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Why Button is now "uncatchable"
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Why Button is now "uncatchable"
Posted By:   |  10 May 2009   |  4:32 pm GMT  |  0 comments

Jenson Button’s chances of winning the world championship improved dramatically today with a fourth win from five starts.

Smiley Jenson-3-thumb
It means that from a maximum 45 points he has scored 41. And with the next race in Monaco likely to be one of Brawn’s strongest tracks of the season, he looks set to cut down the number of people who can challenge him down to an absolute minimum. It’s starting to look like he is uncatchable. It’s a good job we don’t have the controversial medals system in place as he would be close to clinching the championship now.

Thus far the man most likely to challenge apart from his own team mate, is Sebastian Vettel. But Vettel has lost seven points to him in the last two races and now lies 18 adrift. Who else can challenge?

The Ferrari drivers have pretty much written of their chances, despite making a huge step forward here this weekend in car performance. It is possible that Ferrari will catch and pass Brawn on pace, but now that Felipe Massa is 38 points behind with only 12 races to go, he thinks he’s already run out of time to catch Button.

He said to a group of us this evening: “I don’t think so. We need to be realistic. After five races they won four.

“Even if we improve massively and we are three or four tenths if front of them they will still score points. Forget it.”

Toyota, as always are erratic this season, so it’s hard to see them winning consistently. That leaves Lewis Hamilton, who is 32 points behind. I said after Bahrain that the track had flattered them a bit, but that if they could keep up the development on the car they could still challenge.

This weekend they went backwards, with a new front wing which didn’t work. It is now starting to look as though this car may be possible to improve, but is destined not to be a front-runner. In the past McLaren might well have built a new car mid season, but they cannot afford it now and also it’s already too late to save the championship.

So that leaves the championship between Button, Barrichello, Vettel and Webber. And over the next few races we will lose a few more contenders. Brawn should dominate Monaco, because it is the best stop-and-start car. A glance at the tight sector 3 here shows you that. The Ferrari could go quite well there, but it won’t be a Red Bull track.

Turkey will be a good battle, while the fast curves of Silverstone will suit Red Bull. Nurburgring, Budapest and Valencia will be Brawn tracks, so you can see that it is looking very good for Button.

And he’s helped by the fact that all his rivals seem to be squandering their chances to beat him.

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  1. tarun says:

    Its a one man race to win the championship…there seems to be only button winning this year certainly as the team is clearly favouring him above his teammate. brawns are too fast
    its all down to that diffuser thing
    spanish gp was definately the most boring race of the season so far
    hope we can have better racing in coming races
    it seems pretty bland considering what tight competition we’ve had in past 3 years.
    you can blame the rule changes now for sure
    with no one from the 3 world champs in a positin to challenge for wins. its a tittle giftwrapped to button without even having to fight for it
    Its interesting as may be Mr Mosley is trying to get us used to watching F1 without ferarris and mclaren racing on the tracks
    I predict now force India to win in 2010 and fisichella for world champ
    thats how f1 is now days isnt it

  2. Vettel has lost seven points to him in the last two races and now lies 18 adrift.

    True, but Vettel’s last two races have revolved around him being caught in traffic he’s been unable to break out of.

    Part of that is the sheer difficulty of overtaking, but part of it is also strategic. Had he run a little lighter in qualifying yesterday, or not made that small mistake on his first lap, he could have started on the front row and things would have been different.

    So I definitely wouldn’t write Vettel off yet – especially with Red Bull’s diffuser changes coming soon.

  3. Adam says:

    James what do you think of mclarens chances at monaco given that they wont loose out on any high speed stuff!?

  4. floydthebarber71 says:

    im disappointed for rubens. the three stopper was risky, but could have worked if done right. that strategy made no sense. the 2nd stint was so short that it was almost meaningless that he made up as much time as he did. the hard tyres were pretty useless, so you could space out the stints such that the final one (with the hard tyres) was really short….which it wasnt. it all seemed highly illogical, and its got nothing to do with hindsight in this case….

  5. Leo Allen says:

    Brilliant tour d’horizon James. The only thing I’d add is that
    we should never forget that F1 is an extraordinary arena for throwing up surprises.

    Season after season ( apart from the Schumaker era ) we would seem to be on a set course to an obvious conclusion to the championship, only for the dice to roll once more and the winning numbers change……….and this season is far from over….

