Who looks good for ’09? Rank the teams

Which team has built the best car going into round one?

Which team has built the best car going into round one?

The last full group test ahead of the new season finished yesterday. Two weeks from today, the 2009 F1 cars will be driven in anger for the first time in practice for the Australian Grand Prix.

Based on what we?σΤιΌΤδσve seen so far, how accurately can we predict the form of each of the teams at the first race?

I’ve ranked the teams in order of how quick I think each of their cars is. Share your ranking below, and we’ll put them all together to see how accurately F1 Fanatic readers can predict their 2009 form.

To get a little perspective on the teams’ performance, here’s how each driver’s best lap times combined in the four-day test session at Barcelona this week:

1 Rubens Barrichello Brawn GP BGP001 1’18.926 (221 laps)
2 Jenson Button Brawn GP BGP001 1’19.?σΤιΌΤδσ127 (212)
3 Nico Rosberg Williams FW31 1’19.774 (209)
4 Timo Glock Toyota TF109 1’20.091 (260)
5 Felipe Massa Ferrari F60 1’20.168 (201)
6 Robert Kubica BMW F1.09 1’20.217 (248)
7 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari F60 1’20.314 (136)
8 Nick Heidfeld BMW F1.09 1’20.338 (223)
9 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull RB5 1’20.576 (185)
10 Fernando Alonso Renault R29 1’20.664 (272)
11 Lewis Hamilton McLaren MP4-24 1’20.869 (156)
12 Kazuki Nakajima Williams FW31 1’20.907 (177)
13 Jarno Trulli Toyota TF109 1’20.937 (242)
14 Sebastien Buemi Toro Rosso STR4 1’21.013 (213)
15 Giancarlo Fisichella Force India VJM02 1’21.045 (238)
16 Mark Webber Red Bull RB5 1’21.347 (183)
17 Sebastien Bourdais Toro Rosso STR4 1’21.629 (127)
18 Nelson Piquet Jnr Renault R29 1’21.662 (126)
19 Adrian Sutil Force India VJM02 1’21.834 (211)
20 Heikki Kovalainen McLaren MP4-24 1’21.991 (178)

Based partly on that, the other test sessions, and my own gut feeling, here?σΤιΌΤδσs my ranking of the teams are heading into the first race of 2009:

1. BMW ?σΤιΌΤΗ£ Their decision to sacrifice their 2008 championship effort to develop a more competitive 2009 car appears to have been vindicated. The car looked quick early on and they seem not to have felt the need to push for headline-setting fastest lap times.

2. Ferrari ?σΤιΌΤΗ£ KERS teething problems have grabbed a few headlines for Ferrari in the off-season but their underlying pace is, as ever, very strong.

3. Brawn GP ?σΤιΌΤΗ£ Clearly invested an enormous amount of effort in their 2009 challenger when they were Honda, and perhaps their off-season disruption hasn?σΤιΌΤδσt hampered development of the RA109/BGP001 too much. Probably not as sensationally fast as the time indicate, but still remarkable under the circumstances.

4. Toyota ?σΤιΌΤΗ£ One of the first cars to be revealed, the TF109 has never been far from the pace in testing. Jarno Trulli has emphatically endorsed his new steed.

5. Red Bull ?σΤιΌΤΗ£ Clearly one of the most radical cars on the grid, has shown decent but not world-beating pace in testing.

6. McLaren ?σΤιΌΤΗ£ All sorts of rumours are flying around about their pre-season form. Unless they’ve run an extremely unusual testing regime it looks to me like they’ve got something fundamentally wrong with their 2009 car. Martin Whitmarsh has now admitted the MP4-24′s performance isn’t good enough. At this stage sixth out of ten might even be too high a ranking.

7. Williams – The times above suggest that the gulf in performance between Rosberg and Nakajima will persist into 2009. Rosberg’s looked decent in testing but I think Williams face being out-stripped by their better-equipped rivlas in the development race.

8. Renault ?σΤιΌΤΗ£ Seems to lack the aerodynamic sophistication of the other Renault-powered car, but don?σΤιΌΤδσt underestimate the performance boost each team can get from their engines this year.

9. Toro Rosso ?σΤιΌΤΗ£ It?σΤιΌΤδσs entirely possible Toro Rosso could end up ahead of their sister team this year, but right now the RB5 looks quicker.

10. Force India – One of the last cars to appear and a new technical collaboration yet to gel. I don’t think Force India will see the success boos Vijay Mallya craves right away in 2009.

How competitive do you think each of the teams are? Share your ranking below and I?σΤιΌΤδσll add them together to create an F1 Fanatic pre-2009 season form guide.

Please use the following format when posting to make it easier for me to incorporate them all together ?σΤιΌΤΗ£ fastest at the top, slowest at the bottom, using the following team names:

BMW
Ferrari
Brawn GP
Toyota
Red Bull
McLaren
Williams
Renault
Toro Rosso
Force India

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179 comments on Who looks good for ’09? Rank the teams

  1. Lynn said on 13th March 2009, 12:40

    McLaren* – some might laugh but I have faith
    Ferrari
    Brawn GP – not sure if the speed is real?
    Williams
    BMW
    Renault
    Red Bull
    Toyota
    Toro Rosso
    Force India
    * Seems like McLaren is up against it, show us what you’ve got,like a phoenix rising from the ashes.

