So, F1 almost lost Williams team …

The glory days - Williams dominated F1 in 1996

The glory days - Williams dominated F1 in 1996

Only 2 days ago I posted the article “What current F1 teams I would and what teams I would not miss ?” I listed three current teams that I believe F1 can’t afford to loose. Yesterday the news broke out that one of those three – Williams – was close to giving up.

Not that long ago (2002-2003) Williams were still one of the top teams fighting for race wins and top championship places. But following the split with their engine partner BMW during 2005 season there were not too many reasons to celebrate for the Grove based team. Williams moved from the top 3 towards midfield (and lower midfield) with regular points and an odd podium here and there being the most they could hope for.

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2009 Formula 1 cars – Do they look like we expected them to look ?

BMW Sauber

BMW Sauber F1.09 and F1.08 side by side

Most of Formula One fans knew that the 2009 Formula One cars will be quite different than their predecessors. But as teams kept their ideas to themselves we could all only guess how the new cars will look.

I summarized all the main differences between 2009 and 2008 cars back in August in the post 2009 Formula 1 cars look – The most obvious differences. Around the same time this 2009 F1 car visual appeared all over F1 forums:

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What current F1 teams I would and what teams I would not miss ?

honda-dreams-over

There was not much talk about more teams leaving Formula One for quite some time. The cost saving measures seemed to have done the trick. But last few days the F1 exit talks surfaced again. The 2009 season seems to be the make or break for Toyota. Some fresh rumours surfaced also about future of Renault (not sure how much of this is true and how much is made up), Pitpass also raised some concern about Force India finances … Well, in market conditions as we see right now, there is always the possibility of somebody following Honda and exiting F1. Bernie Ecclestone already told us whom he would miss and whom he would not want to loose:

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KERS – Where do the F1 teams stand – summary

KERS - the green source of headache for many

KERS - the green source of headache for many

The introduction of KERS (Kinetic Energy Recovery Systems) into Formula 1 has turned into rather controversial issue. One hand this brainchild of Max Mosley is here to show to the outside world how green and road relevant F1 can be. On the other hand this for F1 new technology has been a massive drain on financial resources of the teams at the time when FIA , FOTA and even Bernie Ecclestone talk about need to drastically reduce the cost of Formula One.

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2009 Formula 1 Cars – Williams FW31 launched (with interim livery)

Williams FW31 in its interim winter livery

Williams FW31 in its interim winter livery

Williams rolled out their 2009 F1 car – FW31 – today at Portimao circuit. The car is still sporting the interim livery. The 2009 racing livery is to be revealed according to some in February, according to some others just prior to Australian GP. Will see. I for once would not mind seeing this great all dark blue livery on Williams next year. But I am afraid they will add some white again before the season kicks off …

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The Formula 1 Off Season News Round Up – Part 6

Jenson Button betting his F1 future on the Brackley team

Jenson Button betting his F1 future on the Brackley team

The entire last week was about cost saving and testing. Fortunately Sunday night also provided some great fun.

Early last week rumours started to circulate that all four independent team plus Renault are to sign up for the budget Cosworth engine from 2010. There was a Thursday deadline for the teams to make up their minds. But after Friday’s WMSC meeting it seems that the deadline has been extended till December 20, 2008. Renault issued some careful statement refusing claims they are going against FOTA but failed to deny they are thinking about switching to Cosworth engines from 2010. For 2009 however they were allowed to rework their frozen Renault engine in order to catch up with the better rest.

While Honda F1 team members still lick the exit wounds the rest took to the test tracks last week. Toyota did some behind the close doors running in Bahrain, the others went to Jerez. I will prepare the December testing summary after this week testing is over but here are at least some brief notes:

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Both Red Bull teams are safe, but for how long ?

Scuderia Toro Rosso

Scuderia Toro Rosso

Red Bull’s consultant Helmut Marko came out to quickly reject any suggestions that Red Bull may follow Honda and bow out of Formula 1.

“They are safe right now. But RBR could save 30 percent of their budget.”

I do agree, they are safe, but right now only. By ‘right now’ I mean 2009 season.

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2009 Formula 1 – First look at BMW Sauber 2009 F1 car concept

2009 style front wing on BMW Sauber car

2009 style front wing on BMW Sauber car

(Updated, more pictures added including Honda 2009 wing)

The winter testing for 2009 Formula One season begins in Barcelona today. The are is some added excitement about the testing this winter as all the teams will have to come up with brand new cars for next season, very different from the 2008 Formula 1 machinery. So far all we have had were speculations, more speculations, and few photos of Williams wings. Today BMW Sauber put their new wings to test (and public display) – large, wide and low front wing, small, narrow and high rear wing. That “Credit Suisse” painted part of the front wing seems to the movable one. All the winglets, horns and mini fins are gone. They still however run the car with grooved tyres, but those will not be used in Formula 1 from 2009 season.

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2008 Formula 1 – The cars in March, the cars in November

We expect some big changes in the look of the Formula 1 cars in 2009 but as the season progresses the cars change even without new rules. Let’s have a look how the 2008 F1 cars looked in Melbourne and compare them with their look in Brazil:

2008 Livery Ferrari
Ferrari – Melbourne

Ferrari - Brazil

Ferrari - Brazil

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2009 Formula 1 – The 09 spec front wing

Front wings in 2009 will be much lower

Front wings in 2009 will be much lower

2008 style front wing on Williams F1 car

2008 style front wing on Williams F1 car

We may see more of these soon, the winter testing begins next week. But Williams are the first team offering us the sneak peak at the 2009 style aero. They tested the narrow and high rear wing in Barcelona back in September, yesterday they fitted the FW30 car with the new front wing too during their Kemble airfield shakedown.

The pictures above show the differences between 2008 and 2009 spec front wings. I must say that while the new rear wing looks funny, its cousing at the front of car does have the look of proper racing wing :-) .

More on 2009 F1 cars:

2009 Formula 1 cars look – The most obvious differences

How will the 2009 F1 cars look like ?

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2008 Formula 1 – Wolf’s Driver rankings – Part 2 – 15th to 11th

Sebastien Bourdais - should he stay or should he go ?

Sebastien Bourdais - should he stay or should he go ?

I started my 2008 F1 driver rankings yesterday with Part 1, here comes Part 2 covering the ranks 15 to 11:

15th David Coulthard

DC almost made it to Part 1 but at the end I found him a bit less disappointing than Heikki Kovalainen. Although Coulthard scored the only podium for Red Bull this year he was still clearly outperformed by his team mate. The 2:16 qualifying statistics says it all. Coulthard also got involved in many racing incidents ruining several races for himself and for few other drivers. The way the final race of his F1 careers went pretty much sums up his 2008 season.

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One more Singapore video, this time onboard with Nico Rosberg

Daniel from F1Bloggen is doing great job discovering all these videos … Here is his new find, onboard lap of Singapore track with Nico Rosberg (click to watch). Simulator of course, the real F1 cars still have to wait till Friday to taste the latest F1 street track. The video is also featured on WilliamsF1 website and in F1WolfClub video collection.

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2014 Teams and Drivers

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Daniel RICCIARDO
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Fernando ALONSO
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Jenson BUTTON
Kevin MAGNUSSEN
Lotus
Romain GROSJEAN
Pastor MALDONADO
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Felipe MASSA
Valtteri BOTTAS
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25-27 July - Hungary
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