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Posted on May 8, 2009
Button struggles but Brawn looks fast | James Allen on F1 – The official James Allen website on F1

Jenson Button says that he is not happy with the performance of his Brawn Mercedes car today, the first day of practice in Barcelona.

The car is equipped with the new aerodynamic package, the team’s first major development step since the season started. It features a new engine cover, new floor and new bodywork around the rear suspension. It is supposed to have given around three to four tenths of a second to the car. Rubens Barrichello was fourth today and is happy with his car. It looks very much as though it is still the strongest car out there, as they had plenty of fuel on board to record the lap times they did, compared to the cars in front today, the two Williams and Alonso’s Renault.

Button, however, has some problems. His fastest time in practice 2 was two tenths slower than Barrichello’s and he is playing catch up before tomorrow’s qualifying session. Barrichello has always been strong here and will give Button a stern challenge all weekend.

A few of us caught up with Button after the session and he was asked whether he is thinking about the championship yet?

“It‘s only when I’m asked the question,” he said. “Every race I go to I’m thinking about how well I can do that weekend. It’s about not thinking too far ahead. There’s a long way to go, Brazil and Abu Dhabi are a long way away there are a lot of races between now and then, and we’ve got to do well in all of them.”

As for this weekend, there is work to be done,
“The Red Bulls look competitive as ever, but for me I’ve struggled today to get a balance with the car, I’m a long way off where I want to be, we’ve got a few problems and hopefully we can solve then tomorrow. It’s not the new aero package so much, it’s just something on the car.

“It’s about getting a good feeling for the car, a good balance. I hope we can improve it for tomorrow and I know we can, because we know what the problems are.”

“I’m loving being the championship leader, centre of attention, not really. I love the racing.

“Ferrari were quite quick this morning, so I don’t know, they might be playing games, a lot of people do on Fridays, we certainly have in the past. We’ll wait and see. If you look at the consistency of some of the cars, you’d say that the Toyotas and Red Bulls look pretty competitive, but the others I’ve not really paid too much attention to. I’ll look at the data tonight.”

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Button struggles but Brawn looks fast
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  1.   1. Posted By: driving courses
        Date: May 8th, 2009 @ 4:33 pm 

    Barcelona is going to be a very interesting race.
    I think Ferrari might finish on the Podium…


  2.   2. Posted By: Pete
        Date: May 8th, 2009 @ 5:16 pm 

    Err James, Jensons quickest time was actually 0.044 quicker than Rubens best time today.


  3.   3. Posted By: Mark Edwards
        Date: May 8th, 2009 @ 5:37 pm 

    James, I’m not sure you’ve got your times right for Button vs Barrichello. Over the two practice sessions their best laps were

    Button – 1:21.799
    Barrichello – 1:21.843

    So Button isn’t 2 tenths shy of Barrichello. Seems like Button/Barrichello are evenly matched assuming same fuel loads.

    Even better Barrichello is happy with the car at 1:21.843, where as Button says he’s not happy but knows where the improvement should come meaning he can go even faster!


  4.   4. Posted By: Jose Arellano
        Date: May 8th, 2009 @ 6:07 pm 

    Hey james, i remember in last season when alonso was making up his mind of what to do for this seasson ross brawn wanted him badly… he said that hes clearly the best of the field.. what are your thoughts on this? would that offer still be standing for next year ?


  5.   5. Posted By: Stuart Fraser
        Date: May 8th, 2009 @ 6:23 pm 

    Jenson Button, Friday practice (session 1):

    Rubens Barichello, Friday practice (session 2):

    Two-tenths slower? Come again James.


  6.   6. Posted By: Clackers
        Date: May 8th, 2009 @ 7:31 pm 

    I fear Barcelona is the beginning of the end for Jenson Button. He now is driving a car that is better suited to Rubens, and even his most diehard of followers would be foolish to expect Jense to keep up with the pace. I believe he will qualify and finish outside the top 6 this weekend. If he cannot overcome his problems by Monaco, you can write off another season for him.


  7.   7. Posted By: James Allen
        Date: May 8th, 2009 @ 8:22 pm 

    Of course, he is still the best in the field.


  8.   8. Posted By: James Allen
        Date: May 8th, 2009 @ 8:24 pm 

    I was talking about practice 2. Comparing practice 1 and 2 to find the fastest time of the day is pointless as the track was very dirty in session 1


  9.   9. Posted By: Mark Edwards
        Date: May 8th, 2009 @ 8:26 pm 

    So Button managed to go faster on a dirty track than on a clean !??!!!. I don’t buy the argument.


