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Klien: ’09 aero package will make passing easier 09 Jan 2009

Christian Klien (AUT) BMW Sauber F1 2009 Interim Car. Formula One Testing, Day One, Barcelona, Spain, 17 November 2008. Christian Klien (AUT) BMW Sauber Test Driver.
Formula One World Championship, Rd16, Japanese Grand Prix, Practice Day, Fuji Speedway, Friday, 10 October 2008 Christian Klien (AUT) BMW Sauber F1 2009 Interim Car. Formula One Testing, Day One, Barcelona, Spain, 17 November 2008.

With BMW Sauber well advanced on their development work for the new season, test driver Christian Klien is one of the few men to have amassed significant experience of both the 2009-spec aerodynamics and KERS - and the Austrian believes the changes are good news for Formula One fans.

Revised regulations for ’09 call for a lower and wider front wing, plus a taller and narrower rear wing. Having spent several days behind the wheel of BMW’s interim car over the winter, Klien says the new rules should have the desired effect.

“It looks like the new aero regulations will bring more overtaking,” he told Formula1.com. “We have noticed that you can follow our car more closely.

“This is mainly down to larger front wing we have now which brings a lot of stability to the front axle. In addition to that, the smaller rear wing should significantly reduce the dirty air when you follow another car.”

Klien admitted that the new designs could also bring some problems, however, with the added width making the front wing particularly vulnerable to damage.

“One of the downsides is the start of the race,” he added. “With these massive shovels on the noses we may well see a few clipped front wings in the first corners.”

Klien is also lucky enough to have sampled a fully-functioning KERS system, which takes waste energy from the braking process and converts it into additional power available to the driver via a boost button on the steering wheel.

“You must press the boost button as early in the corner as possible to have an advantage on the straight,” he explained. “I feel that you will probably have to start the procedure when you are, for example, in third gear in the middle of the corner. That is when those 60 kilowatts come in immediately, so it does require a little extra attention from the driver.”

There have been suggestions that the added weight of the KERS system could penalise heavier drivers, leaving them less ballast with which to adjust the car’s weight distribution. However, Klien played down its impact.

“There is a small advantage for lighter drivers,” he said. “10 kilos less of body weight gives you 10 kilos more to play with your weight balance. But it does not have a dramatic effect. As much as I myself would love to have an edge over bigger drivers, I doubt KERS will be the end of the story for them. The difference is quite marginal.”

BMW Sauber will roll out the new F1.09 on January 20 at Valencia in Spain.