    However, your prognosis is probably absolutely spot-on. And if I’d asked you who were going to be the front-runners of this season in..ooooh, let us say mid-February this year, I wonder whose names would have been your first thoughts ?

    What a bloody marvellous sport this is sometimes !

  6. jed says:

    Redbull is coming out with a heavily revised car by monaco, right? This new car might give the Brawns a run for their money.
    The car aside, button is driving really well right now. In fact i think Button is now starting to establish himself as the best current british racing driver on and off the track as opposed to hamilton.

  7. Luke Robbins says:

    Good insight about the upcoming races James, i had assummed red bull would go really well at monaco because of all the talk about their great downforce.

    Ferrari looked much better today, but their tactical nous – lack of it – will ruin a few more races i’m sure.

    Rubens reaction was interesting today, i honestly think he still should have won, when he was on his last stint on the soft tyres he couldn’t match Button and they were on similar fuel levels so it’s is own fault. He should have pulled a bigger gap when he was lighter and Button was heavier in the after the first round of pit stops as well.

    I dont think he can blame the team, the interview with Brawn gave me the impression the team weren’t very impressed with the job Rubens did.

    Buttons class told in the final stint with everyone on hard compound, he was faster than Rubens there and he got the job done.

    I think if the strategies had been the other way around Button would have got the job done. I personally think that once Rubens heard that Button had gone to the two stop his head went down, it doesn’t take much to lose 0.5 s per lap and i think his concentration went a bit.

    Thanks for the blog james, it’s always a good read. Does Ted Kravitz have one? I used to enjoy his notebooks on the ITV website but can’t seem to find one these days.

  8. Colin S says:

    I’m amazed Jenson won this one, frankly. It’s amazing what happens when the luck of the Gods it with you and your best chance of losing a race (Vettel in this case) ends up very much out of luck. This reminds me of some of the classic battles between Schumie and his next challenger of the past, where things always seemed to fall in the Germans favour.

    It was always said then that you make your own luck, of course.

  9. King_Alonso786 says:

    What about Alonso?

    Should Renault improve drastically in the next 2 races then Alonso could be the one to stop Brawn GP

    He still hasnt ruled himself out of the WDC and until he does im backing him all the way

  10. Gav says:

    congratulations to button on a superb win. Webber also raced fantastically with one of the best passing moves of the race.

    personally i felt massa was a little childish at the end of the race. i can understand fully why he wanted to push for the points but he clearly had a slower car than Vettel and not enough fuel. if he had listened to Smedley he wouldn’t have lost out to Alonso aswell. what do other people think ?

  11. It seems too early in the season to be counting chickens but it does look good for Jenson and Brawn.

  12. rein says:

    It’s a pitty that the championship is already over. I loved the last couple of years and the buildup to the grand finale of Brazil.
    But on the other hand, now de championship worries are gone, no-one has any reason to hold back anymore in name of the championship. So hopefully we still will get some interesting races!

  13. Nick Gilmartin says:

    Well just wait and see what happens. I don’t think McLaren will do it this year, those heavy fines have taken their toll on their winter R&D.

    Red Bull continue to do well. Will they ever realize the pointlessness of Toro Rosso?

    Has anybody other than Lewis and Fernando got the hang of KERS yet, and is it here to stay?

    As for Brawn, well they will go down into F1 legend for their achievements this season.

  14. tinou says:

    true, but a DNF here and there could completely change things.

  15. alex m says:

    Watching this all unfold, it is interesting to see how “Schumacheresque” Button appears at times, just little things in the way he does it… so, is it really “Brawnesque’ that we should be saying a lot of the time ?

    I think Jenson has driven very carefully and intelligently this year but feel that you can really sense the Brawn DNA in it and recognise traits you saw with Schumachers style, calmly picking the right moment to do the right thing.

  16. Eddy says:

    I am looking forward to Jensen and Brawn being in a position where, if the winner takes all system was in place, they would be champions halfway through the season. And what Bernie and the FIA’s response will be.

  17. Pete Harris says:

    A suggestion for a new campaign aimed at all of Jenson’s doubters … “Button It!”

