Analysis: BMW introduces big upgrade

Despite BMW announcing its impending departure from Formula 1, the BMW Sauber team has introduced a major update to the F1.09 with just four races left to run this season

Analysis: BMW introduces big upgrade

Not purely an aerodynamic development, nearly the entire car has been revised as part of the development upgrade.

"Everything is new except the steering wheel and the cockpit." according to head of engineering, Willi Rampf, who believes that the new updates will bring nearly 1s in lap time to the car.

BMW feels that the despite the different front tyres and fuel tank size needed for next year, any developments made to the 2009 car carry over to the 2010 car. Thus a major change at this late stage of the season will be of more use than for just the remaining four races.

Aerodynamically the car borrows on the much copied Brawn style front wing and endplates, finally discarding the boxy looking endplates first tested on the interim car last year. The BMW now has cut down endplates - their side profile still meeting the regulations by the addition of large fins to the wing's footplate.

Further back down the car there appears to a mini version of last year's antler wings, sitting in the exclusion zone to the side of the cockpit, space normally reserved for rear-view mirrors. Despite their resemblance to wing mirror stalks, they are in fact flow control devices shaping the flow over the sidepods, while the mirrors themselves remain on the pod wings.

At the rear, gearbox changes allow a lower engine cover and most likely more space for the double decker diffuser. For Singapore a new vented rear wing is aided by the mini wing first in Spain.

Bearing in mind Rampf's comments, under the skin there are more changes to make better use of the KERS-less powertrain. Team boss Mario Theissen told AUTOSPORT that the gearbox now sports a new aluminium case and "is lower, as a result the dampers are lower. But the rear suspension geometry has not been altered."

Developed by BMW Motorsport and cast at BMW's Landshut factory, the new gearbox is a major investment. But with the move away from BMW next year towards a Ferrari powertrain, this gearbox will not form part of the 2010 package. Therefore the gearbox will only appear for four races.

Certainly in the opening sessions in Singapore the new car has produced some good pace, although the gearbox in Nick Heidfeld's car needed changing. It will likely be at next weekend's Japanese Grand Prix that the car can really demonstrate its improved aerodynamics.

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