Australian GP Pictures: Practice

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Jarno Trulli practising for the Australian Grand Prix

The first practice sessions at Melbourne gave us a chance to see the new F1 cars being driven in anger for the first time.

Here’s a selection of pictures of each of the drivers getting to grips with the tricky new cars and the slippery Albert Park circuit this morning.

If you’re in Melbourne for the Grand Prix this weekend you can share your pictures with us by uploading them to the F1 Fanatic

Images (C) BMW ag, Force India F1 Team, Getty Images, Bridgestone, Renault / LAT, Williams / LAT, Toyota F1 World

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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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34 comments on “Australian GP Pictures: Practice”

  1. I am wondering why heikki is so much faster than lewis. A little disappointed actually. Didn’t think they were that far off the pace. :(

    1. Only during first practice. I think Hamilton had a problem with his brakes. Didn’t they replace or fix them even?

  2. toyoda lovers
    27th March 2009, 14:04

    “toyota, oh what a feeling”

    1. Is that a slogan they use in Australia or something?

    2. Terry Fabulous
      27th March 2009, 21:18

      The ‘Oh What a Feeling’ phrase and musical note (dum, dum-dum, DUM-DUM) is played on all Toyota ads in Oz.
      It is also accompanied by the Toyota jump where the driver gets out of his car and does a two footed leap into the air with hands held aloft.

      According the ad gurus on ‘The Gruen Transfer’ Australia is the only market where they do this because everyone else thinks it is stupid.

      We love it though!

    3. It originated as an ad slogan in the US in the early ’80s

  3. djdavep: I think Heikki is running KERS in his car this weekend. Don’t kill me if I’m wrong :D

    1. You’ve just inadvertantly highlighted why we need to see a KERS indicator on the car.

      Now we can’t even accurately compare team-mates anymore!

    2. Terry Fabulous
      27th March 2009, 21:20

      How about a blue box over the drivers head and when he hits the KERS button it flashes like a lightning bolt!
      That would look cool!

    3. Don’t forget the sticker that cars running KERS must display. A yellow sticker with a lightning bolt, is it? It’s not much, but I’m sure it’s there to see.

  4. dont like that Renault. that high fin should be banned.

    Hamilton will get there eventually. he is a quicker driver than Kovy IMO. He hasn’t got the car working for him yet. I mean its not a good car, but he hasn’t got it working at its potential yet either. Hamilton needs to be patient.
    what team could he go to where he would KNOW he would have more chance of winning in 2010? Only Ferrari but I’d hate him to go there. things will mix up, Hamilton needs to hang in there.

  5. This is really a great site! There is absolutely no other place on the web I think that’s related to F1 who posts pics as great as these pictures you posted. Thanks man! I’m a big big F1 fan! …

    It’s really nice to see how different the field is now. And it makes it great for the fans that there are different leaders and different drivers who are leading. I’m still a big Ferrari Fan but I gotta say that Williams-Toyota has done a great first day of practice. Nico looked very strong in both sessions. Brawn GP cars as well.

    For Mclaren, I think it’s time for Lewis to show how good of a driver he is and show that he is a deserving champion. I remember Jean Todt in an interview said. Lewis is just very lucky to drive a winning car. So now let’s he how he performs a not too competitive car. Heiki has been like this in Renault he experienced it already and alot of people has critisized him for that … but I think it’s also a time for Heiki to show that he is a great driver too that is why he is in F1 .. the problem really is he is just driving a car that doesn’t really suit him.

    Alonso has showed it before. In 2008, even driving a slow car. you can really see him fighting the car. Trying to push a bit but not over drive it too much. There are alot of onboard shots of Alonso showing how hard he is working just fighting the steering wheel to keep the car on the track. If lewis is really a great driver he should be able to push his car and we will be able to see how he will push the car to it’s limits. I’d be very surprised if Heiki will be much quicker this season.