  18. Peter says:

    I just would like to add that after the last year it is so refreshing to hear Jenson speaking without the slightest overconfidence or arrogance or the boring PR stuff, he really is a great guy and sportsman, deserves all credit and success. Also, it would worth it to count actually how many realibility, strategic errors Ferrari have made in the last 10 races. No matter how fast their car or drivers are they lose much more on simple errors and we keep hearing the same statements such as “we really need to raise our game” and so on, but not much happening. On the other side the others have less and less reability issues. Something radical needs to be done at Ferrari, first of all they need a Brawn or a strong decision maker and strategist, secondly a QM boss from aviation or medical industry or whatsoever…

  19. Peter says:

    The season is still very long…., but to change the chances for the championship would request a domination from any other team than Brawn in the second half of the year and that seems to be unlikely at the moment. Perhaps Red Bull… Ferrari, Macca, BMW can start to build the 2010 car and test new parts during this year…

  20. PaulL says:

    I was sitting amongst 6 others and we all thought Rubens’ strategy was sabotaged to gift Jenson the win.
    It’s funny Brawn say they “shifted” Button on to a 2 stop strategy.. so shifted him on to the same strategy as the rest of the field?
    Either way, not a huge % believe this year’s championship is being fought by the best drivers, so it won’t be universally applauded if Brawn wins.

  21. Rich says:

    Mark and Sebastien will be doing the rain dance every weekend from now until November.

  22. Thomas in Adelaide says:

    James – for the regular winners & losers segment;

    Losers – That track. My god what a bore.

    Anyone care to work out the number of competitive overtakes for the entire race?

  23. sean says:

    the decision by the team principles re the rest of the season will be made in the next two races. There is no point in challenging for a title if it has already gone. The race weekend s will just be glorified test season’s for the majority of the field, sure you may get some close racing every so often but each race will be for assessment of next years aero package.

    This season has for most of the teams [brawn&red bull excluded] a disaster. But they wont let it happen again, I wouldn’t be surprised if you see more and more dnfs as teams start to push equipment to breaking point so that next years cars can dominate. With brawns limited budget for next year not having the advantage of hondas development budget there is every possibility that next season they are back of the grid. From hero to zero.

  24. Boston F1 Fan says:

    - James, should Ferrari have received a penalty or a fine for that flying wheel duct? It flew pretty far; what if it had landed in the stands and cleaved someone’s head in half?

  25. Mahir Can says:

    Button definitely looks very strong but I would not call him uncatchable yet. With their double diffuser, Red Bull will have a more competitive car. If Brawn cant keep up the development work, they could fall behind Ferrari and Toyota also. Then Button’s points advantage can eradicate very quickly. Of course that’s the worst case scenario.

  26. tarun says:

    I might be a bit biased towards ferrari or mclaren
    yes off course they do not have the right to be winning each year i totally agree with that
    but the problem here is there is just one driver who is capable of winning the championship
    in the preceding years we all have witnessed such close battles and thrilling race ending during the close of the season, red bull although doing better than the rest, I am not really convinced that they can challenge brawn…its gonna be a repeat of 2004 season
    the pace and the strategic nous shown by the team,is reminiscent of shumi era

    and one more thing the brawns are not an example of low cost team winning due to skill rather than money
    Honda had put all their money onto their 09 car we all know that.
    so anyway its basically the money thats working
    infact even ferrari renault and mclaren would have been competitive, had they not have to spend useless amount of money on developing kers
    which teams like red bull, brawn and others choose not to develop, and now it seems a wasteful activity for manufactures as they ll soon have a standardised version of it for 2010.

    so this clearly suggest the rules are not favoring the big teams
    although it shouldn’t benefit any team

  27. The Kitchen Cynic says:

    Seeing as it was Barcelona I thought I’d better skip watching the GP to do some much needed DIY. And yes, watching paint dry WAS more interesting…

    Still, at least it’s Monaco next. Same amount of overtaking, but no comparison.

  28. *Paul_W* says:

    Button is more than catchable, he’s hardly 30 or 40 points clear of everyone. I think this article is an over-reaction to be honest.

    Jenson has proved his worth in the races so far this season though, he’s had the fastest car at perhaps two or three of the five races so far and won 4 of them and taken the maximum in the Chinese wet race given the Red Bull’s wet advantage. That is a fantastic return, and to put that in perspective just look at the performances from the start of last season where no driver really managed to take advantage. The Brawn’s performance advantage isn’t such that he should have a lead like that in the championship. What we are seeing here is that Button is absolutely maximising his chances, one more win this season and he’ll equal Lewis’s tally from last year.

