Formula 1 2010 has already started to take shape. Most of the manufacturers, even the smaller ones, have now broken cover with their new shapes for 2010.
Of all the new regulations, the lack of refueling has had the most profound effect on the overall dimensions of the car, and the sharper, higher nose cone certainly seems to be the style of choice for all manufacturers.
Accommodating the extra fuel as low in the car and as aerodynamically efficiently as possible will be key.
Bahrain kicks us off on March 14 this year, a full 15 days earlier than the start of F1 2009 in Australia.
This 61st season will hopefully be as intense as the previous season, though hopefully for Team GB (aka McLaren, of course) neither Hamilton nor Button will leave it as late as Jenson did to make the final stand.
New entrants for 2010 include Lotus. An interesting combination of British engineering excellence and Malaysian money, Lotus Racing have an mixture of 2009’s most erratic driver and the winner of F1 2009’s Award for underachievement.
Both Jarno Trulli and Heikki Kovalainen have a lot to prove.
Having tested so far without power steering, and with only their test driver, Fairuz Faunzy, the car looks magnificent and is keeping pace admirably to say the Cosworth engine was only fired up for the first time less than a week ago...the T127 lapping around three seconds ahead of Virgin’s pace. They are fighting it out for the last spot, though.
Let’s guess power steering adds at least two seconds of pace. We have an exciting season to come.
US F1 were expected to eventually make the Spanish test days, though it is rumoured today that team founder Peter Windsor has informed Jose Maria Lopez that the car will not be ready at all for F1 2010.
Amidst various sponsorship failings and a general lack of progress, the team looks set to pull out. With FIA Technical checks in Bahrain due in just three weeks time, it is hoped the same fate does not befall Campos or ManorMotorsport’s seasons.
Vettel is finding serious preseason form in the Red Bull. Half a second ahead of the rest of the field, things look promising for the German in the blue RB6.
The test sessions at Jerez have been plagued by rain, but this has not been to the teams’ disadvantage.
Commenting through their Twitter feed (@TheFifthDriver), McLaren seem to have got a pretty even share between the two Brits: ‘as you’d expect, it’s split exactly evenly between the two drivers’ [time wise], but those extra few laps testing in the wet could prove crucial for later in the season.
No real surprises at testing day one however. Red Bull, McLaren, Ferrari, Toro Rosso, Sauber, and Mercedes are separated by at most 1.2 seconds. Virgin trail by a worrying deficit of almost 10 seconds.
Perhaps all that CAD isn’t an alternative to many years in the sport, pure design talent, and more experienced drivers after all?
This article was written by Pete Washer for Half Volley , the half science, half comment sports blog .