F1 cars can’t pass each other very well. It has to do with the air turbulence left in the wake of the car. When the car behind gets too close to the car in front, the follower loses traction on the front wheels. The 2009 formula will greatly change the aerodynamic regulations in order to address this competitive issue.
BMW rolled out an interim version of what such a car might look like. It has a narrow rear wing and a wider front wing. The dozens of aerodynamic “flip up” wings are gone, and the car is rather slab-sided compared to the boat-shaped previous designs.
Nearly every single fan comment I have seen hates this look. One wag said, “The driver has the best view of this car… he can’t see it!” I like the new look. The car looks more like a car and less like an aircraft. It’s kind of a throwback to a simpler time.
Of course, the most important issue is how will the cars compete? If there is more passing (or “overtaking” as the Europeans insist on calling it), then the sport will benefit. I love it when they change the formula because it’s a challenge to the designers to once again push the envelope in new and different ways.
Another big change for 2009 is the replacement of the current points system for championship standings with an Olympic-style medal system. Presumably this is because 2008 winner Lewis Hamilton only had to finish 5th in the final race to win because he had a substantial points lead. Never mind that the entire 2008 championship came down to the last corner of the last lap in the last race! You can’t get any closer than that. Bernie Ecclestone thinks fans are too stupid to understand points, when actually he’s the one. I’m going to miss the points.