January and February are the fallow months for F1 fans as we wait for the new season to begin.
But with cars to be launched, testing to be done and other events and racing going on, the pre-season weeks needn’t be boring. Here’s a guide to what’s happening between now at the first race of 2009.
2009 F1 car launches
Most teams have said that in 2009 they will not do the kind of spectacular, lavish launches we have seen in the past. The following launch dates have been confirmed so far:
- Ferrari F2009 launch –
- Toyota TF109 launch – 15th January
- McLaren MP4/24 launch – 16th January
- Renault R29 launch – 19th January
- Williams FW31 launch – 19th January
- BMW F1.09 launch – 20th January
Red Bull will launch their RB5
in March at a date yet to be confirmed on February 9th. The same car will be used by Toro Rosso although they might have to wait a few races to get it as happened last year.
Force India are in a similar situation regarding McLaren, who they are relying upon for several major components in a new deal starting this year.
2009 F1 tests
Pre-season testing has added importance this year as once the season has begun teams will not be allowed to test until after the final race of the year.
These are the test sessions I’ve been able to find out about so far. If you know of any more, please post details below and I’ll add them to the F1 Fanatic Calendar.
It’s not always possible to predict which teams are going to attend which tests but it’s safe to assume most teams will take advantage of most test days between now and the start of the season.
Circuit de la Comunitat Valenciana Ricardo Tormo, Spain – 20th-23rd January
BMW will test at the permanent track at Valencia after launching its 2009 challenger at the circuit on January 20th.
Autodromo Internacional do Algarve, Portugal – 20th-22nd January
Toyota will do their first test at the new Portuguese circuit which was well received by McLaren and Ferrari who tested their at the end of December. Renault will also have their new R29 at the Algarve circuit.
Circuito Permanante de Jerez, Spain – 10-13th February
Most teams are expected to attend a four-day test at the former Grand Prix circuit at Jerez in Spain.
For more 2009 F1 car launch and tests dates see the F1 Fanatic Calendar
Autosport International – 8-11th January
Autosport’s annual motorsports extravaganza at the NEC in Birmingham. Public days are the 10th and 11th. Alianora la Canta is also running a kart race for F1 fans on the Saturday evening. Sadly I can’t be there but if you want to show up see Alianora’s site for more info.
GP2 Asia, A1 Grand Prix and more
There’s plenty of other racing to tide you over between now and the start of the 2009 season. GP2 Asia, which will be supporting the Malaysian and Bahrain Grands Prix, has two races coming up before the F1 gets started. It’s at Bahrain International Circuit on January 23rd-24th and Losail in Qatar for a night race on February 6th-7th.
A1 Grand Prix resumes its 2008-09 season at New Zealand’s Taupo circuit on January 25th, followed by the new Lippo street circuit in Indonesia on February 8th. Kyalami in South Africa hosts the next round on February 22nd, then onto another former F1 venue, Mexico City, on March 15th.
Share details of any other F1 events you know about below and I’ll add them to the F1 Fanatic Calendar.
Read more: 2009 F1 testing dates and tracks