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