2009 F1 testing: March 18th

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McLaren MP4-24: It's not fast, the photographer just lost his balance
McLaren MP4-24: It's not fast, the photographer just lost his balance

And then there were two. Renault and Brawn GP polished off their pre-season preparations yesterday, with the BGP 001 on top yet again.

McLaren and Williams are the only two teams left at Jerez, but even that probably won’t be enough for the MP4-24 to hit the top of the times sheets. Unless McLaren have been having us all on up until now…

Today’s testing line-up

Kazuki Nakajima
Heikki Kovalainen

Live timing

You can find live lap times on the following sites (various languages):

Renault usually post details of their test on their blog.

If you find any more good sites for following testing lap times, please post details below. Further updates will be posted in the comments and any images or video from today’s testing will be added here.

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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82 comments on “2009 F1 testing: March 18th”

  1. “It’s not fast, the photographer just lost his balance”


    1. i laughed too

    2. And together with his shutter speed (:

    3. That caption did make me do a little bit of a laugh-out-loug… in a rather subdued and quiet office.

  2. Is it just me or Lewis is getting more days then Heikki?

    1. Actually today Heikki should be testing but you may want to ask the same question for Renault by changing drivers. As far as I know, Alonso’s mileage doubled or something Piquet’s.

  3. I think Heikki has done more tests that Lewis

  4. I think its damage control time for McLaren. Get the car setup correct for the TOP driver at least. Maybe get a few tenths back on the others. Until the car is sorted out.

  5. HAHA.. good caption Keith. I hope McLaran has it up for all of us and takes the top spot in testing, and races. Or, Lewis has to get vindicated to the thought that it was the car that won 2008 and he was helping only to take the fight to the last race by crashing idiotically and finishing in non-podium spots.

  6. Williams are also testing in Jerez today.

    1. Ah, pays if I read the first post correctly…

      *whistles to himself*

    2. Why weren’t Red Bull at this test? After all they weren’t at Bahrain, and they launched their car later than most…

    3. They’re putting their faith in their off-track facilities these days and have just upgraded their simulator(s) through Platform.

      That and the fact they want to save money by grabbing the FOM’s chartered flights to Australia I guess?

    4. Scott Joslin
      18th March 2009, 8:55

      Keith, some people were saying that the Bernie plane leaves shortly for Australia so those testing today would have to make their own way over there at their own cost. If this is true, why are Williams still testing, they can ill afford to the expense surely?

    5. They’ve probably flown some parts with Ecclestone but McLaren are flying a load of stuff out separately as well, so I think you’re right. I don’t know about Williams, but it’s probably the same for them too.

  7. looks like heikki is in the car today…

    1. ’tis indeed – Kovalainen’s in, not Hamilton.

  8. This is going to be one frustrating year. While I be happy to see Brawn GP doing well, and possibly Toyota doing better, it will be sad to see the McLaren’s struggling at the back of the grid.

  9. I think its going to be exciting actually, even if they’re not at the front, it’ll be great to watch lewis squeezing the ******** off that car!

    Then hopefully if brawn are as fast as they look jenson and rubens should be having a fine battle!

  10. Keith, Just wondering in you last couple of posts for the testing there have been no images of the tests? I am bit of a kid at heart and like to look at pictures!!!

    1. I’ll sort some out later this week, promise!

  11. Bernie doesn’t seemed bothered about the possibility of a ‘row’ over the legality of certain teams’ diffusers –

    “I guarantee whoever wins the races in Melbourne will be told they are cheating, and it doesn’t matter who it is,” he explained. “In this case it seems two teams, maybe three, certainly Toyota and Brawn, have interpreted the regulations in a different way to the other teams.

    “The FIA at the moment says that interpretation is correct, but possibly some other teams will put in a protest before Melbourne. It won’t affect racing but will be looked at after.”

    I for one don’t want to see Brawn GP, or Toyota, or any other team winning in Australia, to then find out a couple of days later that the FIA have stripped them of the win due to an illegal diffuser.

    Surely this issue should have been clarified by now?

    1. It would be utterly ridiculous for them to say they’re ok now, only to disqualify them after australia. They should concretely confirm that they are ok now. Otherwise they would have to completely design the rear of the car after aussie within 1 week if they get DSQ!

    2. The way I see it is if “…The FIA at the moment says that interpretation is correct…” then the FIA should also say that the interpretation is also correct post-Melbourne, protest or not.

      And thats they way they should see it too.

    3. It will be looked at after? It sounds like they’ve already decided among themselves that it’s illegal and now they’re planning to remove the winning team of their victory. I guess that fixing race results after the race is the next best thing to a sex-scandol for generating publicity.

  12. Why dont we hear anything from the McLaren team. No press release, interviews or anything. Surely they owe it to their fans to explain where they are and why they are where they are, and what they are doing to catch up. Even though I cant see much progress. I see they are running many laps. Does that mean they are not testing new parts and only consentrating on reliability?

  13. I don’t think i’ve ever experienced so much anticipation, nervousness, excitement or curiousity ahead of an F1 season before. And it’s only going to increase over the next week or so!

