2009 F1 cars and 2008 cars compared

Posted on | Author Keith Collantine

Ferrari F60 and F2008 (click to enlarge)
Ferrari F60 and F2008 (click to enlarge)

It’s only when you get a look at pictures of the 2009 F1 cars alongside their 2008 predecessors that you realise how drastic the new 2009 rules are.

Here’s some pictures of the 2009 Ferrari, McLaren, BMW and Toyota alongside last year’s cars.

Update – Pictures of all the 2009 F1 cars here:

Ferrari: F60 (2009) and F2008 (2008)

Ferrari F60 and F2008 (click to enlarge)
Ferrari F60 and F2008 (click to enlarge)
Ferrari F60 and F2008 (click to enlarge)
Ferrari F60 and F2008 (click to enlarge)

The top picture of the F60 and F2008 alongside each other shows not just how much wider the front wings are this year – but also how much lower they are. This is a major change over recent seasons where on several occasions the FIA has required teams to increase the heights of their front wings in a bid to make them work less effectively and reduce cornering speeds.

The incredible intricacy and sophistication of 2008-style F1 aerodynamics is out the window this year – with a few small exceptions. The odd pile of squiggles in front of the Ferrari side pods (also on the Williams FW31 and Toyota TF109) shows the rule makers haven’t been entirely successful in eradicating complex aerodynamics.

Ferrari have reduced the size of their exhausts which, as seen on the launch car above, were thought not to comply with the 2009 regulations. See this picture from testing yesterday.

McLaren: MP4/24 (2009) and MP4/23 (2008)

McLaren MP4-24 and MP4-23 (click to enlarge)
McLaren MP4-24 and MP4-23 (click to enlarge)

McLaren began testing this week using the 2009 car but with the 2008 rear wing. Am I the only one who thought it looked absolutely brilliant? The lower, wider rear wing looked great with the front wing in similar proportions. I’m not sold on the high, narrow rear wings yet – unless it turns out they really do allow the cars to follow each other more closely. See video of the McLaren testing here.

McLaren didn’t provide many studio pictures of its car when it was launched but some more recently became available. You can see them in the launch picture gallery here: McLaren MP4/24 revealed – pictures and video.

BMW: F1.09 (2009) and F1.08 (2008)

BMW F1.08 and F1.08 (click to enlarge)
BMW F1.08 and F1.08 (click to enlarge)
BMW F1.08 and F1.08 (click to enlarge)
BMW F1.08 and F1.08 (click to enlarge)

From its launch specification BMW’s F1.08 sprouted yet further aerodynamic appendages, becoming one of the visually complex creations on the 2008 grid. Much of that is gone now, but you have to wonder whether their famed Computations Fluid Dynamics-calculating supercomputer Albert II has helped them find better solutions to the challenges of the 2009 rules than their rivals have.

The square endplates on the front wing make it one of the less attractive 2009 racers for me.

Toyota: TF109 (2009) and TF108 (2008)

Toyota TF109 and TF108 (click to enlarge)
Toyota TF109 and TF108 (click to enlarge)
Toyota TF109 and TF108 (click to enlarge)
Toyota TF109 and TF108 (click to enlarge)

The high, narrow nose distinguishes the TF109 from its rivals rather like McLaren’s MP4-16 did in 2001. Many of these side-on shots give the impression that while the cars total overall length remains roughly the same in 2009, the wheelbase has gotten shorter.

If we get some studio pictures of the Renault R29, Williams FW31 and the other cars yet to be launched this year I’ll re-visit this post with some more images.

As ever I’d like to hear your opinions on that so please leave comments below. Editable versions of these images can be found on the F1 Fanatic drop.io for you to have a look at, and of course you can upload your own versions there as well. Here’s IDR’s mash-up of the Ferrari, Williams and McLaren:

2009 F1 car launch pictures

Images copyright: Ferrari – Ferrari spa; McLaren – www.mclaren.com; BMW – BMW ag; Toyota – Toyota F1 World

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55 comments on “2009 F1 cars and 2008 cars compared”

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  1. 09 cars look sleek and clean compared to the 08 cars.

  2. HounslowBusGarage
    23rd January 2009, 21:05

    Interesting that MacLaren is the only team (so far) to have gone with the short, stubby aerofoil between the nose and the front wheels.

  3. They really look incredibly primitive!

    I loved all the curves, sculpted bits and apendages of the old cars, they were a result of science applied, form following function, and while the new cars look slicker and purer, they also lack that “edgy” look, that “hey look at that, that’s got to be some incredibly advanced racer!” look.

    I stand, they new cars are primitive as IRL. We’ll end up with nascars in no time.

    I totally agree with Loki, they looked like fighters and now… well, they are dull.

