Testing has kicked off in Portugal, and with it, we've seen the launch of three more 2009 cars. Renault and Williams both launched on the same day, with BMW following the next. The events were much more understated than those we have already seen, but the cars are still fascinating.
The new car doesn't look particularly bad in it's physical makeup, but the team have changed the livery and there is much consternation amongst the fans. Last year it was bright orange, yellow, white and blue, which took a lot of getting used to. This year, the blue has changed to red (as current sponsor Elf is now Total). Personally, on the one hand, I think the red goes with the other colours better, however, it is a pretty bright car. You won't miss it out on track, that's for sure.
Williams livery, on the other hand, is very dark and sleek. The car is completely dark blue, with white sponsor logos. It's only a winter testing livery, with the real one to be revealed later on, but there are calls for the livery to be retained. The car itself doesn't look too bad, although the rear wing on all the 2009 cars aren't attractive. It may be that the dark livery is hiding some parts of the car, but we will have to wait and see. Team owner Frank Williams believes that this car may lead to them taking a big step forward, especially as the regulations are closing up the field so much.
When BMW revealed a 2009 mockup at an early winter test last year, we were convinced it was just a first revision and would no doubt be changed before the car launched. Unfortunately, it seems that isn't the case, and the car has the boxy front wing, making it look like it belongs in Formula BMW. The team did release some teaser videos leading up to the launch, which were very good. It seems as though the teams are getting very creative with their launches, as they can't throw the big, expensive parties that they used to.
All of the above teams have questioned whether they will run with KERS when the season starts in Australia. We will just have to wait and see whether they can develop the technology in time for the 2009 racing to begin.