Both Toyota cars were excluded from qualifying after failing post-qualifying technical inspections by the FIA. It was found that Toyota’s rear wing elements were in breach of the rules:
What a day for Brawn GP. First they get their new sponsor – Richard Branson’s Virgin – and then they lock the front row for tomorrow’s Australian GP all for themselves.
Jenson Button will start from the pole position for the first time since 2006 Australian GP, Rubens Barrichello will line up next to him on P2. Perhaps surprisingly P3 went to Sebastian Vettel in Red Bull, P4 to Robert Kubica in BWM Sauber. Nico Rosberg, fastest in all three practice sessions will start from P5. Perhaps a bit disappointed are Toyota drivers with Glock P6 and Trulli P8, especially Trulli who was regarded as dark horse for pole position following impressive showing in practice sessions. Ferrari’s made it to Q3 but only managed P7 (Massa) and P9 (Raikkonen). Mark Webber completes the top 10.
I was lucky enough to get myself into the Paddock Club on Friday. Although my overall impression from the whole experience is rather mixed (I may write another post on that one day) the time spent in the pitlane was definitelly worth the effort to get the pass sorted out . I was quite surprised how rather freely we were allowed to roam around the pitlane and how close it was possible to get to the cars and to some drivers. But no diffusers were on display… Here are the pictures, click on the thumbnails to enlarge the photos:
Interesting day today. It started for me with a walk through the pitlane (pictures later today) and continued with quite exciting practice sessions. During the first practice most of the cars were all over the place, only Brawn and Williams looked nice and steady. The most shaky (at least from where i was standing) were Renaults. The handling of cars however improved during the second session. The talking points of the day however will be:
– the diffusers, as the cars who use the controversial diffuser design were the fastest ones
– the degradation of the super soft tyres
– the pace of McLaren and perhaps also of Ferrari
I am about to move in the Albert Park direction for Friday practice, before doing so, here is quick summary of the F1 news from Thursday:
The diffuser issue – Following the protest from Ferrari, Renault and Red Bull (and the thrown out one from BMW Sauber) the stewards investigated the controversial diffusers used by Toyota, Williams and Brawn GP. Late on Thusrday night he FIA stewards rejected the protest and Brawn GP, Williams and Toyota have been given the go-ahead to take part in the Australian Grand Prix. It may not be the end of the story with appeals expected but for now everybody can focus on racing in Melbourne.
Jenson Button’s new 2009 helmet – Jenson Button will be racing with new helmet. The union jack colours will be replaced with yellow design – see all 2009 drivers helmets here.
Virgin to sponsor Brawn GP – Reports by Times online and Autosport suggest that Sir Richard Branson is enroute to Melbourne to finalize a major sponsorship deal with Ross Brawn’s team. Earlier yesterday Brawn GP announced partnership with Henri Lloyd – a British clothing manufacturer – as Official Supplier of Clothing and Footwear Technology.
FIA revised the final 2009 entry list returning the numbers 20 and 21 to Force India and assigning 22 and 23 to Brawn GP. There will be no car number 18 and 19 on the grid this year.
Lewis Hamilton joined GPDA.
FOTA confirmed that Briatore, Howett and Dennis represented the position of the entire FOTA when they met with Ecclestone last week.
And Fernando Alonso added his voice to the opposition against the winner takes points system.
And now it is time to go to the track.
I just arrived in Melbourne after an overnight flight. And here is the first photo . Looks like I am staying in the same hotel as BBC Sport crew and the Renault engine part of Red Bull delegation.
It is quite windy at the moment and the skies are definitelly more grey than blue. Quite a difference compared to almost 40 degrees temperatures last year.
As there many people already sending in their predictions for Australian GP together with the prediction of the drivers champion I decided to bring the ” official”Round 1 of 2009 F1Wolf Prediction Game post a day earlier than planned. We have been predicting the 2009 drivers champion for little over 3 weeks. You can see how you or others predict the outcome of 2009 F1 championship (as well as the summary of the rules) here:
If you haven’t made your prediction for the champion yet, you can still do it. If you made one, you can still change it. The deadline is beginning of the first free practice session in Australia. To make life easier you can leave your 2009 drivers champion prediction also in the comments below this post. I will summarize all the predictions in a separate post, probably after my return from Melbourne.
Now is also time to make the predictions for 2009 Australian GP. So, as usual, before the start of the qualifying session leave your prediction in the comments below this post:
Top 8 finishers (in order from 1st to 8th):
Some of you already made your predictions for Australian GP by leaving comments here, those predictions will of course count. But if you change your mind, you can leave your new prediction below this post. Just make sure you do it before qualifying.
Thank you all for joining and let’s have some fun !
Here is 8 minutes video preview of 2009 F1 season and 2009 Australian GP. This was a very quick edit as I needed to get it all together before leaving for Australia. Included is the awesome animated footage from Red Bull that you might have already seen – the older with Sebastien Vettel explaining the new rules as well as the very recent one showing us how the F1 car comes to life. The animations are great, they explain the changes in F1 ahead of 2009 season quite well and so they made it to this video edit . Then of course the virtual lap of Albert Park circuit in Melbourne, few shots of Toyota, McLaren and Red Bull, one engine blow up, sound of Mercedes F1 V8 engine and introduction of all 2009 F1 cars and drivers.
The new F1 season is just around the corner, time to start with Australian GP previews. There is only one rookie on the grid this year so we already know, or should know, what we can expect from the drivers. The big unknown however are the teams. Before they show us their true pace this Saturday and Sunday we can only guess where they are based on their winter testing form. I attempted to rank them after Barcelona test, and here is how I see them after the final test in Jerez. I decided to divide the teams into 4 groups – top, in between, midfield and back of the grid.
FIA published the final version of the 2009 Formula 1 entry list. If compared with the provisional version there are several changes. The most important one is that Brawn GP is included and as a new entry their drivers were given numbers 20 and 21 (previously assigned to Force India). Force India car numbers will now be 18 and 19. (These two teams will also swap the garages with Brawn GP getting the last one). Felipe Massa will at the end race with number 3 on his after swapping the number with Kimi Raikkononen. Toro Rosso drivers Buemi and Bourdais also switched their numbers perhaps reflecting on fact that Buemi is the rookie.
Update: FIA revised the entry list on March 26 – Force India keeps their original car numbers 20 and 21, Brawn GP gets 22, 23. Force India wanted to get its former 20 and 21 numbers back as all its promotional material and merchandise had been based around these numbers. Brawn GP had no problems with that.
Here is the final version of 2009 FIA entry list:
Few days to go before the 2009 F1 action starts, time to summarize the most important F1 rules changes:
The most obvious changes in regulations are those visible on the cars – low and wide front wing, tall and narrow rear wing. All the small winglets and appendages are now banned. Perhaps not so obvious are the movable flaps on the front wing adjustable by driver from the cockpit.
FOTA has proven its usefulness – unlike FIA the FOTA members seem know what is written in the F1 Sporting Regulations and International Sporting Code (both written by FIA by the way).
Here is what FOTA says: