The F1 Fanatic verdict is in: Ferrari are the top team heading into 2009

Posted on | Author Keith Collantine

Felipe Massa to begin 2009 as he ended 2008 - with a win?
Felipe Massa to begin 2009 as he ended 2008 - with a win?

Last week I invited you to rank the F1 teams to see who everyone thought would be fighting for victory in the Australian Grand Prix next weekend.

Ferrari were the team that came out on top but everyone seems puzzled over just how quick McLaren are. Here’s the results in full.

1. Ferrari (1.75)
2. BMW (2.25)
3. Brawn GP (3.37)
4. Toyota (4.57)
5. McLaren (5.72)
6. Red Bull (5.79)
7. Renault (6.06)
8. Williams (7.02)
9. Toro Rosso (8.82)
10. Force India (9.70)

(average ranking in brackets)

No-one ranked Ferrari or Brawn GP lower than sixth, and no-one put Force India in the top five. Inevitably McLaren were the team that split the voting most.

Williams and Renault came out towards the bottom but in the days since the poll began they showed some improved form in the final test at Jerez. as this a genuine indication of improved performance – or were they just flattered by the absence of the other teams?

We’ll get our first definitive answers in one week’s time when the first practice for the Australian Grand Prix begins.

47 comments on “The F1 Fanatic verdict is in: Ferrari are the top team heading into 2009”

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  1. Think that now when Mclaren had obviously raised their game it will look a little diffrent.

  2. It’s shaping up to be a very interesting season opener for sure (oops, that phrase. We haven’t heard it in awhile ;) )

    I think McLaren will still be at the pointy end of the pack come next sunday. But it will be interesting to see how things do pan out. I for one, would love nothing more than a surprise upset like BrawnGP winning the race. Vive la difference !

  3. Could Ferrari walk the season? Massa WDC by half way, making a mockery of the new points system?
    Or do we have it wrong, as pre season testing is never a guarantee.
    Will Brawn be fast and reliable giving Button an unlikely looking chance at the title?
    I have so many scenarios that seem plausible.

  4. The thing about Mclaren is people just went on the test form at Barca and then the press release. It just makes sense that they are one of the strongest car development teams on the track, and that inevitably means even if they are not top dog they will be near the top.

    The field are just too close to call, I think people put Williams and Renault near the bottom because you have to have someone there, everyone can’t be 1st.

  5. Brawn GP probably #1 and i think Williams a bit higher up the list.
    1. Brawn
    2. Ferrari
    3. Toyota
    4. BMW
    5. Williams
    6. Renault
    7. RB
    8. Toro
    9. FI

    1. So McLaren don’t even get a look-in on your list?

  6. Great blog btw; keep it up!

  7. Norbert Haug has just said that Lewis Hamilton hasn’t a chance of retaining his title this year as the McLaren is in the bottom 3rd of the grid.

    My enjoyment this year will to see how well he can do with a dog of a car. Oh well, he’s still a brilliant driver!!!

  8. Actually, the new rules are in Mclaren’s favour.
    If they blow the early season and come good in the second half the points deficit is immaterial.

    Especially if the wins are spread out a bit early on.

    Particularly if Massa & Raikkonen split the
    Ferrari wins, and Button & Barichello split the Brawny

    Hamiltons (so far) margin over Heikki could be important *if* there is a period when Mclaren get the upper hand
    and bang out race wins. Not that I think this would be a *fair* outcome.

    1. Lewis is obviously commenting not from the perspective of his own fortunes, but of the fortunes of F1 and the fans. Anyway, according to Norbert Haug, Lewis hasn’t a chance of winning this year because of the state of the car. They will never improve enough by the latter half of the year with no in-season testing.

      This sport is being ruined by the gruesome twosome.

    2. Oops I was commenting on the wrong subject.

    3. Good point Peter. I think what we may end up with is taem orders all round, where one driver goes for wins, with his team mate palying the supporting role quite early in the season!

  9. Testing really does look astonishingly close this year – which is especially remarkable given that the new regulations provided lots of potential for getting things wrong, which is what appears to have happened to McLaren.

    We won’t really get much of an answer from free practice at Melbourne – qualifying will be a better indication, but the Albert Park track has thrown up odd results before, partly due to its non-permanent status. Cars that have set fast times at Barcelona or Jerez may not be ideally suited to a street track that is only used once a year.