  14. There’s only one thing definatelly sure about F1 this year:
    Melbourne will bring many answers.

  15. McLaren MP4-24: It’s not fast, the photographer just lost his balance

    I laughed, and then I felt bad. And I say that as a Ferrari fan!

    (Additionally, Melbourne’s going to be a bit of a sleep-deprived nightmare for me – I’m seeing Metallica in London on Saturday the 28th!)

  16. Pete Firestarter
    18th March 2009, 13:27

    With the new points system, BrawnGP will surely wrap the WD championship before anyone wakes up with the KERS and defussers. They can just sit the drivers down and toss a coin. Whoever wins the toss should go for the wins!

    1. If their pace is true then you might just be right, maybe not about the coin tossing bit!

  17. if this is true
    Kovu just make 1:18.202 … I think first time this week thay manage 1:18 …

  18. Yes, it seams they are constantly improving. I hope they will improve still.
    1.18.2 is not bad (I think it is the second time of all the teams testing in Jerez – including the test at the beginning of the month)

    1. looks the same to me…….

  19. PLEASE tell me they left the best for last… I have been looking at that page the whole day, and hoping they would break 1:19’s If this is not a typo then McLaren is on the Money, and the other teams need to start panicing

  20. I think time is for real …


    De esta manera, McLaren ha llegado a bajar el tiempo de Renault en una décima (1:8,343 de Alonso) y estando sólo por detrás de Brawn y Williams. Nos preguntamos si el resto de equipos que no han estado presentes en estos tests han evolucionado de la misma manera que lo han hecho los equipos en esta semana, pues la evolución de éstos ha sido más que destacable.

    google translate this to:

    In this way, McLaren has come down in time Renault tenth (1:8343 Alonso) and being just behind and Brawn Williams. We wonder if the other teams that have not been present in these tests have evolved in the same way that the teams have done this week, as the course of these has been more than remarkable.

    1. Yep, but Kov stints were just 5 laps…nothing improved in the long runs…sorry…

  21. FIA can only consider a car legal or illegal, once the season starts! Of course they can be looking at cars right now and already investigate, but officially, only when the season starts and during the race weekends, the car can be checked and deemed legal or illegal!

    McLaren has used the 2008 rear-wing on their tests, and of course, thar car was illegal under the 2009 rules, but they are sanctioned only if they use it on the race weekend!

    So in Melborune, after the first test sessions, we will have protests from teams and the FIA can oficially say if the car is legal or not.
    But, since they already looked at the cars (in theory) and said it is ok, then it would be bad to disqualify the cars. But of course, they cannot do it right now, the season has not begun, and this is also the reason why there are no protests filed on FIA, but looking and Ferrari’s and Renault’s comment, I think in Melbourne we will have protests agains Brawn, Williams and Toyota

  22. Kova’s 1.18.202 makes him third fastest at Jerez all month after Button’s 1:17.844 and Rosberg’s 1:18.071 both done yesterday.

    Wonder what the odds are like for Kova winning at Melbourne.

    1. That’s definitely an indicator of very good progress for McLaren. I know yesterday they wanted to get really good examinations of the changes they made with Lewis, but couldn’t because of the wind conditions. Today, under better conditions, they’re showing progress.

      McLaren is still very much a title contender. With the resources they have, any issues with the car they’re having will be fixed quickly. Anyone remember 2005 when they were having a devil of a time getting the chassis to generate heat in the tires? Well, it didn’t take very long for Raikkonen to start leaving the field in the dust. (Only to be held back from a WDC by reliability problems.)

  23. Does anyone know what is the difference between green aero paint and blue aero paint ?
    I see they were using the green one yesterday and the blue one today

    1. yesterday they paint different parts of car with different colors … just to separate things I think … you can see it here:

  24. schumi the greatest
    18th March 2009, 14:17

    they ran out of the green paint i reckon…..bad preparation….its all going downhill now good old ron dennis has left the fold!


  25. thanks mail123456. Where do you have the pictures from ? Are there other available ?

    1. yesterday EGC post link to flash gallery with these .. today I checked again page but it says bandwidth exceeded or somethin’ … you can check it here
      I have couple of then ripped from site …

  26. To make up 1 second over night they must have known what they where doing all along. And they still have another days testing left. Must say this is the best news all year for McLaren Fans. Gives us hope again.

    1. Obviously fundamentally the car is right there must have been something disturbing the airflow somewhere which they have corrected. It will be something their software got wrong but they will put it right with the information they gathered from the paint hopefully!

    2. Mark Hughes said something similar in his last column for ITV. If I were a McLaren fan I wouldn’t get my hope up just yet though.

  27. As a McLaren Fan, I’m happy to see Heiki putting the MP4-24 back into competitive territory with the 1:18.2 today. Hopefully it is a sign that the major aspects of development are complete in preparation for Melbourne.
    For sure I am happy that they are having these problems now, when they can test them out, as opposed to later in the season when they’re stuck trying brand new parts/setups during Friday practices. This experience might actually give McLaren a leg-up on the other teams who’ve been working on ‘fine-tuning’ for 3 weeks now.

