2009 F1 testing: March 9th (Update: pictures and video added)

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Will the STR4 show as much promise as the RB5?
Will the STR4 show as much promise as the RB5?

As the start of the 2009 F1 season draws tantalisingly close, today sees the beginning of the final major test before the Australian Grand Prix.

Scuderia Toro Rosso will reveal their STR4 which we expect to be very similar to the Red Bull RB5, but with a Ferrari engine. And we’ll have our first chance to see all of the teams together, including the new Brawn GP outfit.

Today’s testing line-up

Today’s test is at the Circuit de Catalunya in Barcelona.

Toyota – Jarno Trulli
Ferrari – Kimi Raikkonen
McLaren – Heikki Kovalainen
Brawn GP – Jenson Button
Red Bull – Mark Webber
Toro Rosso – Sebastien Bourdais
Williams – Kazuki Nakajima
Renault – Nelson Piquet Jnr
BMW – Nick Heidfeld
Force India – Adrian Sutil

Live timing

For live lap times check out F1today.nl, Sportlifepress, MSFree or TheF1 (various languages).

If you find any more good sites for following testing lap times, please post details below. Also keep an eye on BBC report Lee McKenzie’s Twitter account as she’ll be reporting from the test.

If you?ve got images or video to share you can upload them to the F1 Fanatic drop.io.

Further updates will be posted in the comments and any images or video from today’s testing will be added here.

Pictures from today’s test

More pictures of the Scuderia Toro Rosso STR4 making its testing debut here

Video from today’s test

2009 F1 testing

Author information

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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84 comments on “2009 F1 testing: March 9th (Update: pictures and video added)”

  1. no,imo mclaren do not want to be spied upon their rear wing. remember 1998 when mclaren were so unwilling to show closeup photos of their rear package. infact if i remember well,correct me if i am wrong they used their interim orange livery car with 1997 spec rear wings during majority of the testing(they had already switched over to west from marlboro during 1997 so i didn’t understand the use of orange livery during testing in ’98) . they left other teams way behind in terms of aerodynamics & if one remembers well hakkinen & senna lapped the entire field in the season opening aussie gp. mclaren are always known to adapt well to major changes in sporting regulations. remember 1989 when there was a switch from turbo engine to naturally aspirated engine, everybody were speculating it might favour renault powered williams but it so happened that only prost & senna were fighting for the championship. mclaren built a chassis suitable to the honda engine. I’m more optimistic than i’ve ever been before( optimism from a mclaren follower since 1993) that this year is going to be a repeat of 1988, when mclaren will blow away all their rivals. I think martin whitmarsh & his team are quite confident of regaining their title.

    1. I reckon it’s looking quite good for Lewis this year. As much as they’re my favourite team, I’m just not a big fan of either of their drivers. Kimi for drivers’ champion, McLaren for constructors? I wish, but not likely.

    2. mp4-19, you should not forget in the 1998 c’ship mclaren are using bridgestone tyres were highly regarded superior compared to goodyear (ferrari). 1998 is the final year for goodyear supporting F1 and ferrari is publicly critiscising goodyear performance. yes everybody would admit mclarens aero, chassis, engine performs better than its rivals, but in F1 engine or chassis or aerodynamics couldn’t make 0.5 sec faster per lap than any other but tyres could do it.
      just like in the year of 2005, renaults and mclarens (michelin)are away faster than any other car most of the time.
      imho, there’s no other car that is technically superior (regardless of tyres) better than Williams FW14.
      so i have to disagree if you think mclarens will dominates f1 just like they did in the early 1998, but if they will challenging the c’ship this year just like they normally did i’m really sure that is going to happen, because they’re Mclaren

    3. Eddie Irvine
      9th March 2009, 8:26

      tombong, in 1998 goodyear not only closed the gap in tire performance but they came up with better tires in the second half of the season

  2. Keith, you’ve forgotten to mention where this test is. Just looking out for you.

    1. Circuit de Catalunya, Barcelona.

    2. Added, thanks.

  3. something is not right here!
    On TheF1.com it says that massa is attending the test while on f1.nl says that raikkonen is driving

  4. I think f1today.nl isn’t on the track but are only relaying information from other sites…

  5. Its Raikkonen on track not massa!
    And jenson is keeping my hopes up coming 1st already!

  6. the honda actually looks good

    1. reminder: Brawn GP not Honda lol.