  10. I ranked them exactly like the verdict, except for BMW, and Brawn Gp, which i put the other way round! yey me :)

  11. Massa this Massa that, Kimi is still the better driver in that team, and if anyone in red is going to win 2009 it’ll be him.

    1. Definately. I’m not sure why, but I just don’t rate Massa as a great driver.

  12. Renault and Mclaren are going to do a lot better than the test times indicate. I think that Mclaren have been testing parts for tracks deep into the season while all the others whizz around on setups for the current track. Same for Renault, to an extent. I doubt very much that the Brawn form in testing will translate into podia, much as I’d like to see it. Of the Ferrari drivers, I feel that Kimi has something to prove and an oversteery car is what he relishes. If he still struggles in qualifying, he might now be able to make up the deficit and even pass his team mate! Massa did better last year, but Kimi had a terrible year! The Ferrari has been quite reliable in testing, but I fear that they are going to suffer from engine troubles again. BMW should get a few podia, even some wins and I expect Nick H to do better with more front grip available.

    In the end, the team that masters KERS will win. Williams has a totally different KERS system and if it works out, they might be the dark horse of the season! A few quid on Nico Rosberg now might be a few quid well spent!

  13. I wonder what people base this on though. Did Ferrari really impress during the tests? I only saw BMW, Toyota and Brawn “dominating” the tests (and early on RBR, but they were quickly overtaken when the other teams rolled out their updates).

    I have to admit I read the question wrong and ranked for the season outcome. Over the whole season I would rate McLaren and Ferrari higher since they have shown the ability to develop cars. For the first race only I wouldn’t be so sure of either teams success.

    1. How are Mclaren and Ferrari going to develop cars over the whole season when there is no testing allowed?

    2. There are no seperate test sessions allowed no. That doesn’t mean no testing at all. They can still test parts on the cars on fridays and they can also “test” in windtunnels, simulators etcetera.

      Did you miss the news that McLaren is keeping both test drivers simply because there is still so much testing to be done?

  14. Wonderful thing the English language-the plural of podium now apparently being podia! Whats the plural of KERS? Anyone got a collective noun for FIA officials? A “squabble” maybe. Or similarly, a collective noun for the new FIA rules? A “fudge” perhaps?

    1. Surely a group of FIA officials must be a “conivance!!”

    2. @ Martin Bell:
      Singular: KERS
      Plural: KERFUFFLE, :P
      You were so close :D

      Yeah, by the by, there was so much of a hoopla over reducing tech involved in the sport, yet what we have is drivers depending on technology for wins. Let me say this, a dog of a car, will remain a dog of a car. I can hear some mutter, “but no there aren’t any driving aids”. Well, but that hasn’t improved the situation much. Teams with best adaptation of technology, will win, and so has it always been. Think why Ferrari has been on top pretty much every year since the year 1998. Before you say anything, let me add that yes, they didn’t win championships in some of those years, but were consistently winning races, season over season. Just think!

      I can’t ramble on enough about how rule-makers need to get their collective heads out of their collective derriere’s and sort F1 for once. All they have done so far, is that they have slowed the cars. Nothing much else has changed. Everybody said, this is in better interests of sport. Winning teams are still winning and that is for a reason and wouldn’t change. Oh yeah, about other teams from mid/back end of last year doing well, consider the following: “best adaptation of technology”, before you flame me.

      Usual, can’t wait for the season to start. :)

    3. Podium is a latin word. The plural is indeed podia.

  15. I hope we don’t see a one way, one driver championship, but if the rumours are to be believed, then Felipe Massa must be rubbing his hands together right now.

  16. Alastair – There is loads of development that goes on at the factory. They will be able to run new parts on the friday practice.

    The Limit – Which rumour are you talking about?

    1. I thought I heard somewhere where they can still do strait line testing ie. airfield up/down. Also windtunnel and of course simulator, McLaren have a very good simulator I read.

      I like the idea that McLaren have been testing parts for deep into the season. A few people will be shocked if Hamilton put it on pole in Oz!

  17. I think so. Ferrari have World Champion Kimi, although I still believe he was more luck than good in 07, a great driver, Massa, despite his erratic style, and a front row car, if we’re to believe the tests, and more importantly they have uncle Bernie ready to bend a rule here or handout a dodgy penalty there. He ha made it clear that he favours Massa for 09!


  18. Keith, have you seen the press release from FOTA?

    Sounds like they are not taking this decision lying down.

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