    1. Thanks Tone – welcome to F1 Fanatic :-)

  6. I hope that Massa is saving his best for sunday!!
    Anyway, I liked what Barrichello did…
    Piquet… he has to learn a little

    1. Eduardo Colombi
      27th March 2009, 23:04

      the wheel covers of the brawn looks awful, and the change of the helmets is other thing i didnt like

  7. Heikki was faster than him in ONE practice session. In the second session, Heikki was right down on the charts with Lewis. And yet, Lewis at the end was on a flying lap that was looking like it would set a good time before his slip up in one of the high-speed right-handers.

    We’ll know more about McLaren after qualis.

  8. I’m probably being completely hopeful, but i hope they have something up their sleeves!

  9. StrFerrari4Ever
    27th March 2009, 15:57

    i thought BMW would be up there but right now they have been disappointing i know they had a few issues will see how it goes during the weekend Red Bull were fast aswell Webber and Vettel performed well hopefully they can build on that during FP3 Quali & the race and my beloved Toro Rosso i hope a miracle happens and they get a pace injection i want them to put the cat amongst the pigeons :D

  10. It is very nice to see williams running at the front again! I hope nico does well this season.

  11. Bollywood Bub
    27th March 2009, 16:42

    Customer teams leading the manufacturers, I could get used to this!

  12. The whole field has been tossed up this season….this is going to be so much fun!!

  13. gotta love the yellow wheels on the brawns

  14. Although I’m a McLaren fan for a long time and also a Hamilton fan because of how he runs and how he handles himself as a person, even in that first year with that spaniard weasel alongside him….

    And I think, that the Ferrari fans with be disappointed with the work done by the McLaren team to bring the car all the way to the front grid, very soon.

    Nevertheless, as a live long Formula One Fanatic (no pun intended : ) I am also very happy the see the return to grace of a team that I also liked a lot – Williams!

    Don’t know and nobody can (just by guessing) what’s the reality in all the teams performances, but after P3, if anybody was hiding something or testing stuff and not concern about great blast lap time, then, we’ll see (as in the race) the true pace of the pack.

    But we must always have in mind that, for example, if the diffuser issue is that’s giving Williams, Brawn and Toyota advantage, two things will happened: The Word Council will make them illegal (for future races – nobody will be disqualified from Australia race) or… the other team make their diffusers and these three. It’s not very hard to figure it out.

    Some notes about the teams (after P1 and P2)

    Heikki showed on P1 he could go fast; Lewis may have some problems with the car set-up, but many laps I saw the car very heavy, so, as they said in the press release after, they were not concerned about making flying laps.

    The car looks unstable – both Massa and Kimmi where struggling with the car a lot and they went off track a few times and other times, just managed to hold the car in. We’ll see their real pace next.

    Show many problems and not even the fast Kubica could take anything out of the car. Again – it’s not Jerez or Barcelona anymore, now it’s the real deal – with inspections, weights and the works… by the book (that FIA wrote… sniff…)

    I’ve heard a lot about how important the drivers experience will be this year because all the changes… Well Alonso may be consider by some the more complete driver from all 20 this year (not me…) but he has a lot to work with the team to make their car even score points… In a season preview show here in Portugal, before P1, it was asked what Renault will we have this year – now – the one that began 2008 season or the one that finished it – for now the answer it’s easy – the one the began 2008.

    The first (in this list) “diffuser issue” team. Of all three is the last, even if they put some good times in P2.

    Toro Rosso
    For now it’s the red lantern of the pack. As they said – still testing out the new STR4 car.

    Red Bull
    Appears to be better than Toro Rosso this year, but not much, even considering the time Webber put on P2. For now it’s the second from bottom.

    Perhaps the biggest surprise, because Brawn already did some showing out in Barcelona, but Williams was more discrete. The Second “diffuser issue” team in the list, but first in the pack. It’s good to see them back on top!

    Force India
    Another positive surprise, very much related to the chance of the Ferrari motor from the Mercedes unit. Even in pre-season the car looked nice and on the pace. If the reliability of the Mercedes unit is as it was been the last years and they work well the aero package, it may leave some people with the mouth open after some races.

