F310B, Eddie Irvine, Argentina 1997 (Minichamps)
Ferrari’s duck ended in 1997 with the new car that, to go by its name, seemed a development of the previous model, but in reality was very different. It might have been more conventional but it was also more mechanically and aerodynamically efficient. Careful perusal of the regulations meant the Scuderia managed to reduce the car’s width and introduce various features that improved its lines. All of the running gear was redesigned and the engine was a development of the previous, known as the 046/2. The seven-speed transverse-mounted titanium gearbox had a new actuation system too. Barnard didn’t see his creation take to the track, however, because he left Technical Direction to the new arrivals, Ross Brawn and Rory Byrne.
It was thanks to this car that the Maranello team came back with a fighting chance for the World title. Michael Schumacher won five GPs (Monaco, Canada, France, Belgium and Japan) and fought it out for the title in the last race at Jerez with Jacques Villeneuve (Williams-Renault) during which a controversial incident saw the Canadian take the honours. However, Ferrari still had 102 points to its name, a result it hadn’t managed since 1990.