The Ferrari F189 Late Version bodyshell
Unfortunately, the bodyshell is in a sorry condition despite the outer aspect still creating illusion:
The front nose is mostly a mix of lexan and different types of reinforcing solutions, from tape to glue. Just like the rest of the inside, those repairs are covered by one coat of lexan paint plus one more coat of acrylic paint applied with a brush. As for the outside of the bodyshell, it was granted with one generous coat of paint too, this one being the main contributor to the overall illusion (from the distance, at least). Overall, I think this bodyshell is the heaviest of all lexan bodies I ever owned...
Unfortunately, this bodyshell is very hard to source today, either in its original form or the re-released version from 2001. There are no other options but to keep it as it is: I will reinforce it too wherever it is needed and I will also need to apply some little paint touches where the paint flakes.
First runs with the Ferrari F189 Late Version
After this quick restoration, I brought the chassis at the club track:
On the track, the F101 chassis handling is identical to the F102's, that is on this track and in the test conditions for this run. Overall, I think it would be difficult, if not impossible, to differentiate the two chassis running on an outdoor track, using comparable tires and powered by the stock Mabuchi 540 motor. To mesure any difference, you would probably need to push the chassis very hard. And this would definitely require excellent driving skills too. Well, that's not me, and for my leisure and vintage use, I won't look for the ultimate performance anyway.
During this run, I wanted to make a quick comparison with the GroupC chassis of my Jaguar XJR-12, despite the different motor (Sport Tuned) and fresher tires. Despite the two chassis sharing several elements and aging the same or so, the handling and performance are very different. When the F101 is very light and sharp, the GroupC is heavier but much more stable. In both cases, the driving fun is there: you need to be precise and gentle on the throttle but most of all, you need to stay focus. Indeed, these chassis are performing extremely well despite the very reasonable motors and the grip of the tires is so good that the driver soon tries to push the limits lap after lap. However, whenever the chassis reach their limits, either mechanical or due to accumulating the driver's mistakes, the stall is generally violent and mostly unrecoverable. Depending on the chassis setup (the o-ring stiffness), you will loose either the front or the rear drivetrain first, but in both cases, the car will either leave the track or spin. Not the best techniques to improve lap times .
This Ferrari F189 Late Version marks the end of my Tamiya F1 chassis collection for the moment. Apart from the F1 and F2 CS variants (Competition Special) and some F103 variants, I now gathered Tamiya's 20 first years in RC F1. So the recent F104 chassis and evolutions should take some time before they join my collection, first because it does not taste vintage yet, and second, because my enthusiasm for full-size F1 has seriously suffered from the technical evolutions over the last years. As a matter of fact, I can't find that image of “ultimate mechanic” that I used to like in F1 anymore... and the drivers too, they seem to have been transformed into engineers playing the playstation (at 300 km/h, so to speak). Well, just my personal opinion, but to make it short, I am not (yet?) motivated by modern F1 that is associated to the image I have about the F104 chassis. One day, maybe...
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