    What it says to me is something I’ve long believed, and that is that Button is a fabulous driver who only now has a really quick car to show the fickle media. It really makes me wonder what Jenson could have done if he’d landed a seat in a super fast McLaren or Ferrari (even though it kept breaking down) for the two seasons.

  29. Finn says:

    As I mentioned a few races back, I think most teams should forget about 2009 and concentrate on developing their 2010 cars.

    They shouldn’t even bother to try to race on Sunday – they should just turn up and use the track time for testing (as a protest at the testing ban).

    Frankly, the changes with KERS, aero changes, movable wings, no-testing, etc have just made the sport tremendously boring:
    * There’s no real overtaking.
    * KERS is essentially being used as a tool to block other cars.
    * No-testing means that the teams can’t develop their cars or drivers with any real pace.

    Of course Button can be caught if Brawn suddenly implode or if he runs his bike into a truck like Webber and is out for a few months.

    But in truth, the season is over and F1 in 2009 is dead on its knees after just 5 races. I watched the race on catch up yesterday as I was out when the race was on live. I couldn’t bear to watch it at normal speed. It was just so tedious that in the end I had to watch it on fast forward (with Jonathan Legard turned off).

    It is sad to see F1 in such a sorry state. Drop KERS and reinstate testing NOW!

  30. MartinWR says:

    It’s far, far, too early to say Jense is uncatchable. The reason that the Brawn car is leading is because they had a head start (having scrapped 2008), so there is every reason to believe they will lose much of their advantage as their competitors come up to speed (literally) from their later starts.

    With their huge financial muscle Ferrari are already closing on them, and McLaren surely must do as well provided their car isn’t too inherently flawed designwise to improve. Both of these teams enjoy an 80bhp power advantage over Brawn. Red Bull are up with them already and could well have had as many victories if things had gone just a little differently. Renault, Alonso and Pat Symonds can never be written off, and have the extra 80bhp as well.

    Consequently it’s quite likely that other teams well figure on the podium as the season progresses. Jense’s advantage may then be that no other single team will enjoy the dominance that Brawn have had so far, and so will split points between them and allow him to maintain his lead even if he doesn’t win too often in the future. His consistency will count then.

    The most interesting thing though is the petulance shown by other drivers. Barrichello for instance. To say he’ll leave if there is a “whiff of team orders” is laughable. For goodness sake, who does he think he is? He is an employee like all the others and must do as he is told, like everyone else. Virtually every other driver on the grid would give his eye teeth to be driving the Brawn at the moment. Barrichello is where he is because he isn’t in Jense’s league as I have said before, simple as that, never has been, never will be. If he isn’t happy I would hope the team would tell him politely to go and take his whining ways somewhere else, but I suspect Ross has probably got more important matters on his mind than wasting time worrying about the cry-babies in the outfit. Bring on Ant, instead!

    As for Massa, he may be a fine pilot, but to say it’s all over at this point shows himself up to be a joke, a defeatist, not a RACER. I am certain that isn’t Vettel’s attitude and that he’s going to contest this season every inch of the way till the last race, Webber too.

  31. Paul W says:

    As Ive said many times before, give most of these drivers a good car and they will all do well.

    Brawn did compare Jensons driving style to that of MS, and it makes you wonder how many times he would of won with-out the great mind of Ross Brawn.

    I did like the comment that Jenson made the other week.

    Now the big guys know what its like to be a back marker, which he was for years.

    Jenson to go all the way.

  32. Jon says:

    Agree at this stage.

    But who knows, the championship is long. All it would take is a few reliability problems or crashes with backmarkers (JPM – Spa 05 :D) or some wet races where crazy safety cars mix things up, and Button’s lead could diminish.

    Brawn have had a great car in the early races, but it’s amazing how much they have maximised their potential in terms of strategy and all the little things that Ross Brawn does so well. You could even argue that yesterday Redbull wanted Vettel ahead of Webber but fumbled it away, where as Brawn wouldn’t let something like that happen.

    If there is a big lead into the second half of the season don’t count out the most effective team of all, the FIA to mix things up. Suddenly banning the diffusers (on safety grounds) or some other part on Brawn’s car, or the stewards looking for reasons to punish Button, and suddenly things could be closer in the final races.

