BMW Sauber F1.09 – Official launch

Racing | January 20th, 2009 by 9

The highly awaited official launch of the new BMW Sauber F1 monopost, took place today in Valencia, Spain this morning. This year, Formula 1 introduces …

The highly awaited official launch of the new BMW Sauber F1 monopost, took place today in Valencia, Spain this morning. This year, Formula 1 introduces new rules and regulation, many that will influence the outcome of this championship. Underdogs may well have their best chance of scoring wins while its always possible a powerhouse like Ferrari could fall on its face.

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.

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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. 2009 championship also allows the F1 teams to run a kinetic energy recovery system ( wiki:KERS ).

Stew from BMWF1blog will report some more later today and give us a more detailed analysis.

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In the mean time, here is the press release along with some photos:

BMW Sauber F1.09

Valencia, 20th January 2009. The BMW Sauber F1 Team raised the curtain on its 2009 season in Formula One in Valencia this morning. Robert Kubica (24) and Nick Heidfeld (31) unveiled the new BMW Sauber F1.09 shortly after nine o’clock. Kubica then took the car for its first lap of the southern Spanish circuit. The team goes into its fourth season with the ambitious aim of fighting for the World Championship title.
BMW Motorsport Director Mario Theissen reinforces the point: “We have set ourselves the task of further improving our performance relative to the rest of the field. The 1-2 in Canada and a total of eleven podium finishes in 2008 set an exacting standard. In 2009 we are looking to maintain our first-class reliability record while at the same time enhancing our performance levels so that we can be at the front of the pack on a consistent basis. We are aware that we are aiming extremely high. This is the final step in our development, and that’s generally the hardest one to take.”

Building the new car represented a massive challenge. Fundamental changes to the regulations have, in many cases, consigned the fruits of experience to the dustbin. Development work on what is a radically different race car got underway even earlier than usual. Indeed, the concept phase for the BMW Sauber F1.09 began back in February 2008. The 2009 car cuts a very different figure from all of its predecessors. Its nose is higher and much wider than before. The huge front wing consists of three elements and stretches across the full width of the car. The rear wing, on the other hand, is considerably slimmer – in line with the new regulations – and stands unusually high against the onrushing air. Intricate aerodynamic add-ons, such as air deflectors and cooling air exits, have been reduced to a minimum. Other eye-catching features include the sidepods, which are now higher at the front.

2009 also marks the return of treadless tires or slicks to Formula One. These will deliver increased front-end grip, which makes moving more weight to the nose of the car an attractive proposition. Counteracting this, however, is another new development which the teams have the option of introducing in the upcoming season: KERS (Kinetic Energy Recovery System). The component parts of this technology add extra weight at the rear of the car. Alongside aerodynamics and the optimum use of the slick tires, the integration of KERS represents another key challenge for the engineers. To this end, the front axle has been modified and the rear axle is a new design.

Willy Rampf is responsible for the F1.09 concept and will oversee operations at the race track in his capacity as Technical Coordinator. Managing Director of BMW Sauber AG Walter Riedl will lead the technical department at Hinwil in Switzerland and has responsibility for the development of the car.

While the chassis is the work of the Hinwil team, the KERS technology has been developed in Munich. There, Markus Duesmann (Head of Powertrain) and his team also have the job of preparing the BMW V8 engine for the extra mileage stipulated in the regulations. Each driver is allocated eight engines for the total of 17 races in 2009.

It may be all-change in terms of the engineering behind the car, but the men behind the wheel will be the same as in 2008. The BMW Sauber F1 Team will once again line up on the grid with the Pole Robert Kubica and German Nick Heidfeld as its driver pairing. And 26-year-old Austrian Christian Klien also stays with the team as test and reserve driver.

The team’s race drivers both demonstrated impressive reliability in 2008. Kubica racked up the most points for the team. The Pole added his name to the list of Formula One race winners in Canada, brought home the team’s first pole position in Bahrain and also notched up three second places and three third-place finishes during the course of the season. For 2009 he is hoping “that we are as strong at the start of the season as in 2008 and that we can maintain this level of performance up to the final race.”

Kubica’s team-mate Heidfeld, meanwhile, collected four second places and recorded the team’s first two fastest race laps in 2008. Looking ahead to the new season, he says: “The team started work early on the wide range of changes. I’m confident that we’re in good shape and am looking forward to the first race, when we’ll see whether the balance of power has shifted at all.”

