2009 F1 car comparisons: Ferrari, McLaren, Renault, Williams and Toyota

Posted on | Author Keith Collantine

Renault R29 and Williams FW31 (click to enlarge)
Renault R29 and Williams FW31 (click to enlarge)

Half of the 2009 F1 grid has now been launched providing us with some insight into the different design directions taken by likely front-runners of 2009.

Here’s how the freshly-launched Renault R29 and Williams FW31 compare to the Ferrari, McLaren and Toyota that appeared last week.

Front views

Ferrari F60, Toyota TF109, Renault R29 and Williams FW31 (click to enlarge)
Ferrari F60, Toyota TF109, Renault R29 and Williams FW31 (click to enlarge)

It seems Toyota’s high, narrow nose it a bit of a departure from what the rest of the field are practising. Renault’s blocky front nose reminds me of the 1995 Benetton – and that wasn’t short on success.

Williams, like Ferrari, has extra flaps inside of the front wing endplates, though the FW31’s are squarer than the F60’s.


Ferrari F60, Toyota TF109, McLaren MP4-24 and Williams FW31 (click to enlarge)
Ferrari F60, Toyota TF109, McLaren MP4-24 and Williams FW31 (click to enlarge)

The R29 is the first 2009 car to appear with a ‘shark fin’ wing on the engine cover. Renault were one of the first to adopt these devices last year after Red Bull. However as there’s no studio side-on picture of the R29 it isn’t shown above (here’s a good picture of the R29 in profile).

Williams on the other hand has a far smaller engine cover. There’s probably more to it than them not having as many sponsors as their rivals.

Williams also has an aggressive interpretation of the rules governing wings and flip-ups in front of sidepods, although the dark colour of the interim livery makes it hard to see. Here’s an enhanced version:

Williams FW31 with side pod wing highlighted (click to enlarge)
Williams FW31 with side pod wing highlighted (click to enlarge)

Top-down view

Williams also haven’t produced studio pictures of the FW31 but they have released some detailed technical drawings (
find them all here). I’ve used the top-down image below, although its usefulness for making comparisons is limited by it being a flat image rather than a photograph of a three-dimensional car.

Ferrari F60, Toyota TF109, Williams FW31 and McLaren MP4-24 (click to enlarge)
Ferrari F60, Toyota TF109, Williams FW31 and McLaren MP4-24 (click to enlarge)

Over to you

If you want to manipulate these images to conduct your own comparisons you can find the original Photoshop files on the F1Fanatic drop.io.

Could you do a better job with the 2009 F1 car liveries? Send your designs in here.

42 comments on “2009 F1 car comparisons: Ferrari, McLaren, Renault, Williams and Toyota”

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  1. The front wing of the Williams appears to be visibly higher than the rest.

    It is also pretty interesting to note that Renault also has a nice body work that covers the exhaust, similar to McLaren.

    1. It could be that Ferrari with their open exhaust is in violation of technical regulations and all teams would have to have covered exhaust.

  2. Aesthetically the Ferrari looks good apart from the rear (and the stupid barcode). But the McLaren is exceptional, I think, the body-line one continuous flat sine-curve from the downward slanting cut-away portion of the rear endplate, rising up to the cockpit and dipping again to the nose. Looks fast, anyhow.

  3. Hey, Keith, I am unable to click through to larger photos. Is it on my side, or is it a site issue? Keep up the great work!

    1. Works fine at my end, mate, what browser you using?

  4. Mmm! Does the Williams back wing comply with the new regulations…

  5. Firefox. I get a grey box with: “Sorry, no posts matched your criteria.” On the top. Will attempt a restart.

    1. Could you post the link you’re trying to reach please?

  6. I also have the problem with the larger pictures and I am also using firefox.
    If I click on pic of the williams “bargeboards” it goes to this link
    but there is no pic.

    1. That is odd – I just tried the link and it worked for me. Perhaps try doing a hard refresh (Ctrl-F5), if that doesn’t work I’ll have a look at the cache and redirects.

    2. I have the same issue. Firefox 3.0.5, XP SP2

  7. There have been rumours on other websites that the Ferrari have an illegal design for the back (as they exposed their exhausts outlets).
    Is this true..? Could we have a comparison between the back of all the F1 cars launched. Thanks a lot. Much appreciated.
    Love this site..!


  8. I just tried it again, CTRL+F5 didn’t do the trick either.
    For the sake of testing I tried it in explorer with the same result, no picture and “Sorry, no posts matched your criteria.” in its place. Can it be some geographic issue? I am writing from Canada.

  9. Same here FF and IE ““Sorry, no posts matched your criteria.”” from Costa Rica

  10. Hi Keith, I face this problem too, while I try to open the very first pic of this post! Find the link below,


    And, could you please write an article about the Ferrari exhaust system? f1-live claims it illegal, but why? (refer the link provided by Jitman)

  11. I really like the Williams from an aesthetic point of view. The Ferrari and McLaren are neck and neck, but I don’t like the silver/red livery of the Mc. Renault and Toyota have a blocky looking front. I hope the BMW won’t turn out like that as well. It looked pretty bad in initial testing but that was just a 09 aero spec car.

    Keep them comming

  12. I’m pitching in from Canada too, although I can’t see how that might bean issue.

  13. Williams looks like batmobile !

  14. the Williams seems to be generating most drag from the current cars – largest radiator openings, bulkiest front suspension and brake cooling … hope I’m wrong

  15. Keith

    same “Sorry, no posts matched your criteria.” here.

    from Malaysia, using Google Chrome..

    1. Is this happening on other articles as well, or just this one?

    2. Happening to me too i’m afraid Keith.

      I’m in England, and have IE7

    3. Same problem at Chennai, India as well. For all pictures

      Curiously; the link says “http://www.f1fanatic.co.uk/?attachment_id=164xx”.
      Generally; the browser address reads: “http://www.f1fanatic.co.uk/2009/01/20/bmw-f109-unveiled-pictures-2009-f1-car-launches/bmw_f109-7/” or something like that. Never is the word “attachment” mentioned.

  16. Mussolini's pet cat
    20th January 2009, 10:07

    Let’s hope that with the news that RBS have lost so much money recently that they dont decide to pull out of Williams. Doubt they’d survive if that happens..

  17. Its only in this article Keith

  18. I should add I’ve had other issues with the site. Last weekend I would frequently get something like ‘500 internal server error’ when trying to access any of the pages. It went away but now it just came back when trying to edit my last comment

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