Robert Kubica, Nick Heidfeld, BMW Sauber F1.09 launch, Valencia, 2009

Pictures: BMW Sauber unveil their F1.09 at Valencia

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BMW Sauber have revealed their new F1.09 chassis at the Valencia Ricardo Tormo circuit in Spain.

Drivers Robert Kubica and Nick Heidfeld pulled the covers off the car, which is the fourth produced since BMW took over the Sauber operation. Kubica also gave the car its first run.

The team enjoyed its best season to date in 2008. Kubica gave them their first victory in the Canadian Grand Prix at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, leading Heidfeld in a one-two.

Consistent points-scoring by both drivers meant BMW Sauber ended the year third in the constructors championship, just 17 points behind winners Ferrari. This was one place lower than they managed the year before, when McLaren’s disqualification promoted BMW Sauber to second in the standings.

BMW Sauber’s development rate appeared to tail off towards the end of last year, blunting Kubica’s bid for the drivers’ title. He lay only 14 points off eventual champion Lewis Hamilton with four races to go, but scored in just two of the remaining rounds, leaving him fourth in the final standings.

It remains to be seen whether BMW Sauber’s decision to prioritise work on their new car for the 2009 season will pay off. The F1.09 has been built to comply with the significantly overhauled technical regulations which have been brought in for the 2009 season.

As well as a distinctively different approach to aerodynamics, the team has also been working on its version of the Kinetic Energy Recovery System which will allow them to deploy a boost of additional electrical power at times. Another revision to the rules for this year allows drivers to make adjustments to their front wing settings during a race to alter their car’s balance.

The F1.09 is the sixth new car to have been presented for the 2009 F1 season.

Pictures: BMW Sauber F1.09 launch

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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55 comments on “Pictures: BMW Sauber unveil their F1.09 at Valencia”

  1. I like it, very much. They’ve certainly managed to maximise front wing coverage though.

    Along with the williams, a very siple, clean shape that looks as if it’ll be fast.

    Also has the least curvy and radical of the sidepod shapes we’ve seen so far.

    1. is it me, or do all the teams seem to be going back to the 1990s style aero?

    2. Yes, 1990´s style! I like most the 2008 designs.

  2. it’s ugly, i’m sorry but I don’t like it, actually I can hardly remember a good-looking BMW

  3. I’m still not sure about the general rear wing specification, it looks as if it will fall off once the cars get up to speed…….

  4. What a bulky front wing….

  5. p.s: Isn’t this BMW illegal because they have the same excaustpipes as Ferrari has, they need to be covered, is it?

  6. That picture with last years car sums it all: 2009 challengers all are ugly as… well, look at the picture and tell me with a straight face that they don’t look like an indy car :(

    1. Haplo, I’m used to the look very much except those well known, ugly, out of proportion rear and front wings. I wish, FIA will soon realize this and will change the wing dimensions next season ;)

    2. Actually, that comparison is my favourite picture of the new BMW, because it just made me realise that 2009 cars are actually very good looking! I’m even starting to get accostumed to the wings. The thousands of appendages on last year’s car look horrendous to me now. And the front wing is a bit big, but Williams’ is also, and I didn’t notice many complaints.

      I quite like this car!

    3. Pedro, it is not about the look instead how efficient the appendages were? With aerodynamics in picture teams did their best to gain all the advantages they can, now FIA is taking aerodynamics out of the equation to encourage closer racing.

      We’ll all get used to the looks when the car produces the maximum with the imposed regulations for the year. But, the regulations should also give certain technical freedom, otherwise what is there for the teams to do? nothing but designing the car with the FIA specifications :) and just look for a better driver to move forward.

    4. @haplo… You are joking!?! Yeah??

      That 2009/2008 picture I thought showed just how beautiful the new cars are (including the tall rear wing, and the front wing looks cleaner even though it is longer). The 2008 car looks pig ugly next to the new, it’s like my kid has been ripping it apart but leaving bits hanging off.

      I love this new breed of cars, back to the clean lines of old with some seriously beautiful sculpting of the sidepods. The wings don’t look nearly as bad as expected, and if they improve the racing I’m all for them.

    5. Damn right!!

  7. The car looks good, but on a closer look… it seems BMW has also chosen to have that one-sided camera mount on the engine cover. There is something technical involved in it… BMW also has the protruding exhaust, but not as much as the Ferraris ;)

  8. Maybe it’s a trick of the light, but the front wing flaps look way bigger than the other cars – is that the part the driver can adjust?

    A no-nonsense car, you can bet it’ll be fast. A lot of sponsors’ logos have gone missing from last year’s car haven’t they?

  9. is it me or does it just look a little bit dull….


    I don’t know if it’s just me but how much better does a F1 car look without all those appendages everywhere?

  11. Phew! They managed to do a good one, actually! Just except the ugly front wing, but on the other hand Willy Rampf claims this front wing is the next greatest thing after the internal combustion engines … so let’s see :-)

  12. Not bad at all. That back wing looks deceptively low on some photos…

  13. Also have a closer look to the overhead and side shots – that front wing has some quite interesting flaps behind ;-) ya, it looks 100% Albert2 designed (read: 0 aesthetics), but seems to really have some smart ideas below the surface ;-)

  14. Damn looks amazing..!
    Notice the exhaust outlet is visible.. Similar to Ferrari..
    All the other F1 cars (the Renault, Williams, McLaren and Toyota) – shows that their exhausts have all been mounted in-board.

    1. I’m completely with you: it looks amazing!

  15. @mani (09:31)… masses of aerodynamic grip (appendages) and little mechanical grip (grooved tyres) really hurts overtaking to the point where it is nearly impossible to stay close enough to make that move under braking (which is a seriously short zone at the end of the straight). We need badly to reduce aerodynamic (remove all appendages) and increase mechanical (slicks) grip so they can follow close again like in the good old days before refueling (glad that’s gone next year as well).

