Pre-Season Testing Comparison: 2008 vs. 2009

Pre-Season Testing Comparison: 2008 vs. 2009

Last year I wrote a post comparing the pre-season testing times from 2008 to the final testing times set at the other end of the year. The post was meant to demonstrate the change in pace between the beginning and end of the year, although admittedly with the teams running very different cars prior to the end of the year, the times were hard compare. However, with all the cars now done at Barcelona this week, I thought I would do another comparison.

Below are the fastest times set by each of the teams at Circuit de Catalunya during the test session held there between 25th and 27th February, 2008. Also listed are the times set by each of the teams during the more recent test at Barcelona, held between 9th and 12th March, 2009, and the difference in fastest lap is shown.

Barcelona Tests
February 2008 vs. March 2009

Fastest Time

Fastest Time

’08 – ’09

1. Japanese FlagHonda RA108
British FlagBrawn BGP 001
Jenson Button
Rubens Barrichello
2. German FlagBMW F1.08/F1.09 1m22.299s
Robert Kubica
Robert Kubica
3. Italian FlagFerrari F2008/F60 1m21.722s
Kimi Raikkonen
Felipe Massa
4. British FlagWilliams FW30/FW31 1m21.293s
Nico Rosberg
Nico Rosberg
5. Italian FlagScuderia Toro Rosso STR2/STR4 1m22.465s
Sebastien Bourdais
Sebastien Buemi
6. Indian FlagForce India VJM01/VJM02 1m22.233s
Giancarlo Fisichella
Giancarlo Fisichella
7. French FlagRenault R28/R29 1m21.443s
Nelson Piquet Jr.
Fernando Alonso
8. Japanese FlagToyota TF108/TF109 1m20.801s
Jarno Trulli
Timo Glock
9. Austrian FlagRed Bull Racing RB4/RB5 1m21.258s
David Coulthard
Sebastian Vettel
10. British FlagMcLaren MP4-23/MP4-24 1m21.309s
Heikki Kovalainen
Lewis Hamilton

A few interesting points from the comparison…

  • In the testing trim that resulted in the fastest laps during both sessions, the new 2009 cars are faster at this point of the year than the 2008 cars were twelve months ago. Everyone has made time and are now lapping quicker.
  • The biggest gainers are Brawn, who over their previous pace as Honda, have improved by a whopping 3.733s.
  • The smallest gain by any of the teams goes to McLaren, who have only improved by 0.440s.

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  • That’s some interesting comparison. Amazing to see Brawn GP gain so much time. BMW have made good gains too. I think BMW will win more races this year and will be a title contender. Not too sure about Brawn GP.

  • Not too sure about Brawn GP.

    Yeah, I feel the same. I think Brawn are probably pretty quick and have certainly improved on the RA108 from last year. But I don’t necessarily think they are going to run away with anything this year.

  • Very useful comparison – duly bookmarked! One small thing – weren’t Toro Rosso still using the STR2 in Feb ’08?

    Brawn’s figure is obviously eye-catching, but even if they’ve only managed half that improvement when they get to the first race it’s still a big step forward.

  • weren’t Toro Rosso still using the STR2 in Feb ‘08?

    Oooh, that’s a good point – I’ll amend the table in a moment. The STR3 didn’t arrive until the Monaco Grand Prix, I seem to remember, now. Well spotted, Keith. 🙂

    Brawn’s figure is obviously eye-catching, but even if they’ve only managed half that improvement when they get to the first race it’s still a big step forward.

    Definitely. I’m still dubious of those two lap times by Button and Barrichello, but the car is obviously an improvement over the Honda.

  • Good data,

    The McLaren team has some problems with the car.Until that are sorted-out,I expect a poor performance from the team

  • Interesting that just as Brawn have done this year, Toyota beat everyone by atleast half a second last year and they went on to do nothing.

    Brawn have proven that they have a decent car which is brilliant because I have always liked Honda but its unlikely they are going be pushing for the constructers championship at the end of the year!

    McLaren will improve, Ferrari are already there and BMW will have more pace than Brawn as well.

    To have moved from where they were to where they are now, Brawn have to be applauded but it’s still going to take atleast another season until they get back to where they were in 2007.

  • Brilliant post, Ollie. So much so that I have written a post digging into the info it presents. Wish I’d thought of the idea first, however… 😉

  • Hi Oliver, very interesting comparison. The most important thing I think is the fact that times are faster this year although FIA made lots of changes… Anyway, probably it would be interesting for you also to have a look here:

    where I have ordered all the times (set in Barcelona last week), so one could have an help to understand the situation

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