The 2009 Formula One season preview... in an alternative reality

Ironlord

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The prototype interdimensional communication device that I've been working on in my shed wasn't going too well until I realised that I should have put a 30 k? resistor in place of the 66 k? on one of the potential dividers and use a PP9 battery instead of six double-As. Plus, I had a bizarre device involving two electrodes stuck into a potato (absolutely necessary to make it work) which I had to change for a parsnip. Would you believe it, it sparked into life, and revealed some bizarre alternative reality which is six months ahead of ours and the 2009 Formula 1 season is just about to start. So I hooked it up to the computer, then I went on the internet (in the alternative reality) and I found this!

SPOILER ALERT: Don't look at it if you don't want to know how the 2008 season ends.




A PREVIEW OF THE 2009 FORMULA ONE WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP
by Marktin Brundell, 15 March 2009


Who would have thought it? After Felipe Massa's championship victory at the end of a chaotic season in which the mumblings of discontent with the entire organisation erupted into all-out war, the prospects for 2009 seemed bleak. In two even more chaotic weeks, the sport was turned on its head, with the impeachment of Max Mosley on 12th January followed by the unexplained death of Bernie Ecclestone barely a week later, and a void was created in Formula One which it was thought nobody could fill. And as Ron Dennis and Jean Todt fought each other for the right to be the next head honcho, they failed to notice the consortium formed by Eddie Jordan, Eddie Irvine, Damon Hill and Slim Borgudd sneaking in through the back door. "The Band Of Four", as they are known due to their musical talents (Irvine's prowess on the comb and paper being a hidden talent up to now), have promised to run Formula One the way it should always have been run, confining everything from the FISA-FOCA disputes of the early eighties to the latest suspicions of favouring Ferrari and hindering McLaren to the dustbin of history.

While they appreciate that it may take time to iron out all the problems, with many of the rules the same as 2009, one slight tweak is that the teams can apply for any number-pairing of their choice, as it used to be before 1996. Several teams have taken advantage of that change, as we will see.

FERRARI
Chassis: F2009
Engine: Ferrari
Drivers: 27. Kimi R?ikk?nen / 28. Fernando Alonso

Despite the upheaval in the FIA, Ferrari will still start as favourites for the 2009 season. Ferrari signed Fernando Alonso at the end of 2008, despite having a clear contract with World Champion Massa, after ten million dollars suspiciously went missing in the direction of the FIA. This decision led to the final downfall of Max Mosley, but lawyers ruled Alonso's contract was watertight. Alonso's arrival in the political furnace that is Maranello spurred on Kimi R?ikk?nen to rediscovered his championship-winning form over the winter. His never-say-die performances in the testing sessions, plus his reputation for wild partying when the cameras are off, have led Ferrari to reward him with the number 27 once sported by Gilles Villeneuve. Alonso will no doubt push him all the way in his fight to take back the championship he still says McLaren denied him.

McLAREN
Chassis: MP4/24
Engine: Mercedes-Benz
Drivers: 11. Lewis Hamilton / 12. Nico Rosberg

Lewis again conspired to lose the championship at the last race in Brazil after being punted off the circuit at Mergulho by his team-mate. Heikki Kovalainen's reward for this and a string of first lap retirements in the previous three races was to be unceremoniously ousted from the team in favour of Lewis' old pal, Nico Rosberg, who realised he was going nowhere at Williams. In a twist of superstition similar to Ferrari's, McLaren have chosen 11 and 12 for their cars, the numbers on the all-conquering 1988 MP4/4. Maybe they should also consider painting them red and white?

BMW
Chassis: F1.09
Engine: BMW
Drivers: 3. Robert Kubica / 4. Jenson Button

Look a bit further down this article to see how the political machinations of Ferrari and the FIA ultimately left Jenson Button with few options for 2009, but after Dr Mario Thiessen decided to show Nick Heidfeld the door, Jens practically bit his hand off to get back into a winning team, and beat off challenges from Marko Asmer, Nico H?lkenberg and Ant?nio Pizzonia for the seat. The new F1.09 looks like a winner from the outset; Jens will have his work cut out to beat the ever higher-rated Kubica, who is getting lighter by the day as he sheds more and more hair. A championship challenge can't be far off.

TOYOTA
Chassis: TF109
Engine: Toyota
Drivers: 19. Jarno Trulli / 20. Timo Glock

Toyota's retention of its two drivers is unique for this season, with every other team operating a series of revolving doors. Expect the cars and its drivers to be reliable but bland, despite the new sponsorship from Castrol that also means a new livery that is designed to match that of the early 90s Celicas in the World Rally Championship. More points are in store, but nothing spectacular.

RENAULT
Chassis: RE29
Engine: Renault
Drivers: 15. Romain Grosjean / 16. Lucas Di Grassi

Superstition again at Renault, switching to the "RE" chassis number (despite the lack of Elf backing) and their traditional numbers (also coloured red and blue respectively) of their 1980-85 incarnation, as well as two new tried and only-tested-on-Fridays drivers. Fernando Alonso's move to Renault and Nelson Piquet's banishment to the IndyCar series brings in the 2008 and 2008/09 GP2 Asia champions; they may struggle as the Renault engine is losing power over its competitors every season. And talking of Renault engines...