  7. The McLaren situation is dire. This iteration is not just a derivative progression given a boost by the odd dirty trick tip. They haven’t got a Newey and they haven’t had much Pedro time to help steer them back in the right direction when they get it wrong as happened when Alonso & De La Rosa pulled them out of their hole 2 years ago.

  8. Half a second covering the top four at the moment – the times have looked pretty close at most of the tests so far. Bodes well for a decent season.

  9. I dont want to upset but I think that Brawn GP are the underdog who will reign supreme!

    1. Why would that upset? It’s what I’m hoping for (and hopefully a great many people will also join me in supporting them this year…)

    2. me included!

    3. Yep me too!! :D

  10. Can Anybody tell me why Adrian Newey left McLaren?

    1. I would imagine Red Bull offered him a lot of autonomy and money.

  11. witch wing is Mclaren having on today?

    1. 09 spec rear wing – oh dear…

  12. I’m following this site for some time now (absolutely fantastic Keith, really great job!), but sometimes I don’t understand the, let’s call it, sentiment of peoples responses (not only on this thread by the way). Just one example: if you’re a fan of McLaren, fine by me, great team. But why do people confuse supporting a team with predicting they will blow away the competition when there’s absolutely no proof or even sign for that? I’m a big fan of Williams ever since I started to follow F1 as a small boy (’79) but that’s no reason to claim they will dominate?! When you look objectively at testing we can expect not much less from them as from McLaren. Or from Toyota, or Ferrari for example.

    Let’s close off with ‘well, yeah… that’s just like… your opinion man’. On to a great season (without any team dominating I hope) and a lot of fun for everyone!

    1. Welcome to the world of online F1 :)

      Here; you support only one team. which automatically translates into other teams being nothing more than trash. The debates will always be heated; sentiments will always be there.

      But its all in good spirit. And devoid of ill-feelings and swear words. :)

    2. I agree with Marijn. people tends to vocal about their favorite team will going to dominate the whole competition. i am a williams f1 fan, but theres such joy if f1 goes like 1991 c’ship nor the dominace of Ferrari at the 2002 c’ship.
      Lets hoping for an open competition shall we?!
      much better quality for f1 if there is 3 or 4 teams always threatening the podiums

  13. Are you updating the list of today’s testing drivers as they become apparent Keith? ITVF1 have photos of SeaBass testing the STR4 today.

    1. Done!

      And there’s more pics of the STR4 being tested here:

      Scuderia Toro Rosso STR4 launched – first pictures (2009 F1 cars)

  14. Simon Parker
    9th March 2009, 12:50

    Good on Ross, I hope his new team does very well, im sure with him at the helm and Jenson and Rubens at the wheel they have a fighting chance! I wonder if Ross is getting any support from Ferrari though?!!!

  15. Jenson Button fastest in the BGP001


    Thats what I like to see!

  16. Newey left Mclaren because he couldn’t work in a big organization where he would not have total control of the entire design process.

  17. I am McLaren supporter and can’t help but think they are missing him allot. With the new 09 Wing they are still recording slow times.. I think it is time to start worrying…

    Great work Ross. nice to see you on top of the time sheets. I think everybody in F1 is suppriced by this as much as I am. Well done

  18. Well done for Brawn GP! They saved the best for last. I can’t wait for the opening F1 season. Will this maybe a great season? ;-)

    1. Bit of a typo there. It’s Piquet in the Renault today.

    2. Fixed it, thanks guys.

  19. A good start for Brawn GP! Obviously we can’t read too much into the times but to top the sheets after 38 laps of the new car’s first test is a good sign. :)

    Regarding Newey, I also heard that Red Bull offered him much more freedom to work on other projects, and he planned to (at some point) get involved in designing racing yachts.

  20. Interesting diffuser on the BGP1 hope the link wokrs… http://www.f1today.nl/live-update/2009/03/09/circuit-de-catalunya/

    1. Whoopsie wrong one I meant… http://www.msfree.gr/photos2009/barcatest005.jpg
      My bad :(

  21. The BGP001’s rear wing is like the RB5 one, it has no centrall pillar. It looks good, and it seems it works good as well.

    Button with the fastest time so far. If the car is 100% 09-spec, this is a BIG surprise, but a nice one

  22. OK how many people think BGP are running light in an effort to get some sponsors interested?

    1. I was about to say that.

      Its a good strategy. Nothing wrong and unethical in doing that.

