March 13, 2009

Giddiness at Barcelona

"We can't match their pace.  And I think nobody can." - Felipe Massa

"That they should be so quick just isn't normal." - HWMNBN

" is faster over the race distance than the Ferrari!" - James Allen, F1 broadcaster

What are these rather knowledgeable people talking about?  Why, none other than Jenson Button and Rubens Barrichello in the Brawn Racing car.  Over the past few days of testing at the track at Barcelona, Brawn Racing not only had the quickest lap times but also turned more laps per car per day, showing a substantial level of reliablity to boot.

Just to make it even more impressive, the laps turned were pretty consistent throughout the runs, meaning that the BGP001 is gentle on the tires.  All of this combines to make the new team's performance somewhat legit.

In one way, this shouldn't be surprising.  One of the reasons that Honda's racer was so horrendous last season was that the team gave up on it early (some say as early as 2007) to concentrate on the 2009 new-spec car.  That would give them a head-start on everybody else, even though they're also behind in practice time with it.  That would also explain why their nose looks so different from everybody else's... perhaps they found something the others haven't.

I think it's a little early to predict a win in Australia like some have done, but it'd certainly be quite the story, wouldn't it?

In other testing news, McLaren has come right out and said that their car is currently too slow to compete for wins.  Speculation is that the chassis is having a problem with rear-end aero (much smaller rear wing), meaning that the drive wheels don't stick to the ground, and that means slow acceleration (lots of wheelspin is bad).  Of course, it's a long season... if McLaren is bad and Brawn is good at Australia, there's a pretty decent chance that those positions will reverse by the end of the year.  McLaren has a lot of money and engineering talent that it can throw around to be bad for very long.

Still, this is already shaping up to be a potential doozy of a F1 season... two weeks to go!

Posted by: Wonderduck at 07:11 PM | Comments (4) | Add Comment
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Are they faster because of streamlining (which would mainly help them on straights)? Or because they corner better? (Or both?) Any idea on that yet?

Posted by: Steven Den Beste at March 13, 2009 08:01 PM (+rSRq)

2 No idea that I've read anywhere, Steven.  Probably a bit of everything if Honda really had been working on the car since 2007.  It also helps that the Mercedes engine in it is one of the more powerful ones in F1... though that's counterbalanced by the fact that the chassis wasn't designed for it, but a Honda powerplant... kinda like putting a Mazda Wankel engine in a Camry: it might fit, but it wasn't meant to.

My guess is that it's simply because Honda abandoned the 2008 car very early, and they concentrated on the '09.  If that is the case, after a few races the Big Three will catch up to 'em, then pass 'em, simply because they've got the bigger budgets.

Posted by: Wonderduck at March 13, 2009 09:04 PM (tMdKd)

3 It would really be nice if they stayed competitive through the whole season. If there were a "big four". (dream dream...)

Posted by: Steven Den Beste at March 13, 2009 09:25 PM (+rSRq)

4 There's a not-half-bad chance that we may end up with a Big Five this season.  Renault had their revival at the end of last season that might carry over, and Toyota might even be good this year.


Bwaaahahhahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahhahaaha!  Sorry, even I can't believe that last one.

Posted by: Wonderduck at March 13, 2009 10:25 PM (tMdKd)

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