  10.   10. Posted By: Mark Edwards
        Date: May 8th, 2009 @ 8:29 pm 

    WOW! One practice session where Button is slower and you write the poor guy off. Give me a break!!!!! They’ve made changes to the car and are working them. If memory serves this same scenario happened a few races back and Button still was quicker come qualifying.

    People keep saying “Oh this is the beginning of the end for Jenson”. Can we have a few races and some evidence before we start dropping on the guy !?


  11.   11. Posted By: f1passion
        Date: May 8th, 2009 @ 8:30 pm 

    I have read something about Ferrari . it said they are still using the normal diffuser from the previous races, but a more advanced version. It also said they would use the double diffuser on saturday for the following sessions; FP3 , qualy and the race. kinda strange , if anyone could confirm this rumor i would be a happy man :)


  12.   12. Posted By: Stuart Fraser
        Date: May 8th, 2009 @ 9:23 pm 

    James, that statement makes no sense (and you know it) – if the track was very dirty in session one and Button was quicker, it clearly means that whatever he was doing in session 2, it isn’t representative of his out-and-out speed around Catalunya.


  13.   13. Posted By: abductedlight
        Date: May 8th, 2009 @ 10:20 pm 

    I don’t think Brawn have shown their hand – yet. Unlike Rosberg who was so low fuel he didn’t make it back apparently :D

    Watch for Vettel again – And Toyota also have a good chance, whilst Webber looks to finally have caught up after the leg problems, so hopefully a better race than the last 5 in Spain!!


  14.   14. Posted By: Adam
        Date: May 9th, 2009 @ 12:54 am 

    James, now that the teams have returned to one of there main testing circuits, how much have teams gained on lap time since the testing kicked off and has there been much movement within the teams in terms of who has become quicker or slower?


  15.   15. Posted By: Jon
        Date: May 9th, 2009 @ 5:37 am 

    I think you guys are making too much fuss over something so small. Who cares who was quicker in practice, as long it’s not 1 second slower or something. Q3 is where they need to deliver.


  16.   16. Posted By: Jon
        Date: May 9th, 2009 @ 5:38 am 

    It’s testing. Don’t panic!!


  17.   17. Posted By: gary
        Date: May 9th, 2009 @ 5:38 am 

    Considering trulli and glock were not happy with their balance,
    trulli was only 3 tenths slower than button in prac 1 when button was on softs and trullis lap was on the hard.

    Toyota seem to be keen to look more at race set up in second practice both cars did a lot of laps and were on long runs

    Question are the engines used in Friday practice part of the eight engine limit.


  18.   18. Posted By: James Allen
        Date: May 9th, 2009 @ 5:39 am 

    They are slower than they were in testing in March at the moment. Barrichello did 1m 18.9 in the test on low fuel, and a 21.8 with fuel yesterday. Rosberg was below 1m 20 in March and did a 1, 21.5 yesterday. THe conditions are much hotter and the track was much more rubbered in at the test. They”ll go faster today


  19.   19. Posted By: Mr T
        Date: May 9th, 2009 @ 9:24 am 

    to Mark and Stuart, the testing programmes run by the teams vary over the 2 practice sessions; so even though the track may be dirtier in FP1, the Brawns would have been running lighter fuel loads which would explain the lower lap times ;)


  20.   20. Posted By: Mr T
        Date: May 9th, 2009 @ 9:26 am 

    in FP1 they were running a different testing programme, and running lighter than in FP2, even though track conditions were improved in FP2. Looking into and comparing lap times over 2 practice sessions with very different conditions is close to meaningless ;)


  21.   21. Posted By: MartinWR
        Date: May 9th, 2009 @ 11:00 am 

    Over the years I have seen an almost pathological desire for Brits to take the very slightest excuse to do Jense down, whenever they can. This is a truly strange phenomenon, since it’s obvious to anyone with half a brain that he is a fine driver, probably the best British driver currently, who due to the luck of the draw has simply never had the top line package that others, often far less worthy have been gifted with. End of story.

    In this country we seemingly must denigrate ourselves whenever we can, and this seems to be part of that. Maybe it’s is a legacy of collective guilt for the British Empire or something else equally irrelevant, but I find it truly weird. The fact is, as DC has pointed out, performance in F1 is 80% down to the car, 20% to the driver. That’s something people still apparently can’t get their heads round, to the degree that they seem base their judgements on the very opposite mathematics.


  22.   22. Posted By: Steve
        Date: May 10th, 2009 @ 6:23 pm 

    ….remind me not to ask you for your tip for next year’s Grand National! :0D


  23.   23. Posted By: jorge
        Date: May 14th, 2009 @ 9:44 am 

    Jenson Button is one lucky dude. Not only a good driver but he’s dating the hot Japanese lingerie model Jessica Michibata. She’s so hawt! Nice exotic looks.


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