      But I kinda feel; that central pillar in rear wing is crucial this year. Teams without it are pretty faster than teams with it.

      That and the diffuser; although what advantage it gives is unknown, going by Williams’ and Toyota’s timings.

  23. MOI!!!! It makes sense doesnt it! good thinking keith!

  24. Ha ha, bad news for Honda, Ferrari 1st!!!!! with a 1:21.032. GO KIMI!!!

  25. Sorry for making so many comments, but what’s with the Mclaren being last all day? do they have some kind of problem or somthing?

    1. Two possible answers:
      1) McLaren fan: sandbagging and testing
      2) McLaren critic: problems
      But till Australia, I fear we will not be able to know who is right…

  26. Pedro Valenzuela
    9th March 2009, 15:27

    I’m not much of a fan of spanish media, but in testing I usually look at motor21.com, for live timing. Today session: http://www.motor21.com/noticia.asp?dt=315&nt=61287

  27. Press release: Toro Rosso

    Sebastien Bourdais
    Chassis: STR4-02
    Best time: 1:22.158
    Laps: 86

    Scuderia Toro Rosso’s new car, the STR4, has completed its first day of testing, producing a positive result, having completed twenty laps more than a Grand Prix distance at the Spanish circuit.

    “It’s much too early to talk about performance,” said Bourdais at the end of the day. “However, the car seems to work well and we’ve already learned a lot today. If we can carry on like this for the next few days, it will be a good starting point for the season.”

    Bourdais continues to drive tomorrow, before handing over to Sebastien Buemi for the final two days of the session.

  28. I could be wrong here, but has anybody noticed any occasion this winter when McLaren have looked better than average running 09 config?

  29. Press release: Toyota

    Panasonic Toyota Racing today began its final test of preparation for the 2009 season at Barcelona’s Circuit de Catalunya. After early showers the track started off partly wet but there was no further rain and in spite of cool temperatures the tarmac soon dried out. Jarno Trulli was at the helm of the TF109, working on a programme that included aerodynamics, brakes and set-up. He had a successful day, putting in over 100 laps. Jarno will return to action tomorrow as the test continues.

    Jarno Trulli – Chassis TF109-04
    Position: 3rd of 10
    Best lap time: 1min 20.937s (+0.599s)
    Total laps: 121
    “This morning started off with drizzly conditions but the rain quickly tailed off, giving us the chance to have a good day’s work. The afternoon was windier but the track surface was fine. The car felt well balanced from the start and we worked on several new things on the aero side which gave us positive results. We were competitive throughout the day and we collected a lot of data so this was a useful start to the test.”

    Dieter Gass, Chief Engineer Race and Test
    “Today we carried out a lot of different tests, mainly on new aerodynamic components but also on brakes and suspension. So it was a full programme and there were no technical problems. Conditions were good and we made it through everything we had planned. We did a lot of laps so it was a positive start to our last week of preparation for Melbourne.”

  30. I got 100 to 1 on Jenson to be champion this year. Must be worth £20 punt.

  31. I hazard an assesment:

    BMW and Ferrari within the expectations.
    Wiliams and Force India need to improve a lot.
    Toro Rosso, Red Bull more and more close to the top.
    Renault and Toyota already within the top rank.
    BrawnGP: Wow, what has happened?

    McLaren: oh God, what’s that?

    I’m sure it will be a funny championship.

  32. Just looked at McLarens test line-up and it seems they’re having a “private test” before going to australia. The McLaren fan inside me makes me believe this is where they’ll have all the bits attached to the car behind closed doors.

    So basically we’ll all have to wait and see if they’re fast at the Australian GP!

    1. Pedro Valenzuela
      9th March 2009, 16:47

      Where can I check it djdaveyp? Thanks!

    2. Yes djdaveyp, could you please give me a link to that information about McLaren.

    3. Thanks djdaveyp.

    4. Isn’t that more like a shakedown of the cars before they are shipped? I think every team does that.

  33. Press release: BMW

    Weather conditions: Sunny in the morning, overcast in the afternoon.
    Temperature: Air: 10 – 18 °C, Track: 11 – 23 °C
    Number of drivers participating: 10 from 10 teams

    Fastest lap overall: Nick Heidfeld (BMW Sauber F1 Team) 1:20.338 min
    Circuit length: 4.655 km

    Nick Heidfeld
    Chassis / engine: BMW Sauber F1.09-04 / BMW 86/9
    Test kilometres today: 429 (92 laps)
    Fastest lap: 1:20.338 min


    With the final pre-season test under way, the BMW Sauber F1 Team geared up to make its final preparations for the Australian Grand Prix. On the first day of the Barcelona test Nick Heidfeld concentrated on race related procedures, i. e. pit stop practice, to fine tune the working relationship between the driver, engineers and mechanics. Heidfeld also did a couple of practice starts.