RED BULL
Chassis: RB5
Engine: Ferrari
Drivers: 9. Mark Webber / 10. Sebastian Vettel

...these will no longer be used by Red Bull. After their near-humiliation at the hands of their Ferrari-powered B-team last year, Dietrich Mateschitz has ensured his two teams trade engines before Toro Rosso is forcibly sold off at the end of the season, and also that Sebastian Vettel gets the same engine that he won with at Monza. Words that Mateschitz may become the new Jean Todt have been circulating round the paddock. With the new engines and matching Ferrari gearboxes safely installed in the Red Bull, Mark Webber has said that he will force himself to drink some if he does not win this year. We can only hope he does. Meanwhile, former driver David Coulthard, as expected, signed a contract with the BBC... and surprised us all by announcing he'd be replacing Matt Dawson as team captain on A Question Of Sport.

TORO ROSSO
Chassis: STR4
Engine: Renault
Drivers: 23. Bruno Senna / 24. S?bastien Bu?mi

Internal politics in the Red Bull brotherhood ensure that Toro Rosso will be made to know their place again as the second-string team; they are expected to be half a second off the pace of the Red Bulls with the Renault engines that the parent team has left them. Bu?mi is more highly rated inside the team than Senna but most F1 fans will welcome the return of one of its most famous names to the grid. Incidentally, the original petition to stop the loss of the Minardi name has been partially heard with the adoption of Minardi's traditional numbers.

WILLIAMS
Chassis: FW31
Engine: Toyota
Drivers: 5. Nick Heidfeld / 6. Giorgio Pantano

Pity Nick Heidfeld. Ousted from Williams to the lower-ranking Sauber team after he'd picked up his first pole position, now moved back to a Williams team that is in freefall. He will find points hard to come by. As will Giorgio Pantano, who was hoping for a better seat after his performance in GP2, but was passed over by Renault and Toro Rosso in favour of four drivers who finished behind him. Still, his sponsorship from Repsol will come in useful after the loss of Lenovo. Frank Williams continues to deteriorate, losing almost all control of his hands and voice, and has made his first appearance on deathlist.net in 2009. Choosing the old numbers 5 and 6, and painting Heidfeld's 5 in red, is clutching at the shortest of straws.

HONDA
Chassis: RA109
Engine: Honda
Drivers: 1. Felipe Massa / 2. S?bastien Bourdais

The craziest shake-up of them all. Felipe Massa's time on cloud nine lasted only a week before Ferrari told him his contract had been torn up in favour of Fernando Alonso, only being saved by Rubens Barrichello's decision to leave trundling around at the back of the field to have a crack at IndyCar instead. And in a bizarre twist of fate, the merry-go-round has landed him S?bastien Bourdais as a team-mate, who has brought extra sponsorship from McDonald's after his old Champ Car team couldn't stand to see him losing out in F1. The even more insane dual-livery of the Earth Dreams logo on one side and the corporate bigwiggery of McDonald's on the other, similar to the BAR design of 1999, is the oddest anyone has ever seen. Initial testing suggests that the loss of the aerodynamic problems that dragged Honda's last two cars through the pits of despair are gone, and their mastery of the KERS system, as well as scooping the signature of the World Champion, means happy days may be ahead for Ross Brawn... again.

FORCE INDIA
Chassis: VJM-02
Engine: Ferrari
Drivers: 32. Adrian Sutil / 33. Karun Chandhok

We all knew it would happen; Giancarlo Fisichella headed off to supervise his GP2 team on a more personal level and left the door open for the Indian driver, Karun Chandhok, to take his place. The only surprise is that Adrian Sutil has signed up for another season at the back of the field, turning down offers from Williams, Renault and Toro Rosso. Rumours that Vijay Mallaya will send him out with a Casio keyboard to busk on the streets of Bangalore and earn the team a bit of extra cash have not been confirmed. The numbers were chosen in tribute to the team's original incarnation as Jordan in 1991, where they surprised everyone with their performance and brought a certain Michael Schumacher to the grid.

PRODRIVE
Chassis: PDR01
Engine: Mercedes-Benz
Drivers: 21. Gary Paffett / 22. Heikki Kovalainen

Heikki's season unravelled catastrophically in the last three races and his crazy crash into Lewis Hamilton in Brazil is said to have given Ron Dennis a near-fatal aneurysm. He now finds himself dumped at vaguely-McLaren-backed Prodrive to be shouted at by David Richards. Gary Paffett, on the other hand, will put up with whatever harsh treatment might come his way, so delighted is he at finally getting his chance in a Formula One car. The powerful Mercedes engine, and Kovalainen's experience when he has his brain switched on, should at least see them climb over Williams and Force India straight away.

