2009 Formula 1 Season Countdown – 40 Days To Go – Testing and more

40-days

It is now only a bit over a month to go before the 2009 F1 season kicks off. There were some interesting developments since the 50 days mark and the teams also did some serious testing. Here is the summary:

ING announced they will withdraw from Formula 1 after 2009 season. Bad but expected news for ING Renault F1 team and several F1 race organizers … At least Renault would be able to do something about their livery in 2010 …

Toro Rosso finally confirmed Sebastien Bourdais as their second driver (not meaning no 2) for 2009 season.

Red Bull Racing revealed their 2009 car – rather nice looking (considering the limits given by new regulations) RB5. Also Mark Webber returned to cockpit for the first time since breaking his leg during Tasmanian charity race.


The only unconfirmed race seats remain at the team formerly known as Honda. The rumours however surfaced last week suggesting that the team will be on the grid in Melbourne with Jenson Button and Bruno Senna driving for them. There are however conflicting reports about the teams finances – some saying the team is safe thanks to Brazilian money, some saying it is safe but only for 4 races, some say Bernie Ecclestone will get involved with the team in some way, some rule Ecclestone’s involvement out.

While F1 still faces danger of having only 9 teams on the grid in 2009 there has been some serious talk about new US based F1 team – USF1. We are to learn more about their plans after the official announcement planned in about a week time.

Eight teams were testing last week although Toro Rosso still with modified 2008 car only. Toyota, Ferrari and BMW Sauber escaped to Bahrain hoping to avoid bad weather only to loose 2 testing days to severe sand storms. Red Bull, Toro Rosso, Renault, McLaren and Williams stayed in Europe and tested in Jerez. Here is bried summary:

Bahrain

All three teams only had one proper day. The fastest overall was Kimi Raikkonen in Ferrari but the others were not too far behind:

Kimi Raikkonen (Ferrari) – 1:33.325
Jarno Trulli (Toyota) – 1:33.429
Timo Glock (Toyota) – 1:33.501
Felipe Massa (Ferrari) – 1:33.615
Christian Klien (BMW Sauber) – 1:33.666
Robert Kubica (BMW Sauber) – 1m33.702s

Jerez

In Jerez Renault seemed to be quite a bit off the pace until Fernando Alonso clocked the 2nd best time on the third day of testing. Lewis Hamilton in McLaren lead the pack but Red Bull and Williams were not that far away.

Lewis Hamilton (McLaren) – 1:19.632s
Fernando Alonso (Renault) – 1:19.846
Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull) – 1:20.738
Heikki Kovalainen (McLaren) – 1:20.799s
Kazuki Nakajima (Williams) – 1:20.898s
Nico Rosberg (Williams) – 1:21.217s
Mark Webber (Red Bull) – 1:21.313s
Nelson Piquet (Renault) – 1:21.908s
Nico Hulkenberg (Williams) – 1:22.443s

Here are the times of Toro Rosso drivers that somehow show how much slower the 2009 cars compared to last year machinery.

Sebastien Bourdais – 1:17.472s
Sebastien Buemi – 1:17.591s

It is interesting to finally have chance to see how the cars compare but I would not read too much into the last week times. The teams play around with set ups, drivers are getting used to the slick tyres and new car balances, some teams still combine new cars with some old wings, some focus more on KERS development, some on long stints and reliability, some on raw pace, some may be sandbagging etc etc.

Here is the total test mileage covered by teams last week:

1350 miles – Toro Rosso
1016 miles – Williams
980 miles – McLaren
900 miles – Renault
825 miles – Red Bull
815 miles – BMW Sauber
750 miles – Toyota
740 miles – Ferrari

The countdown will be back in 10 days.

15 Comments Post a Comment
  1. F1WolfNo Gravatar says:

    More on Honda – Over at Sidepodcast I found link to this article:

    Bruno Senna has not joined Honda

  2. KotenokNo Gravatar says:

    Ferrari seems to not have fixed the exhausts visible pipes still… I wonder if there is any need that they still didn’t hide them under the bodywork.

  3. KotenokNo Gravatar says:

    And Petrobras won’t pay the ex-Honda’s bills (or yes???)…

    Claudio Thompson, Petrobras’ Manager of Sports Sponsorship, said: “Petrobras’ presence in Formula One was our means to continue technological development and to do that we needed to work closely with a manufacturer.

    Once Honda announced it was pulling out of Formula One, we decided we were going to stop too, because all the manufacturer-backed teams had fuel suppliers for 2009. We’re not interested in just being a commercial sponsor without the possibility of using and developing our products.”

    Smart enough for going out from the trouble, but anyway they lost 10 million bucks.

    Interesting how this soap-opera will go on, wouldn’t it be faster to sell the team in a bazaar or something??? Now people says that a “respetable” third party buyer is interested on them? If not before… why now?!