  4. Sorry to go against almost everyone, but i prefer the complex 2008 than 2009 cars. 2009 cars seem like early 1990 cars, and so they don’t look modern and technological (and they aren’t. Aerodinamically speacking of course). I hope it is worth it in terms of racing. And i bet it does since they cant get much worse, even though someone will utterly dominate 2009 and we must wait a few years to have a field as close as 2008 to see if the cars can run close.

  5. I prefer the 2008 cars. Always a huge fan of aerodynamics.

    Also; interesting to note that; the sidepods of Ferrari and Toyota are almost unchanged from last year. While those on Mclaren, BMW are hugely different.

    Theoretically; the sidepods should get smaller on account of reduced engine RPM, but also get bigger for cooling of KERS system. So, my assumption is they should be roughly of same size again.

    Funny, we see the 2 teams against KERS (Ferrari, Toyota) who adhere to the above theory, while the 2 teams who are ahead in their KERS development have extremely small sidepods.

  6. the 2009 cars look fantastic, except for team R. i hope williams keep their white lettering on blue.

  7. Keith, care to make a graph with how the opinion of posters has shifted from 2009 F1 cars look ugly to “the new cars look better than last year’s”?
    As for me myself I’ll take credit for saying the the 2009 cars did not look bad the day BMW showed the new wings in December (posting as Jose back then, I changed my nick since there are too many spanish fans called Jose). I agree that the front wing is a bit too wide, but the cars look mean, as a racing car should.
    Less elegant and more aggressive? Sure, bring it on!
    Anyways, anyone wants to bet that the wings will be way more curvy and sophisticated come march?

  8. I’m amazed how similar the cars look to the 2008 models. Just think away all the flaps and aero crud and the overall shape lying beneaht is pretty similar to what is presented now.

  9. I love the deeper shade of red Ferrari has used for the F60. It makes my mouth water. :)

  10. I definitely prefer the ’08 cars, the new ones are boring to look at.

  11. Are the Ferrari exhausts legal?

    1. The 2009 cars are ridiculously ugly. I mean unnecessarily ugly. What were they thinking???

    2. I think Ferrari did have to change them afterwards..

      Nice car though! Love the deep red colour!

  12. Ben,

    Exactly what I thought. 2009 cars are way too plain. I thought 2008 cars were beautiful!

  13. The ’08 cars were far better looking than the ’09 ones.

  14. Kubica has a point with his concerns about the front wings flying off at the start of mmelbourne. They are huge compared to the 08 models.

    The Ferrari and McLarens look better in 09 while the BMW looks a LOT better in 08. I like the minimalistic look of the newer cars. I really liked the 89-92 cars.

  15. William Wilgus
    28th January 2009, 5:45

    I certainly agree that the front & rear wings are not visually proportional to each other—or the car! I do like the `new look’ otherwise, however. The new cars look more like cars than an aerodynamicist’s nightmare.

    I agree too, that there will be a lot of wings lost. I’ve always thought that using the kerbs was `cheating the track’ and dis-liked the practice. I hope the new front wings will eliminate that practice.

  16. I think that the 2009 cars lookm pretty poor compared to 2008. thanq FIA for further ruining F1.

    1. I hope this F1 still survive for the next years with such a lot of changes.

  17. This really makes the new cars look nice

  18. Because the rear wing is behind the rear axle, downforce on the rear wing leads to upforce at the front of the car. So if you reduce the size of the rear wing (and presumably its downforce), you can reduce the size of the front wing and keep the same aerodynamic balance.

    They should have reduced the front wing, because it is much too wide now. Drivers will be nervous to drive aggressively for fear of losing the wing, especially at the start of races. In other words, less exciting racing. Nice one, FIA.

    The new cars look fine, except for the front wing, which is just ridiculously wide.

    1. I agree with you. Less front wings.

    2. I agree. The front wings make them look like extremely fast dusters.

  19. what is the ponit when they are all going to have old ford motors in the back if there are any teams left to race

    1. We hope that never happens because this F1 will be the same as A1gp. All cars with the same specs except pilots and that´s not the escence of F1.

  20. Hi guys, long time no blog. But I’m back for another year where I’ll no doubt have to argue the point in defence of my beloved Ferrari’s…..and yes I still have that huge chip on my shoulder ;-)

    As for the topic at hand, I was hoping someone more edumacated on the technical side of F1 could tell me why, if and approximately how many times the wheel base i.e. width went from wide at the rear and narrower at the front to the opposite in 2009. At the same time will (or won’t)this have an affect on the centre of gravity? I know the drivers are pros but surely even they would have (and maybe still do) felt strange getting into their new rides.

    For the record I like the new cars.

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