BMW F1.08 vs Concept F1.09

BMW F1.08 vs Concept F1.09

Already the comments are coming in on the look and feel of BMW’s potential 2009 racer, and mostly, it’s considered pretty ugly. The flatness of the front combined with the skinny and tall rear makes the car look less sleak and more early-’90s than some of us would care to remember. A couple of people have expressed some likeness to the car, and others have questioned what exactly it is that is so bad about it. Of course, BMW are governed by the new rules of the sport, so I imagine most cars are going to look similar to this in the coming months.

On Twitter, BrightMeadow asked

what’s wrong with it? Other than the slightly odd looking square spoiler (? maybe) and whatever-the-front-nose-bit-is-called.

While Gnorb suggested

You know, that’s what my razor blade would look like if you attached wheels onto it.

And on, Sidepodcast said

by far the ugliest and stupidest f1 car i’ve ever set eyes on

So for comparison, here are a couple of images showing the ’08 and potential ’09 cars together. I tried to get as similar view as possible, and while the BMW F1.08 wasn’t exactly the prettiest of machines on the grid this season, I think it’s still better than their 2009 offering.

F1.09 Concept on top, F1.08 on bottom.

F1.09 Concept on top, F1.08 on bottom.

The front wing is very flat, low and wide. While the lower the wing the better they generally look, I had become accustomed to the contoured wings of recent designs, curving their way around the nose and tapering off at the endplates. The rear wing is also much nicer when it is lower than the engine cover, giving a nice finish to the car. I like all the bits and pieces sticking out at all angles, and I like shapely wings that look more complicated than what they actually are. When a 2008 car is stationary, it looks fast and sexy. I don’t think the 2009 cars are going to have the same effect, somehow…


  • I wouldn’t mind the front wing if that was the only change. But then you see the rear wing and it just throws the whole thing into the yeugh category.

  • Even the T-cameras on the airbox are uglier. What’s going on Formula One!?

    But then you see the rear wing and it just throws the whole thing into the yeugh category.

    The more I look at, the more I see how the rear wing is just the ugliest thing. I think you’re right Christine; if it was one or the other, it wouldn’t be so bad, but both wings does send it straight into the “yeugh” category.

    Also, if you remove the wheels and driveshaft/suspension assemblies, it does look a little like my Wilkinson Sword razor – the nose being the handle, the rear wing being the blades. Ah man, I’m never gonna shift that imagery now until this time next year…

  • No more creativity

    To be fair, Arnet, BMW are highly unlikely to reveal their 2009 car this early in the off-season. What you see above is merely a concept – the actual 2009 car will look a little different, and I hope, more creative. Having said that, the teams are constrained by the rules of the game, and they seem to be very anti-creativity at the moment.

  • I think these changes will take a while to get used to – anything different always looks strange at least at first.

    Personally, I don’t particularly like the look at the minute but if it leads to closer racing, actual ability to overtake and suchlike then I’m sure I’ll come to love the new look!

  • but if it leads to closer racing, actual ability to overtake and suchlike then I’m sure I’ll come to love the new look

    So here’s a question then…

    …was there not enough overtaking this season? Personally, I thought there was just enough. I mean, Valencia was crap, as were a couple of other races, but on the whole, there was plenty to keep me occupied.

  • Count me in as one of those who doesn’t mind the new look. Especially if it doesn’t grow too many appendages. I never liked The 08 chassis with all those extra bits sticking out from all over. They look like warts to me.

    On the radical side, when’s Bridgestone really going to go green (in the environmental sense, not that silly stunt they pulled with the stripes), and make tires that’ll last an entire race, or even an entire weekend, or dare i say 3 weekends to match the engine life?

  • On the radical side, when’s Bridgestone really going to go green […] and make tires that’ll last an entire race, or even an entire weekend, or dare i say 3 weekends?

    Bem, what you doing? Don’t go putting ideas into Max’s head. Formula One isn’t green, it isn’t meant to be green. It’s meant to be fast, hard and courageous. The day F1 becomes a pathetic advert for planet-saving activities is the day I switch off and sell BlogF1. (And yes, I am well aware that day might be already be upon me.)