The BMW Sauber F1 Team has conducted intensive preparations for 2009 as it attempts to achieve its latest ambitious aim. These have included early testing with KERS and new aero elements. “In the three years since the BMW Sauber F1 Team was formed, we have always met the goals we set ourselves and are confident that we can do so again this season,” explains Theissen. However, no matter how motivated the team may be and how much development work they have behind them, gauging their progress against the competition has never been so difficult – as Theissen acknowledges: “You can plan your level of performance, but not your results.”

9 responses to “BMW Sauber F1.09 – Official launch”

  1. Gragop says:

    I didn’t realize Heidfeld is so old. He’s ancient in F1 Driver years.

    Here’s hoping for a good year, especially for Kubica.

  2. Auday says:

    31 is not old in F1 years :) Micheal was 38 when he retired. Nick is an experienced driver and he is very good in giving feedback to the engineers, so he is a good asset to the team.

    I hope this year is THE year, BMW was consistently developing over the last 3 years and if the F1.09 goes on the same curve of development BMW should be right there to win races and fight for the Championship, especially that it looks like they are the only team that have a good reliable KERS so far.

    I think Kubica is as good as the top line (Alonso, Hamilton, Massa and Raikkonen) but he just needs to shutup and drive, he’s been so critical of the team and Dr.Theissen was very patient and humble with him. Hopefully he would do more driving than talking this year and show his best to take BMW to where it should be.

  3. Matski says:

    Well time for me to wheel out my old F1 stories again…

    Having breifly met both Heidfeld and Kubica (and Klien for that Matter), I’ve got to say that they’re all really nice blokes.

    At Silverstone testing back in 06 I was hanging around the BMW paddock area, Rob walked from one of the trailers right past me so I stopped him and asked if he’d mind signing my BMW Sauber cap for me, at this stage he was only the 3rd driver so I guess he didn’t get that much attention. He obliged, said hello and stuff.. I asked him “so when will you be getting Jacques seat then?” Jokingly – as I never liked JV – he just laughed, smiled, and wondered off….

    … the following year, I was again at F1 testing, again hanging around the paddock area, Nick was being interviewed by RTL in the fenced off team area, but I thought I’d hang around none the less.. sure enough when he was done with the camera crew he came over to see the fans, I still had the same cap that Kubica signed so I thought I’d get him to sign it too, there were quite a few people jostling to get his autograph (most of the just signature-hunting scum, not actually BMW or Heidfeld fans), I past him my cap and a marker, when some chav-F1-tourist pretty much grabbed his arm to get them to sign there copy of F1 Mag – he gave them the worst evil-stare, stepped back from the barrier so he could sign the cap neatly, then gave it back… … it’s the little things like that that you remember.

    Klien at the time was with Red Bull, I shook his hand and said hello, he seemed like a bit of a ‘pretty boy’, and he didn’t really stop to chat, he’d just ventured out of the motorhome to get his mobile from his car (a Golf GTi)…

    .. also met/shook hands with: Jenson Button, Rubens Barrichello, Kimi Raikkonnen, Tonio Liuzzi, Christijan Albers, David Coulthard, Nick Fry, Christian Horner, Alex Wurz and Christiano Da Matta, I’ve also been knocked off my feet (nearly) by Alonsos Bodyguard and Juan Montoya himself has completely blanked me…

    … the moral of this story is that paying £250 to go see the British Grand Prix is the BIGGEST MOST MASSIVE WASTE OF MONEY EVER…. pay £10 per day for testing, F1 on track all day, access to paddock area and pits at lunch time.. for 3 days.

    … EXCEPT F1 has made the worst decision ever and banned testing. The one time the real F1 fans could get close to these guys!

    And that’s my Formula 1 story.
    The End

  4. Car Tuning says:

    with these new rules in F1 and new cars i hope we will see thrilling races with more drivers racing for to win. I don’t know if BMW could compete with Ferrari and McLaren but they will surely win a couple of races this year and rank really well.

  5. Gragop says:

    @Car Tuning:

    I think they’ve got a fighting chance. If Raikonnen is as off his game as he was for a lot of last season and Massa has lost his will to win then you may see Ferrari drop back in the field while I expect to see Renault move up the field with BMW.

  6. Horatiu B. says:

    @Matski: Yup, add to that list Nigel Mansel, Ayrton Senna, Hill, etc… all older drivers. I think experience can be very important in winning a race.

    Younger drivers: faster, more adventurous and impulsive, but less experience.

  7. Tom says:

    I hope BMW made lots of spare nose/front wings, as I don’t see too many surviving Turn 1.

  8. Bike trader says:

    The highly awaited official launch of the new BMW Sauber F1 monopost, took place today in Valencia, Spain this morning. This year, Formula 1 introduces new rules and regulation, many that will influence the outcome of this championship.

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