2009 F1 cars and 2008 cars compared

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

  1. Alastair said on 26th January 2009, 18:32

    Are the Ferrari exhausts legal?

  2. Gheen said on 26th January 2009, 23:58


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

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

  4. Polak said on 27th January 2009, 7:35

    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.

  5. William Wilgus said on 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.

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

  7. Andrew said on 31st January 2009, 19:14

    This really makes the new cars look nice

  8. martinb said on 1st February 2009, 12:48

    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.

  9. 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

    • Gusf1 said on 26th March 2009, 18:45

      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.

  10. AussieLeb said on 7th February 2009, 12:34

    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.

  11. I like the 2009 cars a lot better. The 2008 cars were cool, but they had too much crap hanging off them. If things were not change there would just be more and more winglets everywhere. It is more relevant to road cars by using ingenious bodywork to generate downforce rather than just pooping winglets on.

  12. Where is the Renault?

  13. Nasre said on 27th March 2009, 7:47

    I prefer the old one, it looks better, and I believe that the drivers will need more time to adjust themselves for the new setting which may allow others such as Toyota, Redbul, and Force India to be more competitive.

  14. Fred said on 23rd May 2009, 21:23

    Who is Alice?

  15. Dragos Bejan said on 31st December 2010, 7:57

    the huge 2009 rear wings make them ugly, so i prefer the more sophisticated 2008 cars; to bad we don’t have an official f1 2008 game :(

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