  33. Phil Bishop says:

    Renault get my vote to challenge Brawn and RedBull

    Last season Alonso “won the 2nd half” and Renault seem to develop well. Whether they can with limited testing time is open for debate

  34. Don says:

    I dunno people… maybe the reason why all the readers of James Allen’s excellent blog are so divided is simply because the F1 of old is gone… the natural pecking order of Ferrari/McLaren been dominate is gone. (well until 2010 anyways!) :)

    We the fans just need time to adjust to the new scenario of last years mid-level teams having got one over on the traditionally bigger teams. Some of us are delighted the likes of Brawn GP & Button have ambushed the bigger teams… other like myself are appalled that Ferrari and McLaren are now the back-markers been lapped!

    I believe the BrawnGP car is better than the rest because Honda racing spend all 2008 working on it.. they spend in excess of £40 million quid on it… next year BrawnGP won’t have that kinda cash to spend on the car… so it will be interesting to see how things pan out.

    Yesterday’s race was very dull… and I felt sorry so Barricello been made play 2nd fiddle to Button. I know Ferrari are down and almost out.. but I’m still going to watch every race… I’ve been to races and love the sight, sound and even the smell of F1 cars racing wheel to wheel at 180mph! I was at the French GP last year and the ground used to vibrate as the BMW’s downshifted through the gears into Turn 1! (amazing to feel) and after all that’s what we all love about F1… the sheer power and speed be it my beloved Ferrari or a BrawnGP car!
    :) Peace Everybody!!!

  35. Peter says:

    I agree with James Allen, it’s going to be hard to catch Button. It only took Lewis Hamilton 5 wins to win the Worls Championship last year, and he had some pretty torrid races last year as well. Button’s already got 4 and is much more consistent than Hamilton. However Michael Schumacher in 2006, was 26 points (something like that) behind Alonso and almost ended up snatching it away from the Spaniard, much to my disappointment!

  36. Paul Douglas says:

    Jenson Button winning with Brawn GP would be the Fairytale of Motorsport. Arguably, the greatest story in modern sport. It is early yet, but Brawn’s achievements will already make the team the stuff of legend in the future – to have come from the brink of destruction to win 4 out of 5, to take 7 Podiums from a possible 10 is unbelievable.

    I’ve said for years, as I supported Jenson massively even during the hardest of times, Jenson is one of the best drivers in modern F1. After having to watch him be wasted for so long, it brings joy to me to see my guy winning.

    And he’s doing it with a team which is absolutely my favourite. Once Tyrrell (The home of Jackie Stewart, my historical favourite), now staffed by Ross Brawn, Jens, Rubens, Anthony Davidson, Alex Wurz…All favourites of mine. It’s absurd. It’s like the team I would build myself in a management game.

    But I am a worrier. I do not think Jenson’s lead is insurmountable, and I don’t think the Brawn’s now dwindling performance advantage can’t be clawed back and the BGP-001 overhauled. As such, I’m nervously hoping Jens and the team can maximise their score early.

    The latter part of the season is the one where you start to see it getting shaken up. It is unlikely that Jens and Brawn can be caught by anyone in the second half of the season, because it’s infinitely harder to dominate the second half of a season.

  37. john says:

    One bad race and Toyota is suddenly “erratic”? Jumping to conclusions aren’t we?

    Toyota consistently scored points last year, nothing erratic about that. Also 2005 was a very consistent season for Toyota.

    This year, Toyota was strong in the first 4 races. This is the first bad race of the season for them. Trulli crashed really early, so we don’t know what his pace would have been in the race. Glock had a bad race, but still managed a Top 10 finish.

    Expect Toyota to be stronger at Monaco and Turkey. Monaco is a “stop and go” circuit similar to Bahrain. Toyota looked extremely strong in Bahrain.

    It must also be pointed out Toyota had a big aero update that they brought to Spain, but they did NOT use it during qualifying or the race. Toyota had tighter bodywork at the rear of the car, which was used. What was not used was a new front wing, new rear wing, and new engine cover that extended all the way to the rear wing like the RB5. Expect the new aero package to be used in Monaco.

  38. Craig says:

    Interesting thread here; many different views. Brawn, and especially Button are doing amazingly well. The Brawn is certainly a quick car but it isn’t a Ferrari 2004 dominating car. Some people here are suggesting the season is over already with one driver and car dominating, and that it’ll be a hollow possible championship since the traditional big teams and drivers aren’t up front, but they’re missing the details.