    Brown GP
    OK, so them proved that Barcelona and Jerez were not stunts to get sponsorship (and they’ll get a very good one – Virgin nevertheless – so money for the season will be guaranteed) and perhaps because they don’t even have KERS and have the “magic diffuser”, and two good drivers, they’ll be there for podium finishes and even race wins.
    Another Mercedes powered team proving it made the right choice between Ferrari motor and Mercedes power unit.

    Some global notes

    The struggle with the cars by the drivers is general and a lot of them express themselves very well to their teams (Kubica, Bourdais). The cars have little grip and we saw almost everybody going straight to the grass/dirt in turn 1 – now imagine it during the race.
    It’s that dam inversion of all that’s logical aerodynamically – putting a giant front wing and a tiny rear wing… and… not reverting the front tires’ size to a small one as it used to be with slicks…

    FIA did this – saw what teams were doing aerodynamically during the last 2 decades to improve the cars and with these so nice rules for 2009, revert it.

    We were used to see smaller wing in front (in the ‘80s some didn’t even had wings for some tracks) and bigger wing on the back to ground the car. Now, we have no traction control (OK by me) and we have aerodynamically backwards cars, and I foresee very hard times for all teams this year, and in the city track with walls all around, that better takes around 5 front wing for each car because they’ll break a lot, baby, a lot!


    And that’s how Mr. Mosley cut costs in Formula One. Please vote on him again so he can put this sport, that’s supposed to be the King of motor racing sport… out of its misery… and kill it once and for all… He fans, fanatics : ) just morn and watch the DVDs and the Yearbooks from when this really was Formula One!

  15. McClaren problems are huge and it will take long to sort it since its the Chassis design than the silly wings they have been worrying about. The mid section is too squarish and flat to suck air closer to the body making it impossible for the back wing to generate downforce after air passes the back wheels.

  16. Ah djdaveyp once more. You know for someone with their own “website” about F1 you really seem to struggle to notice signs, trends, pragmatic interviews, flagrant lack of pace etc etc. You should put your optimism into high-value betting. I’d tip you to go for either “something-still-up-their-sleeve” McLaren. or possibly judging by friday practice “We’re going slowly for the fun of it, we like to do it sometimes” BMW. Either is a sure winner

  17. Personal preferences aside, it would be phenomenal to see Sir Frank heaving the WCC again after so many years.

  18. Love the side-on shot of Rosberg. That Williams looks sleek and, dare I say it, sexy. Look at the “snow plough” and the front of the nose – beautiful.

  19. Does anyone know where to find the “Practice Session Lap Times” sheets? For 2008 they are all nicely on the FIA site, but the 2009 ones I can’t find.

    1. Hey that’s great. Thanks Keith!

  20. I am absolutely thrilled after the P1 and P2; as this is always the stuff that I wanted to see in F1. The question always is: “Is it the driver” or “the car?”

    Usually, the top teams (McLaren, Ferrari, BMW, Renault) get the best drivers; and the others usually “appear” bad because the cars themselves are not good. I have always wondered how would the drivers of RedBull or Williams perform if they were to be switched with the Ferrari drivers? Well, that would never happen! :)

    An interesting question would be, how would it look like if the “Toyota, Honda (Brawn), and Williams” were to have a generally faster car compared to “Ferrari, McLaren, BMW, and Renault). Thanks to the change of rules that we have this.

    Let’s see which driver can drive the heck out of the car. I just hope the court would rule the “interesting” interpretation of the diffuser to be legal.

  21. You remain ever over optimistic about mclaren’s performance, your posts always remainds me of what i’ve got in mind. Lets hope this time for the good of the world that they have really somthin hidden under their sleeves. I’m wit u on this one. A 1-2 in quali would shut many mouths. Would’nt it ?

  22. The above post was a respose to one of djdavyp post.

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