With Formula One feeling the pinch of the global credit crisis, next year’s car launches are expected to be a no-thrills affair. But that won’t detract from the level of interest in the teams’ response to sweeping regulation changes.
Expect the cars to look simpler and ‘blockier’ as downforce is slashed by 50 per cent and ugly aero attachments such as a deflectors, winglets, flip ups and chimney s are banished.
The hybrid 2009-spec cars have already caused a stir in testing with some outlandishly weird wing and aero setups. Things will look better proportioned when the cars are unveiled in full, but in general the rear wings will be smaller and higher while the front wings will be wider to reduce the loss of downforce when following another car.
For the first time in the sport s history the front wings will also be adjustable by the driver while racing to help retain the balance of the cars in the turbulent air while also providing the driver with a tool to help overtake or defend his position.
Slick tyres make their first appearance since 1997 and will increase mechanical grip, offsetting the loss of downforce, while all the teams are expected to experience teething difficulties with the new Kinetic Energy Recovery Systems (KERS).
Ferrari are expected to launch their 2009 challenger, the F2009 on January 15, the same day that Toyota is scheduled to reveal images of its TF109.
On the following day, the new McLaren will be launched at the McLaren Technology Centre in Woking.
Williams and Renault will unveil their cars at the first major test of the new year in Portugal at the new Al Garve circuit on January 19.
On January 20, BMW-Sauber s F1.09 will run for the first time at Valencia s Ricardo Tormo circuit. Red Bull does not plan to begin testing its RB5 until February, and Force India will wait until March.
15TH JANUARY – FERRARI ( F2009 )
15TH JANUARY – TOYOTA ( TF109 )
16TH JANUARY – MCLAREN ( MP4/24 )
19TH JANUARY – RENAULT ( R29 )
19TH JANUARY – WILLIAMS ( FW31 )
20TH JANUARY – BMW SAUBER ( F1.09 )
TBA – RED BULL ( RB5 )
TBA – TORO ROSSO ( STR4 )
TBA – FORCE INDIA ( VJM-02 )