Grand Prix glimpse

Formula One (F1) teams Ferrari and Toyota have unveiled their new car designs in line with the regulation changes announced by the FIA for the 2009 season.

Ferrari unveiled its F60 model in Mugello, Italy on Monday. The F60’s design is a significant departure from last year’s model, sporting a low and wide front wing, a tall and narrow rear wing, and the return of Bridgestone slick tyres.

The Italian team also revealed its version of the Kinetic Energy Recovery System (KERS) that is being introduced as part of F1’s commitment to lower costs in the sport and promote alternative energy sources.

Rules designed to increase speed and promote overtaking have led to far fewer aerodynamic changes on the body of the car and a reduction in downward pressure acting on the tyres. As a result, the F60’s suspension and layout has been completely reconfigured in order to maintain optimum weight distribution and stability.

Similar to the F60, Toyota’s TF109 features front wings that are wider and lower, and a rear wing that is 75 per cent narrower at 750mm. The team has not released any further specifications of the model or its use of KERS.

A significant rule change for the next F1 racing season restricts teams to eight engines, which means engines will have to last for a maximum of three races and cover up to 2,500km.

With range of engine problems causing retirements last season, F1 technicians have been applying their expertise to ensure that the new models maintain power in their third race.

Due to new restrictions on in-season track testing, the design of both models is likely to evolve in order to ensure that the cars are perfected before the first Grand Prix in Australia on 27 March.

Stuart Humm, Shell global sponsorships manager, said: ‘2009 will be a groundbreaking year for Formula One. The new rules and regulations that have come into force have provided a great opportunity for Shell to work closely alongside Scuderia Ferrari to drive technical innovations such as a bespoke fluid for the KERS and better performing lubricants.’

Toyota’s president, John Howett, said: ‘After eight years in F1 we have gained a huge amount of knowledge and improved considerably. There are many elements of our team that are at the very highest level, so the challenge now is to fill any gaps and ensure the entire organisation is performing at the very top. Then we must put all the elements together and deliver the success we are all fighting so hard for.’

The McLaren F1 team are due to unveil its design shortly, with BMW, Renault and Williams launching models next week.