    “The weather was perfect for today’s programme”, Heidfeld said after completing 92 laps. “We could try a lot of different set-up solutions and even do some aero work.”

    1. So Nick set the fastest time of the day while doing pit stop practice and practice starts? Wonder how quick the BMW will be when they start going for quick times… :D

  34. Ross Brawn: The man who wrecked the career of Rubens Barrichello. I can’t stand the fact that rubens has even agreed to extend his contract with this team named after himself. Mr Brawn once infamously remarked barrichello as being the most technically imperfect driver on the grid, fit only to play second fiddle to shoemaker. Honestly it would be better for barrichello to retire & start his own team than to be part of a team whose boss mocks him at his back. Mr R.Brawn is no bruce mclaren or frank williams.nor can he be held in the same esteem as colin chapman. put into simpler terms he is a immoral engineer who worked for a cheat. I dont see this team going too far, that too in the current economic climate. My only question is why dont we have teams named after maxie & bernie ? Or do all cheats have stakes involved in brawn gp, including shoemaker ?

    1. I’d like to see this quote from Brawn?

    2. I’d like to see it too. Wouldn’t Barrichello know enough about Ross Brawn to form his own opinion? And has Ross Brawn ever actually been found guilty of cheating? Something to the tune of $100 million, perhaps?

    3. i’m amazed that somebody else has the same views about Brawn as i do.

      1. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=asE7AA5_JdM

  35. Here is a news article for the people hoping McLaren have been using the 2008 rear wing because they have have some tricks up their sleeve, a radical new floor


    1. So maybe using the 2008 rear wing was to distract everybody from this then!?

    2. Depends if this is a planned upgrade or a desperate attempt to claw back lost downforce.

    3. Fingers crossed then. What would be really interesting and exciting this season would be Hamilton vs Button. 2 very different drivers. Just need them both to be front running cars. And hopefully a motivated Button.

    4. Well, at least Craig Scarborough gave his opinion about the new floor:

      “With no question on the floor’s legality, McLaren may have stolen a march on the opposition at a time that many observers have been questioning the team’s testing pace.”

  36. Press release: Red Bull

    Driver: Mark Webber
    Car: RB5 – 03
    Laps: 117
    Best time: 1:22.246
    Circuit length: 4.655 km
    Fastest lap: N. Heidfeld – 1:20.338

    Every Formula One team entered in the 2009 World Championship is present here at the Catalunya Circuit, near Barcelona, for the final dress rehearsal in the form of a four day test, the last official session prior to the Australian Grand Prix.

    Recent tests in Spain have been blighted by bad weather, but apart from a few worrying drops in the early morning, sunshine has been the order of the day. Red Bull Racing is here with another new chassis, number 3, so the first item on today’s agenda was a shakedown, which went off according to plan. Once that was completed, it was back to general car development work prior to the season opener in Melbourne, evaluating various new aero and mechanical components. At the same time, Mark Webber ran a comparison between the Bridgestone “medium” and “soft” tyres. By the end of the day, the car had also completed enough laps to sign off a durability check on the Renault engine, which had been carried over from last week’s Jerez test.

    Mark Webber continues driving tomorrow, before handing over to Sebastian Vettel for the final two days.

  37. Interesting. Autosport indicate a new front wing for McLaren, I presume the nose-wing connections?

  38. At Mp4-19 When you mention “cheats”, do you mean just like McLaren’s entire senior technical and managerial departmenr, and lead driver and lead tester in 2007? In a way you must do, ’cause those particular cheats have gone and signed them to an engine agreement lol

  39. Pictures added above and here’s our first press release from Brawn GP:


    Date: Monday 9 March
    Track: Circuit de Catalunya
    Driver: Jenson Button

    No of Laps: 82 laps
    Best Lap Time: 01:21.140
    Kilometres Covered: 382km
    Track Length: 4.655km

    Weather: Cool
    Ambient Temperature: Maximum 14°C
    Track Temperature: Maximum 27°C

    The Brawn GP Formula One Team’s 2009 car, the BGP 001, made its full track debut at the Circuit de Catalunya in Barcelona, Spain today following an initial shakedown at Silverstone, UK on 6 March.