    Regarding the car, it’s not so much the amazing pace of the Brawn, more the fact they (and notably Button) have maximised every opportunity presented to them. No one else on the grid has done this, and that is why Button and Brawn are leading both championships comfortably. It could quite easily be Vettel leading the championship right now. Unlike Brawn and Button, Red Bull and Vettel have not performed 100% week-in week-out. The last two races could have been Vettel’s, but it didn’t work out for one thing or another (or rather due to KERS and the lack thereof!). And, couple that with Vettel’s waste of a podium in Oz and he could be leading the championship, with people being uncomfortable with his dominance.

    Button on the other hand is just maximising everything: 41 out of 45 points – that’s a 91% rate of return. Incredible! He is driving like a true deserved champ this year. Him and Barrichello are similar on pace, but Jenson has been flawless so far and is simply getting the job done, in an almost Schumacher (or should that be Brawn!) fashion. Nobody can deny that and say it’s been a piece of cake for him. It isn’t solely down to a grid destroying car, and cruise and collect victories. So I don’t see why some people can’t appreciate his talent just cos he spent years in the midfield and therefore automatically labelled him as insignificant and not worthy of being at the front. Massa seemed an average midfielder till he get to prove himself at Ferrari, and he nearly won it last year.

    However, regarding the season being over: as said Brawn are leading from maximising their opportunities rather than on pure pace, but it could all so easily change very quickly, and this is why this championship is not a done deal! A bit of misfortune and the momentum could easily switch to Red Bull who still don’t have the double diffuser, and who I think will get ahead of Brawn on pace again.

    Also Ferrari I am sure will get up there by mid-season in performance terms (whether they iron out their logistical mistakes remains to be seen). And as soon as we get KERS cars with pace, regularly qualifying on the front 2 rows of the grid (which will happen come Silverstone or so I believe), then Brawn will be find it increasingly difficult to win, as I don’t think they have the capability to incorporate KERS this year. It’s at this stage of the season when it will be really crunch time for Button and Brawn. We’ve already seen how KERS cars have stifled Vettel. The same can happen to Button. It’s not all over people!!!

    However, Button really is on fire right now. If he continues on this level of performance at every race, then regardless of whether Brawn fall behind other teams, he’ll stand a good chance on keeping his lead if this level of consistency from him remains. And so if his current performance turns out to be his season’s performance he’ll be a worthy champion in my eyes.

  39. SiY says:

    I think it’s important to note that, under Bernie’s desired medals/most-wins system, Rubens would probably not have been allowed to win in Barcelona (I completely believe and understand Brawn’s explanation that Rubens was on the better strategy and should have won). He would certainly have to give up all hope of beating Button in a 1-2 finish until the very end of the year. He would also be saddled with the marginally inferior fuel load in every single qualifying session between now and championship victory.

    I’m delighted that, on the face of it at least, the proposal to introduce the system for next year has been dropped.

  40. Don says:

    Tarun…. I couldn’t agree more… maybe Mr Mosley and Bernie will suggest all red cars have 3 wheels and blue cars have 5 wheels… and all the back marker cars will be fitted turbo boost…. who knows…. you heard it here first!!!

    It’s like a bad dream…. 2 of F1′s most bland drivers now lead the drivers championship due to having a double diffuser. I think what Flavio Briatore said about the Brawn drivers a few weeks ago was spot on… its all down to the fact they have a good car. Personally I don’t think its a good car… just that they have the advantage with 12 months R&D on the infamous double difuser.

    The only hope I see is that the Ferrari’s were fast today and the McLaren’s, BMW’s and William’s have also improved.

  41. Skaffen says:

    [quote]due to having a double diffuse[/quote]

    That’ll be the double diffuser that two of the top four runners today don’t have? I think it’s just fair to say that the Brawn car is in general just a good car, it’s not all down to that one part.

  42. Woodster says:

    I have to disagree with some of those points Tarun. Firstly, I don’t see Brawn favouring Jenson, over Rubens. If that was the case then they wouldn’t have allowed him to overtake at the start. Jenson is driving well and making few mistakes whereas Rubens has often found himself in the traffic (due to poor starts or qualifying) or, as today showed, not capable of pulling out the laptimes when needed.

    As for it being down to the double diffuser, I think Red Bull have proved you don’t need one to be competitive. I believe that the car is a good all-rounder but people have grabbed on to this whole diffuser debate as the basis for their speed. Even the teams drivers have said that the diffuser is not the holy grail.

  43. rpaco says:

    More Prost than Schumi.