    • F1WolfNo Gravatar says:

      Perhaps that “mystery” party waited to see how the things develop. Sometime coming in in the last moment gets you the best deal.

      The rumours (speculations) are the mystery party may be Branson’s Virgin group or some part of it. And that Branson may want to install his friend Adrian Reynard as a team boss.

      http://www.grandprix.com/ns/ns21187.html

      That would mean likely that they would not want Nick Fry to stay on (and why would they want him after his track record with the team.)

      Reynard’s company used to build chassis for B.A.R., the predecessor of Honda, when B.A.R. entered F1 in 1999

      It may well be just another rumour. Grandprix.com stories usually have some credibility, but not always, and they missed the target few times when talking Honda future – they connected Peugeot/Citroen with purchase of the team, only few days ago they run the story about Senna and Petrobras coming on board, story that Petrobras already denied … so, as we have been saying since that first Friday of Decemebr – we have to wait and see …

      • KotenokNo Gravatar says:

        I read that about Grandpix.com, I value their encyclopedia a lot. But if I use to read your news feed, that’s because here usually things are done right :) Here you don’t need to test if rumors are true or not. What mostly are doing few press sources, not only them. Leaving some rumours out to push the both parts to say something about, in that case Petrobras. Not the best journalism…

  4. TimmieNo Gravatar says:

    Been a lot of crap about Honda and their chances of being on the grid.
    Media continue to pump out stories that have no real base to see if they get any reactions from sponsors or interested parties about whether anything has been done, that’s all it is at the moment.
    No one really has any clue besides maybe Fry and Brawn or whoever is interested and they are keeping pretty quiet about it all.
    McLaren did state that they will only supply engines if they are getting paid for the full year, so even they are playing there cards close in case anything doesn’t go ahead.

  5. TimmieNo Gravatar says:

    Oh and thanks christ ING won’t be sponsoring Renault next year, although this means they need a new title sponsor, they will also need a new paint job and we won’t have to look at that crappy paint job past this season, yay!!
    And also USF1 is a good thing, although they will only run on a $100 million budget, that should be plenty with all the next cost cutting that is being done and with more of it to be done before next season. They are also interested in testing Danica Patrick and seeing if she is interested, maybe we just might see a female driver on the grid next year!

  6. zblkhwkNo Gravatar says:

    The latest rumor I heard was USF1 will run with a $64MM budget. I also heard the Danica rumor, but it has to be publicity only. She does not seem to be able to compete with the best of IRL and I see no way she is up to F1. Still, she is a fiesty competitor and very aggressive. She would be fun to watch in turn one of the start.

    • F1WolfNo Gravatar says:

      … but as guys from USF1 admitted (Ken Anderson himself I believe) she is the one who can attract attention. Attention gets sponsors, sponsors bring money and money is what they need to pull it off … She may not be the best but she may be the most marketable. I think if she wants the drive, she will get it, at least at the early days of that team

  7. [...] of the Honda team these days. That had to be expected having in mind that we are now less than 40 days away from the start of 2009 season and the team’s future is yet to be sorted out. Here is brief summary and some thoughts on the [...]

  8. f1dvNo Gravatar says:

    I’ve compiled a Formula 1 2009 Season Calendar. It’s in pdf format. Including testing day schedule and F1 team launch. Feel free to download it here!

    f1dvs last blog post..Bahrain Testing Still Strict

    • KotenokNo Gravatar says:

      Already have to suggest you an update :P Lock what’s happening on the calendar on March ;)

      http://www.circuitcat.com/ingles/calendari/index.asp?canal=Calendar

      And that’s four days in a row!!

      Kotenoks last blog post..Devonte Hoeker joined F1Wolf Club

    • KotenokNo Gravatar says:

      F1 dv I saw your Calendar PDF twice and just noticed it, why there’s Fuji??? This year Japanese GP takes part at Suzuka , of course the race’s promoter is Fuji TV. Take care of it! Mmm… And just a comment in the air. Why Honda couldn’t be patient one year more and show themselves in their home race finally??? HEHHE So much money invested in their own circuit, and what for???

      Another thing which I would like to add, I thought Bahrain International Circuit is located in the desert of Sakhir, but anyway Manamah isn’t that far away as the island is a tinny spot in the world.

      Good luck to find all events during the year. Tests, races and car shows, if you inclde FIA year’s gala I would be very pleased!! I never get to know which date it will take part, this year was almost a top secret event :P Many would feel thankful for an updated calendar as yours :)

      Kotenoks last blog post..Devonte Hoeker joined F1Wolf Club

  9. f1dvNo Gravatar says:

    thanks for the correction. i’ve recompiled a f1 2009 calendar, and it’s available to donwnload :)

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