    Don’t worry, I’d never sell. Well, not yet anyway. 😉

  • it looks a lot less streamline

    Okay, Esther doesn’t like it, that means it really is bad! [ollie_whisper]Esther drives a new Mini.[/ollie_whisper] 😛

    I know what you mean though, it isn’t as streamlined, or aerodynamic or as good-looking as its predecessor. It just doesn’t look as fast as a Formula One car should.

  • To me it looks like a 2004 front (with 2000 wings), a 1991 rear wing (minus the extra chords) and a 1997-ish remainder. I wonder if this mixture of retro bits is why some people don’t like the look of the machine.

  • Bring back 6 wheeled cars!!!

    Actually, I think if they just changed the supports on the rear wing a bit, it would look much better. At present, the rear wing looks too much like a box with two sides missing. If, instead of having the straight up and down wings, they had them flare out a bit (like the 2008 car was), it would look much better.


  • That’s absolutely hideous. And that’s not the worst part: it looks so damn slow! It has the other lower formulae looks.

    Ever since I laid eyes on the Williams prototype, and now this Bimmer, I’ve been the saddest person 🙁

    This really looks terrible. It looks so bloody… american…

  • Ollie,

    I don’t know if it is good or bad publicity to Formula 1, but another point is that the ultra technological Formula 1, the pinnacle of the motorsport is under an odd situation where we have the new cars looking much older fashionable than the previous ones. Very, very odd…

    I don’t know if Steve Jobs would love this new “clean design” but Ron Dennis has made an interesting statement about form and function:

    “…My first comparison is between a state-of-the-art Formula 1 car and the Lockheed SR-71 ‘Blackbird’. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, so they say. Well, I think they’re both beautiful – but their beauty resides in the beholder’s realisation that their form follows their function. No ornamentation for ornamentation’s sake. Not one stylist was involved in either design. Just form following function. And the result is beauty.

    But, going further than that, the Lockheed SR-71 ‘Blackbird’ has always fascinated me because, like a state-of-the-art Formula 1 car, it’s an expression of what at first sight seems an unusual and perhaps incongruous combination: namely, big-picture thinking, rapid development and attention to detail…”

    – RON DENNIS –

    I love this speech…

  • That’s preciselly what I say, the form of a F1 challenger follows its need of going as fast as possible with as much grip as possible. And the result is a thing of beauty.

    You take that indy car mold and put it on a F1 and you have all the 2009 F1 cars 🙁 so so sad!

  • Right…sooo…

    What is this Gp7 series with 200cc peddle engines…

    These things look HIDEOUS…I am so disgusted and appalled….I was looking forward to seeing the new Renault´but this issss…Eeeeuuww..

    Somebody should have a word with whoever is responsible for this……


  • Hmm, not too keen on the new look it has to be said. I agree with a lot of people, when it comes to that rear wing – it does look like a lower formulae car. One question which isn’t apparent from the photos – have the bargeboards gone?

  • See, I actually prefer this seasons car. No, please don’t throw rotten fruit in my direction!

    My only reservations are to the finishing of the wings, especially the front wing. The end bits remind me of nothing more than the cross-section of an iron girder! As for the back wing, at the moment is has a slight cardboard-box quality to it, but as you pointed out, this is a concept.

    All in all, I don’t mind it. I agree most with Becken in these comments. Simply put, it is because it looks so much more pared back. All those extraneous twiddly bits on the 08 car bugged me – I always felt it looked over designed.

  • have the bargeboards gone?

    @Ishy: Yes, the barge boards have gone. There are some more photographs in this post which show the car from a variety of angles.

    All those extraneous twiddly bits on the 08 car bugged me – I always felt it looked over designed.

    @Cas: To be fair, the 2008 cars were probably over designed and over engineered. The new Williams doesn’t look as bad as the new BMW, so maybe I’m being a bit harsh. They’re gonna take some getting used to though, that’s for sure.

  • Really… I like the clean design in a general way, but… the ratio between the car size and the “wings” size are too wrong…

  • That’s the ugliest F1 car I’ve ever seen. To me, the f1.08 was one of the best looking cars on the 2008 grid… it’s sad to see what they have done with the ’09 model

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