    1. I am only to happy about this being a Mclaren fan

      but are we 110% sure this lap time is for real and not a typo or because a chicane has been cut or somthing silly like that….

    2. almost every ‘live’ site now report that time … but for cut chicane I’m not sure

  28. Among other factors … could it be that hot weather suits better the McLaren now ? Perhaps they have changed the car so that it will use less the tires by heating them less (as opposed to the previous car) ?

  29. just wandering if anybody knows what sort of run Heiki was doing to get his 1.18.2? is it showing their actual pace?

    1. McLaren doing stints of 5 laps today … for 1:18 I’m not sure because thef1 have some outage and I miss about a hour just when time was posted but I think it was a short stint, just like Alonso’s on monday

  30. Also Hekki likes the car to understeer. Therefore the rear of the McLaren must be bolted to the track. I am lead to believe a new floor is being shipped tonight for evaluation tomorrow.

  31. Does anybody now how long it takes them to create these NEW parts. For instance how long does it take them bo build a new rear wing. Or a front wing. Or in this case a new floor.

    1. In fact very little time.

      Yesterday, Max Mosley was anouncing new rules for independent teams.

      Today you can see Heikki doing some test with a brand new model for a brand new team:

      Chitty F1 :-)


    2. I assume new floor takes about a week. I only know this because a friend of mine was at McLaren last Wednesday and they had about 4 gallons (16 litres) of Loctite 4040 (the bonding agent of carbon fibre) delivered. He was told it was to build a new floor. This new floor is apparently on its way tonight to Jerez. A large aircraft was on Fairoaks apron this afternoon it took off about an hour ago.

    3. @ IDR
      Pierrenodoyuna y patan? :-)

  32. Looking at the rear of the Mclaren today, seems like they are working on engine cover/exhaust variations, looks to be different set-up on each side of the car: http://f1.f-e-n.net/images/f1/20090318/mclaren/18.jpg

  33. Judging by the new times it looks like Mclaren are back in the fight?

    1. I can’t help but feel they’ve been there all along and they’re playing games with the speculation! MY opinion is that they were sandbagging, then everybody started speculating that they weren’t so, they’ve used this opportunity to make us all believe they were!

      All a big PR stunt!

  34. djdaveyp you’re compreshension of logic astounds me

  35. With the new points system, BrawnGP will surely wrap the WD championship before anyone wakes up with the KERS and defussers. They can just sit the drivers down and toss a coin. Whoever wins the toss should go for the wins!

    That’s a thought. Brawn fastest for the first few races while everyone else catches up. Button takes 4 wins and then the rest scrap it out for the remaining wins, leaving Button as WDC. Anythings possible now?
    If Brawn is quick enough to win, with the new rules not there for consistency throughout the season, early wins could be a big bonus. Then Brawn start developing 2010 car early and do it all over again. :D

    1. precisely, if their lead in testing was as it appeared and with the ban on in-season tests things could be looking quite rosey for the brawn brigade. maybe this medal malarky could be for the better

  36. I have to warn everyone that Heiki’s stint was 3 laps when he did that time and Button’s time was on 7 lap stint so there is a big difference, in my opinion the McLaren’s are still at least one and a half seconds short on the Brawn GP but good enough for 4th behind the Ferraris, the Toyotas and the Renaults’. I think the McLaren’s are going in good direction so keep up the good work !

    1. Interesting detail on the stint length, thanks for that.

  37. Good steady progress, if anyone can do it Mclaren can.

  38. What drivers in the car tomorrow?

    Is it Hamilton tommorow or Kovalainen?

    1. Kazuki Nakajima
      Heikki Kovalainen
      but if McLaren actually find fix for their troubles, I will be not surprised to see Hamilton after lunch …

  39. Have Mclaren moved the KERS to the front of the car becuase the isolation stikcer is no longer at the start of the engine cover but its on the nose just before the cockpit

    1. No, I’m sure it’s just the sticker!

    2. Impossible for the KERS unit to be there, needs to be by the drivetrain; one explanation could be that they’re experimenting with using the batteries as ballast and putting them in the front (like Ferrari tried).

  40. lets see how well mac do with two matching engine covers…

  41. No Keith. I’m sure they have to put the stickers according to where the batteries are placed so marshalls are aware where the batteries are.

  42. If this order keeps the same, I wonder how long before the hysterical British sports fans and the hysterical Brit tabloids start demanding that Button gives up his seat to Hamilton, or something like that.

    1. No I think they will all move on to button and go on about him being champion

  43. Yeah, I would think the movement of the sticker is relative to the location of the storage device. it doesn’t surprise me that mclaren moved the weight to the front, ferrari have a long nose for that exact purpose, more weight over the front wheels for more grip.

    sounds like they are trying to correct some understeer by throwing more weight to the front.

  44. Personally I like Button over Hamilton. Why? That i don’t know yet. Maybe because Button speaks less than Hamilton. I like the silent type. another thing is the fluidity of Buttons driving style. He’s not hard on tires. I will give my support to Brawn GP next to Ferrari.

    1. The fact Button is a speaking guy is because whwn Hamilton came all the media has been focused on him :-)

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