Post-Season Tests: 2007 vs. 2008

Post-Season Tests: 2007 vs. 2008

Yesterday in the comments to the testing times post, Haplo wondered how the lap times from this session compared with last year. I’m not sure how helpful a comparison would be because we are comparing two very different types of cars, plus the 2008 test that has just ended saw many different cars on the track. BMW ran an interim car, while many other teams ran with very few modifications. I feel the just-prior-to-season-start test comparison will provide much more juicy information, but as I can do it now, here’s the times from November 2007 and November 2008.

For both test sessions – each were three days and both at Circuit de Catalunya – I picked the fastest lap set by each team. In each case I subtracted the 2007 time from the 2008 time to get the difference. Here are the results…

Barcelona Tests
November 2007 vs. November 2008

Fastest Time

Fastest Time

2007 – 2008

1. French FlagRenault R27/R28 1m20.659s
Heikki Kovalainen
Nelson Piquet Jr.
2. Italian FlagFerrari F2007/F2008K 1m21.044s
Felipe Massa
Luca Badoer
3. Italian FlagScuderia Toro Rosso STR2/STR3 1m21.486s
Sebastian Vettel
Sebastian Vettel
4. Austrian FlagRed Bull Racing RB3/RB4 1m21.555s
David Coulthard
Sebastian Vettel
5. British FlagMcLaren MP4-22/MP4-23 1m21.805s
Pedro De La Rosa
Gary Paffett
6. British FlagWilliams FW29/FW30 1m21.820s
Nico Rosberg
Nico Rosberg
7. German FlagBMW F1.07/F1.08a 1m22.460s
Nick Heidfeld
Robert Kubica
8. Indian FlagForce India F8-VII/VJM01 1m23.084s
Christian Klien
Adrian Sutil
9. Japanese FlagHonda RA107/RA108 1m23.118s
Jenson Button
Alex Wurz

A few interesting points from the comparison…

  • Renault were fastest last year with Heikki Kovalainen posting a great lap on the final day. They have lost 1.5s between cars, although they may have been running KERS and other equipment this year.
  • Ferrari have also lost time (1.4s), but they were definitely running with KERS over the last three days.
  • Red Bull’s times are probably the best to compare as in both tests, they were running close to their racing models, although the 2008 time was set with slick tyres, contributing to their 2.26s gain.
  • BMW made an interesting gain between the regular F1.07 and the new 2009-spec car. Despite a loss of aerodynamic grip, the team made an improvement of almost 1 second, again helped by slick tyres.

I’ll post a similar comparison nearer to the start of the 2009 season after the final test to see if the slick-shod aero-clean cars have made any gains over their predecessors that raced during 2008.

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  • Thank you!

    My pleasure! 🙂

    Indeed interesting how much mechanical grip helps the car go faster than aero.

    Heh, all those twiddly little flick-ups and knobbly bits and none of them really helped. Slap a set of slicks on the thing and boom! There you go, there’s your grip. 😀

  • Cool comparison – nicely done. It’s obviously very early days but BMW’s ’09 ‘mock-up’ doesn’t look too shabby. Apparently it’s not as quick in a straight line, so if the cars can actually get a tow off each other and follow more closely through the corners, we might get some racing next year.

    Still not sold on the looks though!

  • It’s obviously very early days but BMW’s ‘09 ‘mock-up’ doesn’t look too shabby.

    It doesn’t does it!? It is very early to start any comparisons, but I think later in the testing season it could get a lot more interesting.

    Still not sold on the looks though!

    No, me neither. The Williams didn’t look so bad, but maybe that was because of the lower nose and darker paint scheme.

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