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Ferrari ready for Red Bull fight

Fernando Alonso is hoping to stop Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel from winning a fourth straight drivers' title.

Story highlights

  • Ferrari has launched its new car for the 2013 Formula One season -- the F138
  • The name relates to the current year and the car's V8 engine
  • Ferrari hoping both Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa can challenge for the title
  • The F138 will make its track debut at the first preseason test at Jerez in Spain next week

Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa are desperate to exorcise the heartache of last season -- and now Ferrari thinks it has the car to do just that.

The Scuderia unveiled the new F138 at Maranello Friday with team boss Stefano Domenicali in bullish mood ahead of the season-opening Australian Grand Prix on March 17.

Ferarri's Alonso lost out in painstaking fashion last year after Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel became the youngest ever triple world champion, winning the title by just three points.

Formula One 2012: Ferrari

But Domenicali insists Ferrari can catch Red Bull this year -- as long as it makes a fast start when the lights go green at Albert Park.

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"The key objective is to immediately deliver a competitive car to the drivers," Ferrari team boss Domenicali told reporters.

"Unfortunately in recent seasons we have not been able to get to the start of the season right on top of what we are doing like our competitors.

"We need to be competitive from the start of the season."

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The new car will make its first appearance at a preseason test in Jerez, Spain, next week with Felipe Massa guiding it around the track before Fernando Alonso gets his chance in Barcelona on February 19.

There are a few changes to last year's car with Ferrari retaining the front and rear pull-rod suspension, while the rear of this year's model is narrower and more tapered.

It is expected that there will be changes to the car's aerodynamic package in the weeks leading up the Australian Grand Prix.

Ferrari 'right' to retain Massa

And Domenicali is hoping the change of car will help his team overcome the disappointment of missing out on the drivers' title on the final day of last season.

"We have come from a season which was very difficult from an emotional point of view. To come second at the last race is always difficult," he said.

"But we have already forgotten those things which left us with regret last year and we have started improving on the positive aspects of 2012 such as reliability and strategy during the races.

"There are plenty of things that allow us to look forward to the new season."

In other F1 news Friday, Caterham said that Dutchman Giedo van der Garde will join their driver line-up for the coming season.

The 27-year-old, who has been racing in GP2, will team up with Charles Pic of France.

"Everyone in the team is delighted," said Caterham principal Cyril Abiteboul.

"He acquitted himself extremely well in both his GP2 season and in his six free practice sessions, giving us the clear justification for promoting him to F1."