  2. roser said on 13th March 2009, 12:41

    At the end of the season maybe things are different, but for Australia:
    Ferrari
    Brawn
    BMW
    Toyota
    Renault
    Williams
    Redbull
    Mclaren
    Torro Rosso
    Force India

  3. Chalky said on 13th March 2009, 12:42

    Pace is one thing. Getting used to racing with a giant snowplough into turn 1 with 19 other snowploughs at Melbourne is another.
    But then these are all professional racing drivers. :D

    I’ll go for:
    Ferrari
    BMW
    Brawn GP
    Red Bull
    McLaren
    Toyota
    Williams
    Renault
    Torro Rosso
    Force India

  4. Giuseppe said on 13th March 2009, 12:50

    Toyota
    Brawn GP
    Ferrari
    BMW

  5. Schuey the greatest said on 13th March 2009, 12:53

    Here’s my ranking for the oz gp:

    Ferrari
    BMW
    Brawn GP
    Toyota
    Renault
    Red Bull
    Mclaren
    Torro Rosso
    Williams
    Force India

    I think theres no doubt that brawn gp’s times were set on fresh tyres and very low fuel to get some attention and attract some sponsors, but they wouldnt be THAT fast if they had a car thats really struggling so they definitley will be scoring good points this year

    mclaren – i couldnt make my mind up whether they were sandbagging or not but now that whitmarsh has said they are struggling its a pretty damning verdict. But theyv got the experience to get themselves out of it and by the end of they year id expect them to be back on the podium and if there’s a couple of wet gp’s i wouldnt be suprised if lewis won a race. The only positive out of this pretty crap situation is that all the hamilton haters will see how good lewis is this year, hes got a crap car but i know by the end of the year he will have silenced the doubters about his talent.

    i hope im wrong in my ideal world hamilton would turn up in melbourne and be on pole with alonso next to him but i cant see that happening.

    Keith maybe you could do a similar sort of artice to see who everyone thinks will be world champion this year.

    • mani said on 13th March 2009, 16:08

      After all, he crashed his car in the last to test sessions too :) He is a very good driver, but not the ideal as people think.

  6. I think what most people are failing to see about the Brawn car is it’s consistency. Especially the last 2 days of testing when Rubens and Jenson ran their Race Simulations clocking late to 1.21′s and early 1.22′s even fuelled for many laps and then came down into the 1.19′s as they shed their fuel loads.

    My predictions:

    Ferrari
    McLaren
    Brawn GP
    BMW
    Renault
    Toyota
    RB
    Williams
    TR
    FI

  7. Looking at LONG RUN pace then for me it’s

    Brawn GP – consistently high 1m20′s to low 1m21′s (see James Allens Blog)

    Ferrari – Massa (did 36 lap stint, mainly in mid – low 1m21′s Metronomically Impressive & Huge Fuel Tank!!!)

    BMW – Race distance mainly in 1m22′s but a good patch of mid 1m21′s

    Havent seen enough data for the rest…Toyota et al.

  8. sorry

    Brawn
    Ferrari
    BMW
    Toyota

  9. Rocketpanda said on 13th March 2009, 13:13

    1. BMW Sauber
    2. Brawn
    3. Toyota
    4. Ferrari
    5. McLaren
    6. Renault
    7. Red Bull
    8. Williams
    9. Toro Rosso
    10. Force India

    Personally I’d love to see a championship fought between Toyota, BMW and Brawn. I despise McLaren, but I expect them to be back up top just to spite me.

  10. Andy said on 13th March 2009, 13:21

    McLaren may be struggling – but so were BMW pre season last year and they came pretty close (whilst they were still developing their 08 car).

    Ferrari
    BMW
    McLaren
    Red Bull
    Toyota
    Brawn
    Renault
    Toro Rosso
    Williams
    Force India

  11. Eddie Irvine said on 13th March 2009, 13:22

    I think is gonna be a really close field…I can see you underestimate Williams, however they made the second fastest time in barcelona-even though according to information they have yet to practice qualyfying laps- and they have some more testing time still to use in order to improve their car. I think Brawn Gp is in hot form , at least a good car for Jenson, and for McLaren they will find their way through the field, the basic idea behind the car is good, they struggle because of a bad aerodynamic update. All things considered:
    1.Red Bull
    2.Williams
    3.Brawn GP
    4.Ferrari
    5.McLaren
    6.BMW
    7.Toyota
    8.Renault
    9.Toro Rosso
    10.Force India

  12. GQsm said on 13th March 2009, 13:23

    OZ prediction
    Brawn
    BMW
    Ferrari
    Mclaren
    Toyota
    Redbull
    Williams
    Renault
    Torro Rosso
    Force India

    I think midfield is going to be about the drivers, with the field very mixed up. It should make for a very interesting season.

    I still have McLaren and Hamilton as my favourites for the season. When Ferrari are strong I can see Massa and Raikonen taking points from each other, costing each other dominance and the WDC.
    We just have to wait and see now, I can’t wait for qualifying at Melbourne. It’s going to be electric.

  13. Paul Snoop said on 13th March 2009, 13:30

    Ferrari
    BMW
    Toyota
    Red Bull
    Brawn GP
    Renault
    McLaren
    Williams
    Toro Rosso
    Force India

  14. Chris said on 13th March 2009, 13:35

    Less than 10 cars will finish in mel..get ready for a few pile ups. First race everyone wants to push like hell.

  15. Ferrari
    BMW
    Brawn GP
    Toyota
    Red Bull
    Williams
    Renault
    McLaren
    Toro Rosso
    Force India

    This is my prediction for the first race not what I think the final championship standings will be, and for most of these rankings could easily be changed by a couple of places because I at the moment I think it is that tight that if a team has a few problems over the weekend they could be dropping a few places.

    Also this is how I rank the cars themselves as I think drivers like Alonso will outperform their car.

    Even after the first race I think it will be hard to judge each car’s relative performance due to any problems that may occur over the weekend and for teams like Renault where we could see Alonso flying and Piquet struggling it will be difficult to assess where to rank the car compared to the others.

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