Formula One: Radical changes in the 2009 season

Racing | December 11th, 2008 by 13
bmw sauber f108

Despite the Honda’s plans to leave the Formula One championship, all the other racing teams are currently placing their monoposts under intensive testing sessions in …

bmw sauber f108 498x330

Despite the Honda’s plans to leave the Formula One championship, all the other racing teams are currently placing their monoposts under intensive testing sessions in order to comply with the new and more restrictive rules imposed by FIA. 

There are radical rule changes for the 2009 championship which include the return of slick tires. In the past decade, tires with four grooves have been used in order to slow down the F1 monoposts as they got progressively faster throughout the 90’s, as aerodynamics became more and more prevalent and the wind tunnels were standard in each time.

By 2004, the cars were at their fastest levels under the current engine regulations of the time which required a V10 configuration of now more than 3.5 liter. 2007 came and the rules have been altered one more time: V8 2.4 liters were becoming the norm.

Fast forward a couple of years, Max Mosley and his FIA board, decided to change the rules once again. In 2009 the aerodynamic rules have changed to ban the use of any winglets, flip ups, or air modifiers on the side pods of the car.

The front wing minimum height has been lowered and the maximum length increased. There is also a restriction of any flaps directly in the middle of the wing under the nose. The rear wind maximum height has been raised and its length shortened.

bmw sauber f108 a 498x331

2009 championship also allows the F1 teams to run a kinetic energy recovery system ( wiki:KERS ). This is a regenerative brake mechanism that captures the heat energy generated under braking and stores it to be used later to power an electric motor to add a “boost” for a determined amount of time via a steering wheel mounted button. The KERS technology is not mandatory and there are various forms being developed. 

Next year races have the most radical regulations changes in years and these will most certainly shake up the order of performance from teams. Underdogs may well have their best chance of scoring wins while its always possible a powerhouse like Ferrari could fall on its face (not likely though).

[Photos: ]

Update: I would like to welcome Al to our BMWBlog family, his technical knowledge and skills are a great addition to our blog. If you have any questions for him, feel free to drop a comment anytime. 


13 responses to “Formula One: Radical changes in the 2009 season”

  1. roffle waffle says:

    awesome, now they’ll have a NAAWS like button !

  2. Lee says:

    Should be an interesting season.

    Welcome, Al.

  3. Gragop says:

    I’m ready for the 2009 season to start in January. Unfortunately – we’re still 4 months out. :-(

  4. Horatiu B. says:

    @Gragop: Any bets? Who do you think will come out strong? Do you think the new changes will help the “show” ?

  5. Auday says:

    If we fellow the curve of development, and the comfortabilty of BMW with the KERS system (versus almsot all other teams who are still not comfortble with it yet) I would say it’s BMW’s season.

  6. BMWF1Guy says:

    Although the visible changes to the cars are the most apparent, the return of slicks seems to be making the biggest difference to drivers. The mechanical grip they offer especially in the slow speed corners is dramatically better than the grooves.

    I think passing will be improved this season, but not a huge improvement.

    Following the off season every minute.

  7. Gragop says:

    @Horatiu B.:

    A lot of people think Hamilton will steal it again, but I’m putting my money on Alonso and Renault – who had a very strong showing in the last bit of the season. That said, I think BMW is a strong contender for 2nd and could definitely fill out the 3rd spot again. I think Kubica will prove to be an even better driver now that he’s back on slicks, perhaps so will Heidfeld. I think Ferrari could lose momentum this season though.

  8. bmwtechal says:

    thanx for the welcome. im excited to be here contributing. i am a BMW and ASE certified technician. i am currently an automotive technician for a BMW dealership in the philadelphia area.
    anyway, i agree with most of your guys predictions. hamilton will not win the driver championship again and poor ron dennis will not get to see another mclaren constructors championship under his leadership. i really like alonso for the drivers titile. in my opion he is one of, if not the best driver on the grid. he is great in giving feedback to the team to produce and fast car. he did it with renault twice. went to mclaren and turned the previous years non winning MP4-21 chasis into the title contendiing MP4-22. he brought renault back from rear of the grid. renault will most likely produce a very competive car this seasoon. BMW Sauber is my favorite for the constructors title. first team to start development on their car. first to track test KERS, and first to track test and almost complete F1.09 chassis.
    i have this strange feeling ferrari will fall on its face. they are not comforatble with the KERS system. i dont believe they are even developing an inhouse unit. i believe theyve contracted magneti marelli, but the wont even track test the system until the F2009 is rolled out for the first time.
    it could be anybodys game.

  9. Auday says:


    Yes Ferrari contracted Magneti Marelli and they are not ready yet. Most teams (including Ferrari and Mclaren) want to delay KERS for another year or at least till late in the season, but BMW will no doubt veto that.

  10. roffle waffle says:

    @bmwtechal: which dealership are you working for? I usually bring my z4 to bmw of the main line or thompson bmw

  11. roffle waffle says:

    oops I meant west german and main line

  12. Gragop says:

    Is anyone else here against the standardization of engines in F1? I know I am.

    I’m also not surprised that a British firm could possibly get that contract either. I know Cosworth makes great engines but I can’t say I’m shocked that under Eccelstone and Mosley a British firm has been tapped.

  13. Horatiu B. says:

    @roffle waffle: I think he would like to stay anonymous, but if you want, I’ll ask him to email you. Would that work?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *