Hi folks, sorry once again for the delay – I was busy around the time Toro Rosso launched, and figured it would be worth waiting for Brawn to unveil their new car in Australia before doing a post about both. Only… Brawn never did, did they? They raced with the same car as they tested with, only with a couple of Virgin logos stuck in surprisingly small and subtle places :
… and there’s not really a huge amount to say about it, is there? The fluorescent stuff is alright, and gives the team a distinct identity, but it looks like nothing other than a test car. The arrival of Virgin gave hope that there’d be some kind of rebranding exercise… but thanks to Button’s win, that car is the most famous thing in motorsport, and I honestly can’t imagine them changing it dramatically between now and the end of the season – I know they’ve only had a week since Australia, but if it was going to change, it would have been for Malaysia, and it hasn’t. If, as expected, Richard Branson ends up buying out the team and renaming it, then maybe then – but that can’t happen until the end of the season anyway. So it really does look like we’ll be stuck with a plain white car – with just a couple of sponsor decals and a bit of fluorescent yellow – heading the field this season. Nice helmet redesigns, though.
At least Toro Rosso have made some changes this year. The painted Bull remains, but it’s shifted solely to the engine cover, and there’s now a large Red Bull text logo on the sidepod. Unfortunately, coupled with the Red Bull Cola advert on the rear wing, it has the effect of making the STR look even more like the RBR than it did previously. That said, it’s arguably a slightly nicer looking car than its big brother – and the text against a darker blue background puts me in mind of a mid-90s Sauber, from before they took on the turquoise Petronas branding.
So that’s our full grid of cars. Winners for 2009? Williams, I reckon. It’s not that different to previous years, but it’s a very smart car, and I really like the curved and swooping lines as seen in the side-on view. Losers? It’s got to be Renault – the grid’s ugliest machine sits under its ugliest livery, and while it looks like far less of a patchwork than the 07/08 cars (in that all the colours on it look a bit more like they’re meant to go together) it’s still mildly vomit-inducing. And the nose is appalling.