Sidepodcast // All for F1 and F1 for all

Switching to 2009 development // Teams start to look ahead to a brand new season of Formula One

Published by Christine

This article was originally written for BellaOnline, but is republished here for posterity.

There have been rumours circling in the paddock that some of the teams have given up on developing this year’s car and are now concentrating on getting their 2009 contender up to scratch.

It’s not unusual for teams to begin preparation on next year’s car very early, because these things take time to develop, but 2009 is a special situation. The regulations are changing so heavily, with the reintroduction of slick tyres, and banning of many aerodynamic devices, that teams need all the time they can get.

It wasn’t a surprise to read the rumours that Honda were abandoning development on this year’s car, considering how poorly they have shown so far this season. However, they denied it and said they were continuing to fight for every point they could get.

It’s a difficult balance to strike. For a team like Honda, you could understand if they had given up on this year, with very few results to show for their hard work. For a team like BMW, however, they can still fight for a lot of points, for wins even, and shouldn’t concentrate on 2009 yet. At the same time, though, you don’t want to get left behind, when you know other teams are working on their newest designs, and coming up with radical ideas.

But again, on the other hand, it’s not going to be interesting for the fans to be left watching the cars fight it out for exactly the same positions all the time. A little aerodynamic wing can make all the difference in this championship, and it’s so close that the smallest setup error can lead to sacrificing the win. It’s not fair to focus on 2009, when there is still a very competitive championship going on under our noses, one that the fans are really excited about. Surely the teams still want to compete in this year as well?

Ferrari have recently announced that they are working on the 2009 chassis, but also that they have the resources to work on both cars at the same time. As one of the teams with enormous budgets, it makes sense that they would be able to afford to develop two completely different concepts. However, this does mean that other teams will be on the back foot, and that Ferrari will no doubt be one of the top championship competitors in 2009.