SINOPEC
Chassis: CPC1
Engine: Honda
Drivers: 7. Takuma Sato / 8. Cheng Congfu

We knew this would happen as well. A Chinese consortium bought the remains of the Super Aguri team, threw a ton of money at it and resurrected it under the banner of its massive title sponsor, Sinopec. The second sponsor, Lenovo, was poached from Williams. The cheeky Chinese designers have followed the lead of their domestic colleagues, producing a car which has tried to copy the most favourable attributes of Ferrari, McLaren and BMW, but which has fallen short of all three and ended up being the ugliest creation since McLaren's horrific MP4/10. Rumours that the Chinese Communist Party was involved in securing the lucky number 8 for one of its cars continue to circulate; this car will be driven by highly-rated Cheng Congfu who impressed in a test with McLaren and his races with Team China in A1GP. Ho-Pin Tung had been lined up for the second seat but was rejected after crashing three cars in the winter testing sessions, and has been replaced with the almost as banzai-prone Takuma Sato, who will just be happy to be returning to the F1 grid after Super Aguri's collapse last year. Word is that his signature allowed the team a supply of Honda engines.
 
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rx7_ted

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hmmm if all this turns out to be true i think i will lose control of my sphincter. so many wild predictions!
are you sure you didn't just finish a bag of shrooms while browsing the net? :think:

all skepticism aside, a pretty interesting read, did you write this all up yourself?

good job :):thumbsup:
 
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Ironlord

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all skepticism aside, a pretty interesting read, did you write this all up yourself?
Absolutely. This is what I come up with when I'm not on hallucinogenics.

are you sure you didn't just finish a bag of shrooms while browsing the net?
You'd know if I did drop any hallucinogenics - eventually, when news filtered through to this board that I'd been sectioned, probably for a very long time. Believe me, I'm never going down that road.
 

NooDle

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It all seems quite logical (aside from Bernie and Max), but I LOLd hard at Massa @ Honda though
 

Devon

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Well done Ironlord, that was a brilliant read.
 

Ironlord

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Why do you hate hekki so much? :lol:
I never said I did... but I needed a way of moving him out of McMerc. He's been unspectacular but not disastrous, certainly nowhere near bad enough to have Ron rip up his contract. I figured he'd be re-signed for next year before Ron announced it, actually.

The original plan here was to have Jenson Button moving to McMerc, then I remembered Lewis and Nico's "bestest buddies forever" lark at Melbourne and figured they'd be better team-mates.

Other than Nico's medallion-wearing dad, every Finnish driver at McLaren has gone on to do very well. Keke, as we know, had already been there and done it with Williams. Heikki, though... I thought he'd do more than he has, and if I'd gone to Ladbroke's the other say to shove a tenner on him as a dead cert for Monza, I'd have lost and I hate losing money more than anything else... in the world.

Actually, this gives me another idea. Brace yourselves.

I LOLd hard at Massa @ Honda though
It's not totally beyond the realms of possibility.

Just ask Damon Hill.
 

Ironlord

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Heh. I'll assume you don't mean that in any negative way...

You do realise (this goes for everyone) how much I want a lot of this not to be bullshit... right? Other than the bit about Heikki. I don't really want him to get booted out of McMerc.
 

Sir Stiggington

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^^Yeah mate sorry it sounded wrong, I meant it's not going to come true, but it's a great read...
 

EsPpY

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You know something....


I thought cars were assigned the numbers following how the teams rank ending the previous year of championship, barring number 13.

And we're missing a few here, in the middle ? <_<


Or my eyes are too tired ? :(
 

vikiradTG2007

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You know something....


I thought cars were assigned the numbers following how the teams rank ending the previous year of championship, barring number 13.

And we're missing a few here, in the middle ? <_<


Or my eyes are too tired ? :(
HONDA
Chassis: RA109
Engine: Honda
Drivers: 1. Felipe Massa / 2. S?bastien Bourdais
:rolleyes:

And the teams are allowed to use what numbers they want in this reality. That's why Ferrari has 27 and 28.
 

Ironlord

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I thought cars were assigned the numbers following how the teams rank ending the previous year of championship, barring number 13.
1996 was the first year that system came into effect. Before then, Tyrrell had displayed 3 and 4 since time immemorial despite never being anywhere near the front of the field.

This post was half-inspired by a Ferrari fanboy I know from elsewhere on internet-land who wanted to see Kimi with 27 on his car... because that's Gilles Villeneuve's (usual) number, and Kimi's antics off track show he's got a bit more life in him that the more corporate-minded automatons. Can't have been so much of a comparison on the track this year...

Rumours of Hesketh making a comeback and signing Kimi for 2011 in three, two...
 

MWF

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Wish I'd stumbled across this sooner. Brilliant satirical writing! Well done. Still funny even if the actual result of the 2008 season is now clear.
 

Ironlord

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Ironlord should work for Sniffpetrol
"You didn't write this, you just nicked it off some bloke."

I didn't, but writing for SP is a bit out of my league. While they're rather crap at meeting their deadlines these days, I doubt I'd be able to help them on that front; articles like this come up when I'm inspired to write them, not on a regular month-by-month basis. And my latest piece of inventive writing wasn't exactly met with a round of applause.

Still, if there's anything I can do like this again, you'll be hearing from me!

EDIT: there is something I can do like this again. It's coming.

EDIT AGAIN: It has arrived.
 
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