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...and a new windtunnel

FERRARI used the launch of the F300 to unveil it long-awaited 150mph half-scale windtunnel at Maranello. The facility will also be able to run with full scale models but at only 100mph. The windtunnel is believed to have cost something in the region of $15m and, according to Ferrari management, will be the first building in what is planned to be a Ferrari "Research City".

The windtunnel, which was designed by architect Renzo Piano, features a 16 foot diameter fan which needs 2000 kW of power to run. The tunnel is fitted with advanced data-gathering and analysis equipment and can simulate every kind of motion encountered by an F1 car.

The tunnel will not be used for some time yet as the calibration process is still going on. Piano's design features the return loop of the tunnel at a different level to the working area and rival aerodynamicists have suggested that this may produce problems with temperature change. Ferrari, however, seems to be very confident that the windtunnel will help to close the aerodynamic gap between the team and Williams.

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