  44. Tommy Karamin says:

    exactly! I think James is relatively silent on this because he wants to build up some drama, surely? Adrian Newey has definitely some answers…..let’s wait and see…

  45. Joel Heaton says:

    I posted on the other entry about today’s race. Barrichello took on more than twelve laps of fuel (~18), so he should have run longer. I really don’t understand the decision.

    I worked out that he would have been able to do a very short stint on the hard tyres, only nine or ten laps, if he had made use of that extra fuel. That would’ve allowed him to claw back some of the time to Jenson during the third stint, although I don’t think it would have been quite enough given that he wasn’t quite on the pace during that stint anyway.

    Unfortunate, because he was rapid this weekend and his start was just fantastic.
    :(

  46. George says:

    I’ve always quite liked Jenson’s style with the press, it certainly beats the socks of Lewis’. I wonder if Martin Brundle was right about Lewis being completely different in private as he said in the F1 forum, his PR responses always grate on me and I would appreciate him a lot more if he was more open off-track (got no problems with him on-track).
    Alonso is another driver that doesn’t hold back with the press, I always look forward to his interviews too.

  47. George says:

    All the teams play to the same rules, if they’re at the back of the grid then most likely they deserve to be. Also, what’s so bad about Force India being towards the front? There are no amateur teams in F1, the order in recent years has mainly been dictated by budget, I think it’s a great idea to take that advantage away and put the emphasis back on skill and ingenuity.

  48. Marcus says:

    Tarun/Don, I couldn’t disagree more. Ferrari/McLaren/Renault have no god given right to lead races. Once upon a time McLaren and Renault were the “new guys”. The rules changed the same for everyone and Brawn and RBR, and to a lesser extent SEVERAL other teams, did a better job than the “big boys”; that is what the sport is all about. Remember 1984, 1988, 1992, 1998? It’s a changing of the guard and it’s healthy for the sport. If Ferrari/McLaren/Renault/BMW had thought of the “double diffuser” they would have done it, but they didn’t. After that it’s just toys out of the prams.

  49. MartinWR says:

    I totally agree with George, skill and ingenuity are absolutely what it should be about, and grotesque overspending has not been about that at all. In fact throwing hundreds of millions at F1 speaks of an intention on the part of the suits to eliminate that unpredictable variable, driver skill and fallibility, from the equation. Surely that can’t desirable from the fans’ point of view.

  50. Don says:

    Nay the Jenson Doubters now just say… it took him almost 10 years to get a very fast car! :)

  51. James Allen says:

    I think Ferrari will have a say at many races in the second half of the season, but it will be very hard for either driver to challenge for the title now. Nevertheless I think they’ll win races. Red Bull will win more races too, particularly Silverstone, but I think they will also be strong in Turkey, There is a lot more stuff coming for that car in the next month.

    I’m revising my opinion on McLaren. Bahrain flattered them, we know that, but it’s starting to look like that car will never be a front runner, although they may well develop it into something which can compete for points/podiums at the maximum.

  52. *Paul_W* says:

    Four drivers still have a great shout of winning the title, in Button, Barrichello, Vettel and Webber. We also have the possibility that the Ferrari drivers could join the party sooner rather than later.

    In the last two seasons only three drivers have had the chance to win the championship, the Ferrari boys and of course Lewis Hamilton (as McLaren wanted shot of Alonso in 07 and Heikki is a number 2 driver).

    In fact you could have called who had the car to win the championship before a wheel was turned last season.

    Going into this season we didn’t have a clue who’d win, and although we have a good idea now it’s far from settled, which is very much unlike the past two seasons, I think it’s for the benefit of F1 as a whole. We get to see how supposedly ‘great’ drivers like Massa, Raikkonen and Hamilton cope in poor cars (although this season the cars are so close it’s nothing like the kind of disadvantage seen in a poor car from last season where a slow car was some 3 seconds off the pace rather than 1.0-1.5 ish this year!).

    F1 this year is more competitive than ever.

  53. James Allen says:

    Finn, you seem like a wise fellow from many of your posts here in the past months, but I couldn’t disagree with you more.

    The racing this season has been great and the wheel to wheel stuff like we saw yesterday from Alonso and Webber has been brilliant. I think the first five races have had some great action and you’ve no idea which of three or four drivers would win most of the races. I really like these cars now. Like the way they look on the track (except BMW which is still pig ugly). Next year with refuelling banned, we will have the fastest car at the front of the grid, slowest at the back and only tyre wear will affect the outcome, because there will be no other reason why one car should pass another…enjoy this while you can.

