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F1 2009 - The Official Thread


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Avert your eyes!!

The 2009 cars are fugly beasts because of the new technical regulations for this season. Today, Ferrari were the first team to unveil theirs and Massa has been giving it a test run:


If this is what the Ferrari looks like, don't expect any of the other teams' cars to look any prettier.

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Toyota's next up.

You absolutely HAVE to watch this launch trailor. Some really fantastic acting by Jarno Trulli:


Almost as good as Bayern Munich's 2008 kit launch for comedy value!!


Anyway, to the car. Another huge rear wing, I think this may be a feature of the 2009 cars:



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Lewis Hamilton's new machine:


The McLaren team on Friday unveiled their new challenger for the 2009 season, the Mercedes-powered MP4-24.

As the Ferrari and Toyota unveiled so far, the new McLaren's look is dominated by its very wide front wing and very narrow rear one.

McLaren boss Ron Dennis said the new regulations have forced the team to work evern harder to get the car ready.

"Of course it is the same for every team so we can't say the challenges are any less demanding for the competitors," said Dennis. "Extensive rule changes require extensive amount of work - these are the biggest rules changes we have seen in 15 years.

"That requires the technologists in our organisation, they are not just engineers but scientist with high qualifications, to go back to a plain piece of paper and conceptualising what the fundamental requirement are for the regulations.

"It is there you can get it wrong because if you get it wrong no amount of development can sort it out. What you see in the MP4-24 is a car correctly conceptualised.

"At the same time you are trying to make a good looking car, that is a value we put high, if it looks good it goes good, so what you see is a tremendous outcome from a lot of people, it is a credit from not just the technologists but the other people, this is a fully running car that can run on a circuit tomorrow.

"But this is a second car, the first is already at Portugal, so we feel we are in a good position to attack the time up to the first grand prix. It will be a critical time because it will set the baseline for the rest of the season."

Mercedes motorsport boss Norbert Haug said the company had never had to work so hard.

"I think it was one of the most challenging winters," said Haug. "We have a frozen engine but the rpm changed to 18,000 and KERS is brand new. This is a lot of work that was put in the right direction.

"The guys were working very, very hard, flat out, and the amount of work in Brixworth and Stuttgart we have never had before, and the same at Woking - it is a dramatic rule change and a complete new set of rules and I think these guys created a fantastic car. Hopefully we will see the first good results tomorrow."

The car sports the number one following Lewis Hamilton's championship-winning campaign last year.

"This is the first time I've seen it fully put together and it looks beautiful," said Hamilton. "The team manages to always put together a stunning car and it's great to see the final outcome of the work that has gone on."

Teammate Heikki Kovalainen added: "I echo Lewis' thought. It looks great. Whatever the regulation changes are the team have managed to make a beautiful car."

The new car will be shaken down by test driver Pedro de la Rosa tomorrow.

"The first day of a brand new car is a very interesting day for all of us and an exciting day," said the Spaniard. "As a I said at last year's launch I am honoured the team gave me the chance and responsibility considering the amount of work.

"We have to do the first laps and start working from there. It is the usual work of the shakedown day - it is going to be a very hectic test schedule before Melbourne and I hope with my experience I can help the team.

"It is the ninth package I can drive so I can say I am experienced. Hopefully this experience is worth it."

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And, the worst looking car so far by a country mile. I give you the new Renault (aka Bignose)!







As if the large nose-cone wasn't bad enough, they've given the thing the most garish paint job I've seen on an F1 car for years - they've stolen London's Olympic colour palette!


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The BMW is here. Great move having their launch the day after Renault. After early winter testing it was predicted BMW were going to come out with the most ugly car for years. It's not pretty, but compared to the Renault it's not bad at all.



I love the fact that this new set of rules have lead to so much variation in how the cars look. I mean, you compare the McLaren with the Renault, for example, you'd swear they were built in completely different seasons. No two cars look the same, or even that similar this season. It's entirely possible that some teams may have got things very wrong and others very right; it'll be pretty exciting to see.

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I get where you're coming from, but this season could be really good. The technical regulations have changed so much - the biggest changes in 25 years - that these cars are not an evolution of last years (as is normally the case) but completely new. We could easily a big team struggling, or a small team having a blinding season and finishing up near the top.

All cars must comply with the new rules, which include aerodynamic modifications making front wings bulkier and rear wings taller and narrower. Slick, untreaded tyres are also being reintroduced after 11 years on grooved tyres. All this could lead to much more overtaking.

The politics in F1 is bullshit - complete and utter bollocks to be frank - but I wouldn't let that put you off what promises to be a really intruiging season.

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Two new bits of good news for a change:

Honda look like they'll almost certainly be bought out and will be running Mercedes engines (link) which is great news!

Also the ridiculous rule closing the pitlane during safety car periods, which ended up punishing drivers who were unlucky enough to have their scheduled refuelling stop at the same time as an accident, looks like it will be changed. (link)

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A better pic:


Red Bull have said they expect to be in the fight for race victories in 2009 as they unveiled their new car on Monday.

Sebastian Vettel, who is to put the first miles on the new Renault-powered RB9 later in the day, unveiled the car alongside team-mate Mark Webber.

And team boss Christian Horner said there was "no reason" why the team could not join the fight at the front.

"The new rules present an opportunity for teams to compete on a more level playing field," Horner said.

F1 bosses have introduced major changes to the cars in an attempt to make overtaking easier and improve the quality of racing.

And Horner believes his design team, led by the highly-regarded former Williams and McLaren engineer Adrian Newey, are in a good position to capitalise.

Vettel took the first victory for a Red Bull-designed car last year when he won the Italian Grand Prix while driving for junior team Toro Rosso.

"There is no reason to believe we cannot do that again with these new rules," Horner said.

"The regulation changes almost constitute a new formula for the sport and it will be interesting to see how the teams interpret them."

Newey's new car was one of the year's most eagerly anticipated - he is regarded as one of F1's most innovative designers, as well as the most highly paid.



A fabulously good looking car this one.

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Senna signs for Honda?

According to our sources Bruno Senna has now signed for the Honda Racing F1 team - and an announcement that the team will be going ahead will be made soon. The team is expected to use Mercedes-Benz engines and Senna will be partnered by Jenson Button. Backing for the team - the name of which has yet to be announced - is expected to come from Petrobras and probably one or two of Senna's personal sponsors.

It is not clear when the announcement will be made.

There have been some rumours in recent days that the team may have the backing of none other than Bernie Ecclestone. This would not be a surprise as Ecclestone is keen to make sure that the teams are not unanimous within the Formula One Teams' Association (FOTA) and having a financial interest in one of them is a good way to ensure that this happens.

It is believed that the majority of the money to run the team will be coming from Honda itself as it is cheaper to pay to keep the team alive than it is to lay off all the staff.



Be interesting to see how Ayrton's nephew gets on and great to hear Jenson could be on the grid next season. But the interesting, and potentially worrying bit about this is Ecclestone's involvement. A massive conflict of interest there possibly.

From what I've been reading on the testing of the new cars, the Renault sounds like an absolute dog of a car at the moment and the Red Bull is matching the McLarens for pace; whether that means the silver cars are slow or Red Bull are going to surprise everyone, or whether it's just early testing times which have no relevence, we'll have to wait and see.

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