Updated cars arrive in Spain (pictures)

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The BMW F1.09 sports revised front and rear aerodynamics

BMW and Ferrari have revealed substantial upgrades to their cars as F1’s ‘ground war’ in Europe begins.

Several other teams have brought upgrades as well – including the ones they’re all trying to catch, Brawn.


Felipe Massa, Ferrari, Bahrain Grand Prix (click to enlarge)

Ferrari have brought their interpretation of the “double diffuser”. The brightened photograph of Kimi Raikkonen testing at the Circuit de Catalunya (below) offers a decent view of it, and can be compared with Felipe Massa’s car at Bahrain above.

Raikkonen is also using a special lightened version of the F60 chassis, slimmed down by 10kg to allow him to position ballast more effectively while using KERS.

Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari, Spanish Grand Prix (click to enlarge)


Robert Kubica, BMW, Bahrain Grand Prix (click to enlarge)

BMW has an even more comprehensive new range of parts, a consequence of its decision not to bring incremental developments during the opening flyaway races.

The front wing sports new flaps inboard of the end plates, the nose is raise and the rear wing has a new mounting arrangement.

The changes are more than just skin deep. The team have temporarily dropped KERS, though they intend to bring it back in a few races’ time. There is no ‘double diffuser’ on the car yet – they are expected to have one ready by the Turkish Grand Prix in two races’ time.

Nick Heidfeld, BMW, Spanish Grand Prix (click to enlarge)

More pictures of the revised cars in practice

Among the other teams expected to bring new significant upgrades were Renault (rear wing), Brawn (floor and engine cover), McLaren (diffuser) and Force India (adjustable front wing). A more cosmetic change on Brawn’s BGP001 is sponsorship from the new Terminator film.

Here’s more pictures of these cars from testing today:

Images (C) Ferrari spa, Brawn GP, Renault/LAT, www.mclaren.com, Force India F1 Team, BMW ag

The BMWs showed improved pace in the morning practice session, although it was the usual names at the top of the times – Jenson Button in practice one, Nico Rosberg in practice two. We’ll get a better idea which teams have found improvements in qualifying tomorrow.

If you’ve spotted any other changes to the cars this weekend, post details in the comments.

Read more: Teams bringing new parts to catch Brawn (Spanish Grand Prix preview)

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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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14 comments on “Updated cars arrive in Spain (pictures)”

  1. sajonaraman
    8th May 2009, 22:20

    The BMW looks nasty. So is the team’s achievement so far this year. Hope they’ll pick up a few points here… No DD though. Sigh…

  2. They really brought the nose up on the BMW,not pretty but,hopefully effective…..and hopefully still effective after they re-install kers and have to re-figure weight distribution.It also seems strange to do a new aero package and not consider how it will work with the diffuser when they install it later,I would assume they would have to adjust for that.

  3. Bmw is moving towards the ugly renault look… yikes. I would love to know the aerodynamic justification for putting your nose in the air like that…

    The nose on the brawn lookes great… its a logical extension of last years nose. seems like more folks would be headed that way.

    Practice this morning didn’t show that either of these teams modifications helped much. It will be interesting to see what happens tomorrow. It must be devastating to bring out new stuff and have it not have much effect on your place in the pack.

  4. On the Brawn terminator sponsor. It has taken the virgin spot and no virgin on the nose?! Also no virgin announcement so far. Maybe they are sticking to a small deal with a title deal going to someone else. Still to plain for me.

    Mclaren dont look to have sorted their high speed corner issues :-(

    1. Virgin is visible on the side of the monocock, in front of the intakes. I think having Virgin only on the side is just part of the Terminator Salvation promotion. Also, Virgin and Brawn GP might be working out their season long contract still.

  5. HounslowBusGarage
    8th May 2009, 23:56

    I don’t understand the nose aerodynamics.
    How is it that a tream like Brawn can keep a relatively low nose (and slightly more comfortable driving position?) whereas the Force India and BMW find it necessary to get the nose right off the deck?
    What do they gain that Brawn don’t seem to need?

    1. I’m no aerodynamics expert, but to me it looks like the Brawns are finding downforce with that nose, while BMW feel that air resistance on the nose is something to be avoided and cut through rather than exploited…. I’ve been wrong before but my gut feeling for the look of that BMW is not good.

  6. Paddleshift
    9th May 2009, 7:16

    A higher nose allows more air into the floor and to the diffuser of the car. But a lower nose gives you a lower centre of gravity which makes your ballast more effective. Brawn has the best diffuser of all, so they don’t need as much air to produce the same amount of downforce that perhaps renault needs. So they’ve gone for a low nose which makes their ballast more effective.

    How the hell did McLaren solve their rear flow seperation issue they had in winter testing in this little time? What developement!

  7. I thought the BMWs couldn’t look any worse but I was wrong.

    We don’t know what the CFD says for each team, but less air flowing under the nose must have benefits otherwise Brawn and Williams wouldn’t be quick. BMW went the wrong way perhaps – push that nose down!

  8. Keith, I haven’t seen any Virgin logo in the pics of Brawn’s cars.

    Do you know something about? I thought they were dealing a new agreement.

  9. Its strange to think that the last few BMWs have been some of the best looking cars on the grid – this updated version is vile!

    Great to see Williams making steps forward. Fingers crossed they can finally carry their Friday pace through the rest of the weekend.

  10. BMW and Mclaren had some of the bulkiest sidepods. Now BMW have realised their shortcomings and reprofiled theirs. Wonder what Mclaren is waiting for.

  11. While it still isn’t the best looking car on the grid I think the new nose on the BMW does look better than the one they had at the first few races. Personally I prefer a low wide nose like on the Brawn and the Williams, however I wouldn’t like the entire grid to look the same so I like all the different looks we have this year.

  12. Seems race cars are upgraded just in time for the F1. And Raikkonen’s Ferrari was more upgraded than Massa yet he didn’t made it to the Q1.

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