  54. James Allen says:

    Agreed. Button can be caught in terms of pace, but it’s going to be hard for one of the guys you mention to string a run together to get ahead of him, because he will continue to score points too. Vettel needs to finish ahead of him at every remaining race and have at least one car between them to close the gap. The last two races he’s lost 7 pts to Button. Both men will have DNFs, in all likelihood, but another few races of Button on the podium and it starts looking remote. I also think experience will count in Button’s favour.

  55. Snail says:

    Losers – That track. My god what a bore.

    Just wait until Monaco. Even more boring. Zero chance of overtaking at Monaco. Pays no fees to FOM to host a race. Only gives an interesting race if it rains. Does give some exciting crashes.

    Monaco can’t be dropped too soon as a venue. Likewise Hungary.

    Sadly, it’ll probably be on the calendar for eternity.

  56. Bill Johnson says:

    I can’t imagine where you got the energy from to bother to fill us in on your feelings. Maybe some other sport is more to your liking – see ya bye.

  57. *Paul_W* says:

    I couldn’t agree more with your comments James. This season’s new aero rules, plus some cars having KERS and others not with re-fuelling and the distinct difference in tyre compounds means we’ve seen far more over-taking than usual. I really fear cars having to be tanked up with fuel prior to a race as the past has generally show it to be rather dull. The strategy element is what keeps people guessing and makes races like yesterdays truely (or should the be Trulli?) interesting right up until the last pit stop.

    Bringing back testing would be a crying shame as Ferrari and McLaren would just throw huge sums of money at it and end up a second or so quicker than everyone else, whilst at present the small time difference in field spread is frankly superb!

  58. Finn says:

    A Spanish friend who does some motor sports coverage for Spanish TV was at the race on Sunday and *ironically* said the highlight was Massa running out of fuel. Doesn’t think he’ll go to next season’s race unless there are significant changes to develop the sport.

    Webber and Alonso gave us a few seconds of excitement …. artificially thrown together by the safety car and then a little KERS/non-KERS dance over positions. Webber was very brave, but it was more of a fabricated stunt than real racing action. And, like you said, the numbers in Spain are down this year: partly due to cost and Alonso, but also because people realise that without testing the other teams don’t really stand a chance of catching Brawn quickly enough to close to gap to JB. Other teams/drivers might win races, but the WDC/WCC is all but over. The opera lady has hit her last note and is putting on her coat to go home.

    The season is all but over. Save for rain and fast KERS cars overtaking slow KERS cars at the back of the grid or on the first lap, we’ve had precious little real racing this year. It is great to see Brawn doing so well, but without testing it will take teams too long to catch up – which means that for the teams and the fans the season if a foregone conclusion. Red Bull are in with the best shout, but the rest of the teams (if they actually sign up for 2010) really should just concentrate on next season.

    I’m not saying that the rules next season will give us better racing, but the *racing* we have now just isn’t giving the supporters a fair crack for their time or money. I chat with a wide circle of people worldwide about F1 all the time and there’s a real drop off in interest. It isn’t because people are missing Ferrari or Macca or their favourite drivers, it’s because with the KERS debacle and the lack of testing it seems that no one has a realistic chance of catching Brawn in the WDC or WCC.

    Brawn the Yawn as a friend in Canada has labelled the season.

  59. George says:

    I dont think the championship necessarily needs to play a big role in the excitement of a grand prix, certainly not at this stage of the season. I get the feeling the championship might be closer next year, although I guess we have to wait and see who will be participating.

    I love Finn’s posts, he usually says the exact opposite of what I’m thinking ;).

  60. George says:

    I think you’re being a bit harsh on Barrichello, he’s already proven he’s very close to Jenson speed-wise and obviously he doesn’t want team orders to figure in at this point in the season, it’s probably his last and I guess he wants to get at least one more win on the board. Towards the end of the season if Jenson maintains his advantage I think you’ll find Rubens willing to let him through for the sake of the championship, as Kimi did for Massa in China last year.

    It’s a bit unfair to call Massa a defeatist, he has 3 points to Vettel’s 23, they’re hardly in comparable positions. Ferrari strategists have made some big mistakes almost every race this season, it’s bound to get the drivers down when their hard work is being thrown away.

  61. monktonnik says:

    I too was disappointed that Schumacher didn’t manage it ;)

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