March 20.

Technical head James Allison said Ferrari had taken big steps last year.

“We didn’t have enough power in 2014, we didn’t have enough downforce, kinematics on our suspension were not ideal and our packaging left a lot to be desired as well,” he said.

“We’ve worked very hard, the whole team has worked very hard, on all those areas. Last year was a decent step forward and we hope this car will be another good step forward, another step to make us properly competitive.”

Reporting by Alan Baldwin in London, editing by Toby Davis

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