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Formula 1:BMW Sauber Winter Testing and the F1.08b

Racing | November 24th, 2008 by 5
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This article was written by Stew, a talented and passionate writer for BMWF1blog, the largest BMW Sauber F1 related blog. It’s now time to introduce the …

This article was written by Stew, a talented and passionate writer for BMWF1blog, the largest BMW Sauber F1 related blog.

It’s now time to introduce the new 2009 Formula 1 technical regulations on track. Under these new regulations, the cars look radically different than what we are use to with no winglets, space aged movable front wings, funky ‘horns’ etc. What we are to expect is a vastly different looking car with the looks almost taking a backward step with regard to aerodynamic technology, but what has been reintroduced is slicks and it’s about time!

The idea is to improve the spectacle of F1 racing for the fans and first and foremost is overtaking which has become more of a pit strategy than an on track overtaking manoeuvre. There are many great circuits used in Formula 1, but with the advancement in aerodynamics these circuits have become host to a high speed 56 lap or so parade where qualifying and pit strategy offer the only opportunity to move toward the front of the grid. The solution was to change the regulations so drastically that almost a complete car redesign was needed.

Our first look at the ‘new look’ F1 car took place last weekend at the Catalunya Circuit in Barcelona in the first official test weekend for 2009 and BMW Sauber was the first to shock the F1 world by introducing a sort of hybrid car with many experimental parts and called the F1.08b. What we expected was a new look F1 car, but the new look had fans everywhere shaking their heads and saying ‘what on earth is that’? At first I was one of those fans when I had my first look at the F1.08b on track and had to quickly get the images of the F1.08 out of my head. The F1.08b has a much higher and narrower rear wing and a very large and wide front wing somewhat like a snowplough and gone are the aerodynamic flanges seen all over the previous F1.08.

Formula 1:BMW Sauber Winter Testing and the F1.08b

The other important introduction is KERS (kinetic energy recovery system) that has been looked at before on this blog. Initial developments were a little rusty with one BMW Sauber mechanic suffering a heck of a shock when he touched the KERS equipped car in the pits. That issue seems to have been dealt with although a warning decal can be seen on the car as a reminder that this car is ‘hot’.

Formula 1:BMW Sauber Winter Testing and the F1.08b

Test driver Christian Klien, along with Nick Heidfeld, and Robert Kubica were all involve in this past 3 days of testing and all had good things to say about the performance so far. Times were better than anticipated and the slicks offered much more grip in the slow speed corners which was to be expected. Nick Heidfeld likes KERS and says the boost it gives when hitting the button is quite noticeable, somewhere in the range of an additional 80 hp.

Although the car as we see it now will undergo many more changes over the next few months, the starting point is a good one and motivation is high at BMW Sauber.

Get use to it folks, no more of this:

Formula 1:BMW Sauber Winter Testing and the F1.08b

  • Gragop

    I don’t think it looks all that bad. Considering how tall and cartoonish Ferrari’s 1975-1976 312 F1 car looked, this thing is gorgeous. Also, I’m glad slicks are back!

    If they want to make F1 enjoyable again the go back to the 1968 to 1973 seasons and just use those cars again. Let’s bring back the Ford DFV V8!

  • Lance

    Sorry but that first car, which is suppose to be what next year’s car will look like is disguisting. It doesn;t look high tech at all. It is way out of proportion and it is just not what F1 is for me. F1 is suppose to be the peak of motorsport and if they keep on bringing all these stupid rules and simplification into the sport, then it is not motorsport and tech and racing at the highest level.

    I expect an F1 car to be full of technology, full of fins to enhance aero, extremely well proportioned and be an attractive car. If not it is not F1 and I will not waste my time watching it. I’d rather watch production cars racing.

  • Gragop

    @Lance:
    You’ve got a point about F1 being the pinnacle of automotive technology. It’s true and a significant amount of technology has filtered down from F1, especially for Ferrari and McLaren and BMW’s M Division using V10s from the 2006 season as the heart of the M5. F1 has been the top tier of technology and racing almost since it was started in 1950.

    That said, you need to consider the actual sport itself, outside of it’s technical prowess. It’s has become boring to watch. I didn’t get into F1 until 2005 when pitstops and qualifying were the extent of leader changes for the last 3 seasons. Finally, for the 2008 season with the removal of a lot of electronic drivers aids, the races actually seemed competitive with teams like Williams or Red Bull making it onto, and sometimes at the top of, the podium for much more enjoyable and watchable races.

    F1 finds itself in the awkward position that whoever has the deepest pockets has the upper hand on technical developments, which is good for technology, but bad because it nearly pre-determines the races. All the FIA is trying to do is keep the series competitive to keep fans interested in it – which I’m OK with even if it means stripping out some of the technology. I was on my feet yelling watching the end of the Spa race and then the same watching the Sao Paulo Grand Prix – that’s how I want to feel watching every race, even at the cost of new technical developments or ugly cars. Just look at the technical changes from the 1969 to 1972 seasons – especially with Lotus and the Lotus Type 72.

  • Gragop

    Also – I may be in the minority here in saying this, but I’m glad the wings and winglets of last year are gone – seriously, having a wing or blade on every surface helps?!

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