I was eagerly looking forward to this first of the winter tests, as we had a driver shoot-out to enjoy and some new specifications to admire. The drivers are still out there, hoping to secure seats within some of the mid-field teams. The new specifications, however, didn't go down as well as I thought they might.
BMW introduced an early version of their 2009 front and rear wings, and the car frankly looked quite odd. The rear wing is much higher and narrower than it has been previously. The front wing is lower, wider, and much more box-shaped. Put them together, and you get a weird looking car. A lot of people are arguing that we will get used to the new look (which I'm sure we will) and that if it helps the action out on track then it's worth it. I'm not so sure about that, and I'm not the only one.
BMW test driver Christian Klien admitted that it was the worst looking Formula 1 car he'd ever seen. That's quite an admission from a man that values his job. Current driver Robert Kubica agreed that the car looked much better from inside the cockpit than from without. They both said that it's important to remember this is the team's first go at the wing, though, and things might change a lot before we get to Australia in 2009.
It's unusual to hear drivers talk about the look of their car in such an open fashion. I was quite surprised to hear such a statement from them both, even though it's obvious the car doesn't look as good as last year. You don't usually find drivers willing to speak out about much, unless it directly affects them or their safety, and this is a nice surprise.
One thing that they did like on the car was the return of slick tyres. The grooves from last year are gone, and slick tyres have returned. I'll be honest and say with that ugly rear wing sticking up at the back, the tyres are the last thing I looked at, but it is good to see them. I'm looking forward to seeing the evolution of these cars over the winter, as such a change in the regulations can only mean a lot of hard work for the teams over the coming months.