First car rolls out, F1 entries named

Formula One and Pinkerton: We never sleep.

The global campaign began in earnest again Monday with the first look at FIA World Constructors Champion Ferrari's 2009-spec car, dubbed the F60 to honor 60 years in F1, and the release of the season's entry list.

Felipe Massa with track engineer Rob Smedly.
Photo by xpb.cc.

Drivers' championship runner-up Felipe Massa drove the F60 at Mugello after a planned unveiling at first-line team track Fiorano was snowed out. The Brazilian compared it to a Formula Three car, smaller than he expected and sporting front and rear wings per a regulations revamp. High, narrow rear wings are meant to allow increased passing opportunities. Low, wide front wings are designed with driver adjustability in mind.

"The car is very small and compact," Massa said.

New rules include ungrooved tires replacing grooved models, indicated aerodynamic changes, an engine rev range cut from 19,000 to 18,000 and an additional race requirement for each engine, and optional kinetic energy recovery systems (KERS) devices that are intended to capture energy from braking for reuse. The devices offer weight and balance considerations to those teams choosing to add them. Budget cuts will add further competitive demands as the season progresses; already in-season testing has been scrapped.

Despite hopes and prayers of other team members -- and especially jobless driver Jenson Button -- various high rollers, whose portfolios are reduced perhaps by a mere third these days, have sniffed around the remains of Honda's for-sale team, abandoned last month to a stinking economy that has killed auto sales by Japan's second-largest carmaker. So far, no one has bid to own.

Honda's 2009 entry remains on the books, but governors have no indication the sport will field 10 teams this year. Aside from uncertainty on the part of the former Honda team, the only outfit with a seat to fill is Scuderia Toro Rosso. A choice is expected to be made between last year's driver, Sebastien Bourdais, and former Honda driver Takuma Sato.

The season begins March 29 in Australia.

Teams, drivers and car numbers to date are as follows:

McLaren Mercedes:
Lewis Hamilton, Great Britain, No. 1
Heikki Kovalainen, Finland, No. 2

Ferrari:
Kimi Raikkonen, Finland, No. 3
Felipe Massa, Brazil, No. 4

BMW Sauber:
Robert Kubica, Poland, No. 5
Nick Heidfeld, Germany, No. 6

Renault:
Fernando Alonso, Spain, No. 7
Nelson Piquet, Brazil, No. 8

Toyota:
Jarno Trulli, Italy, No. 9
Timo Glock, Germany, No. 10

Scuderia Toro Ross:
Sebastien Buemi, Switzerland, No. 11
to be announced, No. 12

Red Bull Racing:
Mark Webber, Australia, No. 14
Sebastian Vettel, Germany, No. 15

Williams:
Nico Rosberg, Germany, No. 16
Kazuki Nakajima, Japan, No. 17

Honda:
TBA, No. 18
TBA, No. 19

Force India:
Adrian Sutil, Germany, No. 20
Giancarlo Fisichella, Italy, No. 21