    Taking to the track to participate in the group test session, the BGP 001 showed encouraging reliability and pace as the team intensifies its preparations for the season-opening Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne on 29 March. With only seven days of testing between now and the first race, the team’s test programme has been carefully planned to ensure a balance between reliability checks and improving the overall performance of the car.

    Driving responsibilities over the four-day test will be shared by the team’s race drivers Jenson Button and Rubens Barrichello. After shaking down the car at Silverstone, Jenson had the opportunity to evaluate the car on a full Grand Prix circuit for the first time today. In addition to completing a reliability and set-up programme with the new chassis, he worked through new tyre evaluations using the Bridgestone Potenza slicks and completed a race start simulation.

    Jenson completed 82 laps over the course of the day and set the fourth fastest time overall. Team-mate Rubens will join the Brawn GP team in Barcelona tomorrow to take over the BGP 001 car from Jenson.

    “It has been a good first day in the BGP 001 with our new team, Brawn GP. I’d like to start by thanking everyone at the team for all the hard work that has contributed to getting us here today. We have enjoyed a positive opening day of running at our first test and achieved a total of 82 laps, which we are all very pleased with. We did experience a problem with the gearbox late in the day but we knew we might face some reliability issues in view of our lack of testing. Fortunately, it’s a minor problem that is easily addressed. It’s early days yet but generally it has been a positive start to our pre-season preparations.”

    RESULTS (All timings are unofficial)

    Pos Driver Team Time Laps
    1. Nick Heidfeld BMW Sauber 1:20.338 96
    2. Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1:20.908 81
    3. Jarno Trulli Toyota 1:20.937 121
    4. Jenson Button Brawn GP 1:21.140 82
    5. Nelson Piquet Renault 1:21.662 126
    6. Sebastien Bourdais Toro Rosso 1:22.158 86
    7. Mark Webber Red Bull 1:22.246 117
    8. Adrian Sutil Force India 1:22.452 129
    9. Kazuki Nakajima Williams 1:22.813 111
    10. Heikki Kovalainen McLaren 1:22.948 90

  40. The team is going carefully on their own test schedule:

    McLaren release:

    The morning session was spent focusing on longer runs using an existing bodywork package in order to establish an accurate baseline ahead of the evaluation of new parts in the afternoon. During the lunchbreak, MP4-24 was fitted with a new front wing, floor and top body and the programme continued – on identical fuel-loads – throughout the afternoon. The team now turns its focus towards tuning the set-up in order to fully exploit the characteristics of the new aero kit.

    The pace will come, i´m sure, in the next days!

  41. Man, I am getting excited about this season. Brawn taking over late in the day has added to the speculation and I feel (with no proof mind you) that Mclaren have something up their sleeve.

    I doubt Button can win the championship but I really want him to do well.

  42. Now the cars are actually on track my withdrawal symtoms are starting to ease!

  43. Well my support will be behind McLaren as always. Being a Kiwi that latched on to F1 at a young age I developed a loyalty to the team with a New Zealand heritage. Just can’t help it… regardless if they win, or lose.

    I’ll also be supporting Toyota, as I’m a fan of Toyota’s high performance cars from times gone by.

    And this year, I shall be cheering on Brawn GP. Been a fan of Jenson for years, and Ross Brawn also. I also think their car looks competitive and appealing (for an 09 car anyway) and really hope they manage to get a GP win this season!

    Roll on Australia… Let’s get this show started ;)

  44. StrFerrari4Ever
    9th March 2009, 20:06

    well very interesting to see BGP up there i know they couldve been doing a light fuel run but hey who knows could be right up there good first day for STR lets see what tommorow brings Mclaren imo i think are struggling a bit dont you think?

  45. Great job Keith! Well, what do you think mate? Brawn looked decent. That’s a good sign irrespective of how you feel about the Honda F1/Nick Fry/Ross Brawn buyout. Could we see a new bio picture of Keith with a Brawn GP hap on?

    1. Actually I should update that pic it’s three years old now…

      I think the really good news about the Brawn car was it kept going. I don’t think anyone expects them to be as fast as they looked once the racing starts, but if the car runs reliably then there’s always the chance they can grab some points.

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