BMW became the most recent team to unveil their 2009 challenger to the world, named the F1.09 and being photographed at the Valencia track in Spain. The team were on hand to talk about the new car and Robert Kubica was given the maiden drive as the Pole completed a few installation laps to ensure everything was working. Of course, this isn’t the first time we’ve seen the BMW F1.09, as the team have been testing an interim car for much of the winter.
The F1.09 sports the new narrow rear wing mounted higher than previous, and an adjustable front wing that sits lower and is much wider. The bodywork features no winglets or flick-ups, although the yellow warning sticker for the KERS sticks out like a sore thumb.
Last year BMW did well and won their first race, courtesy of Robert Kubica. Nick Heidfeld had a more troubled season but still managed to haul in a bounty of points which ultimately left the team just behind Ferrari and McLaren. Kubica was in the title hunt right up to the final few races and the Hinwil-based team will want to improve on this for 2009.
Last year we saw that working together we can achieve good result. For the first half of the season, we were title contenders. We were leading the drivers’ and Constructors’ Championships at certain points of the season.
Everyone remembers how it finished, and we will try to repeat the first half of the season and finish better than last year. Robert Kubica.
One of the problems the team faced during the last campaign was keeping up with the development. BMW started the season strongly, but gradually slipped off the pace. This caused some heavy criticism from Kubica, who was very outspoken about the direction the team was taking. However, with a ban on in-season testing now in place, the rate of development from the top teams will slow a little, and this could play right into the hands of BMW.
Developing a new Formula One car is always exciting, but this time there was something even more special about it. We really were starting from scratch.
First and foremost, the switch from grooved tyres to slicks means more grip, of course, but it also moves the balance of forces further forward: removing the grooves gives the front tyres proportionally a greater contact area and more grip than the rear tyres.
Because the car differs so significantly from its predecessor, we already started work on the first concept studies in February – two months earlier than normal and before the F1.08 had even started its first race. Willy Rampf.
BMW were also one of the first teams to test a KERS system, and just prior to Christmas, it was said that the squad were at such an advanced stage with the technology, they were even testing out differing strategies with it.
At BMW we have always used the Formula One project as a technology laboratory for series production. With KERS this approach takes on a whole new dimension. Formula One will reposition itself and undergo a change of image, allowing the sport to take significant strides forward in terms of public acceptance. Mario Theissen.
However, at the launch of the F1.09, team boss Mario Theissen did admit that the system may not be ready in time for Australia. And if BMW are now saying they may not have KERS ready in time, where does that leave Ferrari who have been saying the same for a while now!?
Looking back to when we started more than a year ago on KERS, that time was pure research. Then we went through a stage I would call pre-development. Now we are in the development stage.
We are still not ready to race, but if I look at what progress we have made in last 12 months, it’s amazing. We have learned so much.
We are still pushing hard. We are not ready yet. I am sure we will be ready at some point, I don’t know whether we will be ready for Melbourne. Mario Theissen.
And finally, just a quick note to say that Nick Heidfeld has dramatically changed his helmet design. Although Alonso has also altered his, the difference wasn’t enough to warrant a note in yesterday’s post. But as Heidfeld’s is substantially different (green), I added a photo below.
Photos © BMW AG.