    1. I agree aerodynamics prevented the cars from following each other closely, but my point was just to say all that matters to the teams is to gain those last few tenths of a second over their rivals and not the looks… so, in spite of being ugly they have chosen to have those appendages in the past years.

  16. Till last week; I thought that the BMW livery was the worst of all.

    But now Renault have unveiled their fruit-salad R29 ! !

    the F1.09 isn’t much different than the interim car; I feel. But seems less developed than Mclaren’s car.

  17. That has to be by far the most boring livery in F1- at least Toyota changes their livery a little bit each year, and the red adds a bit of colour.

    Plus, the front wing is as square as a box. It looks rubbish… in my opinion

  18. It doesn’t seem to have as many sponsors as the 08 car, are they missing anything other than Credit Suisse?

    1. Intel seems to have gone missing too.

    2. @ajokay:

      Intel is still there — see the rear wings. Dell, on the other hand, is missing.

    3. I think Dell has gone too and Intel has less insertions in the car than last year!

    4. Ahh yes, I was looking more towards the front of the car, so I missed the Intel on the back wing. Definately less Intel than last year though.

  19. I’ve always been a big fan of simple designs, but F109 looks a bit underdeveloped compared to let’s say McL. I mean being a dedicated BMW fan I’d be very glad to see the shovels on the sides of the front wing doing their job better than MP4/24’s nicely curved equivalents, but frankly I doubt that’s the case… I’m not saying I don’t like it though, especially the side view is great, a bit like Kubica if you know what I mean. Hope it’s gonna be as fast as it looks to be.
    Keith: What’s the story with the exhaust on the F60 (and apparently on F1.09 too)? Is the rumour true that the pipes should all be covered by the car’s body? What do the regulations say about it?

  20. This car reminds me very much of the 2001 era BMW Williams, paint scheme and all. A very, very good looking car. Far better than the Renault.

  21. I hope the front wing isn’t the next big thing, because if it is that good performance wise others will start copying it, and it isn’t the best looking of the ones we have seen so far.
    It would be good if all the different designs gave simliar levels of performance so teams aren’t tempted to copy other team’s cars. I prefer it when there is more to tell the cars apart other than the livery.

    Regarding the BMW livery, to me it has always seemed a bit plain. I don’t dislike it, but I don’t like it either.

  22. I think we’re going to see them get through at least 100 of those front wings.

    Even if they’re fast, they’ll just get snapped off at the start or over a kerb.

  23. The cost cutting seems to have really hit them; it appears they’ve used a guardrail as the outer elements of the front wing.

  24. This is the best looking so far.

    1. I agree. I like the livery and the nose design, and when viewed at an angle, like on those pics, it looks great!

  25. I think this is gorgeous – every season I become a little bit more of a BMW fan – if they actually have made this fast and at at forefront of the field then I think I’m going to become an outright BMW fan. They’d be legends!

  26. Its interesting to read the reactions of people here since most people like it but hated the interim car. Yet I agree with Sumedh – it’s hardly changed! And it does seem quite simple: no sneaky bargeboards, turning vanes and its not as tightly packaged at the rear as, say, the Ferrari or Williams.

    The only things to note are that its the 2nd two-element front flap wing and that the nose is quite wide like Williams and Renault.

    I guess they might be holding quite a bit back…

  27. On a side note, it seems as if Quick Nick has been at his helmet with a green felt-tip.

    1. Yep another new helmet design there – and he’s gone in the opposite direction to Alonso in having one that will really stand out in the cockpit. I quite like Heidfeld’s new style actually.

  28. My feeling is that the pieces on the show car aren’t going to be raced. Often, the teams just put on a basic wing, aero configuration for the show car so the team doesn’t give away their design too early. I can’t see why Rampf is so excited about the new front wing, it looks very plain. I agree with everyone that out all of the cars displayed so far, the McLaren looks the most developed by far. Personally, I like the livery of BMWs, the pearl blue with white is simple and elegant. As an avid BMW Sauber fan, I hope that this car can actually take them to a title, at least allow them to contend for one.

  29. Oh you’re serious! Amazing!

    I totally agree that we needed more wheel to wheel racing, and overtaking was near impossible and all that. But F1 is the pinnacle, the top of the line, and the form of the cars has to be determined by their function, and last years cars were the culmination of 50 years of development in many areas. They just cut aero off just like that! And we ended with slicker looking cars, but also underdeveloped, plain, dull, and boring ones. They really look like any other lower formulae.

    Why couldn’t just put slicks on and get on with the thing is beyond me.

    Here’s an interesting idea, lets have a vote but considering our ages, I bet most of the people that like the new cars are above 35, and the ones that like last years are below 35… or something like that.

    1. Lol. I think so too.

  30. One of the best looking car developed under new rules and introduced so far. And it seems like BMW-Sauber is well ahead of other teams in terms of testing new spec. Kubica covered 73 laps today without any technical issues on a dry track:-)

    1. Not going to be painting this one, then?

  31. looks like last years car but a little bit different…

    lets move to a new era,take of the wings (overtaking)
    and put a big shark fin on the engine cover (sponsors)
    wings are so old school and no good for racing

    1. LOL! :-) Then Renault can use the NYC cab design and paint scheme :-) Extreme cost cutting that is, besides cabs put on a good show and Hollywood likes them :-)

  32. Heidfeld tends to have better helmets than most (and like Kimi, he changes it every season) and after two boring schemes, this one goes straight up the grid. Nice lid.

  33. i think it can do worlds of good if they just made the front wing more curvy and not as bulky!

  34. Red Bull RB5 – 2009 F1 car is looking much better then this model …
    not much difference in the looks as from last years model

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