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Get your money on Brawn for Melbourne win!
Get your money on Brawn for Melbourne win!
Posted By:   |  13 Mar 2009   |  10:14 am GMT  |  68 comments

It’s official! The Brawn is the fastest car in the F1 field with two weeks to go before the start of the season! It is an extraordinary story.

The Barcelona test, which finished on Thursday, could well go down as one of the most remarkable events in recent F1 history, as a team which seemed dead in the water at Christmas, bounced back and not only set the fastest outright lap of the week, but showed that it is faster over the race distance than the Ferrari!

Amazingly for a brand new car, reliability was very good too. The car covered over 2,000 kilometres during the four days using the same Mercedes engine (!) and had very few technical issues.

It looks very much as though the battle for victory in Melbourne will be between Jenson Button and Rubens Barrichello, as long as the car lasts the distance. It has done two race distances in the last two days, so the omens are good. And the competition between the two Brawn drivers is fierce – yesterday Rubens was faster than Jenson was the day before over the long runs, but there was far less wind and the track was more rubbered in.

If you make a direct comparison between the race distance runs of Massa and Button on Wednesday and Barrichello on Thursday you see that Jenson does 19 laps below 1m 21, Barrichello does 14, while Massa manages just 2!

What is even more impressive is that on the 19th lap of his 20 lap first stint Rubens does a 1m 19.971 – startling proof that the Brawn looks after its tyres very well over a long run. The team really are in amazing shape! In contrast the Ferrari’s lap times tail off into the 1m 22s at the end of the 20 lap stints.

If I get some time I’ll work out exactly how far ahead of the Ferrari the Brawn would have been over a race distance.

In fact, so stunning was the Brawn’s pace in Barcelona, it has caused all the F1 teams to completely revise their targets for the season. As I write this, there are briefings going on in all the team’s factories as the full impact of the Barcelona data sinks in. Of course the teams will have big updates for Melbourne, which will make them faster, whereas the Brawn car is is Melbourne specification now, so the gap will close up.

Also Brawn flying is not the best advert for KERS, as the team is not using it and won’t be until later in the season.

Don’t forget, Barcelona is a great yardstick for the season as it rewards aerodynamic efficiency and good tyre management, so if your car goes well there it’s going to go well at most places.

One team engineer I spoke to remembers an meeting last season when the then Honda engineers said that they were going to be a long way ahead in 2009. Given where they were at the time, everyone laughed it off. They are not laughing now.

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Regarding BGP’s sponsors, if you download the testing reports from their website you can see that Perkin Elmer, Alpinestars, Ciber, Cytec, Endless, IBM, Layerstoke Park and STL are all named at the bottom. I’m guessing that they’re waiting to get a title sponsor in place so they can put a complete livery together.

Regarding their pace, I just don’t know what to make of it. I knew they’d see a big improvement in 2009, but the speed they’ve shown so far is just alarming. I was expecting them to go all out to top the tables, but I didn’t expect them to spend too much effort on staying up there because they have so much work to get through at these tests. Taking the results lap by lap, it’s clear that they’re quick in race trim too, not just on simulated quali runs.

The one question that remains is how much the car weighs. Brawn have a lot of ballast to play with because of the lack of a KERS and it’s natural to wonder if they’ve put all of it on the car. If they were just gunning for lap times, that would show up quite quickly in comparison to their more realistic tests, but that isn’t the case. The only way the car can be light is if they’re running it light for the whole test and that would be lunacy having not tested over the winter.

Speaking of KERS, I’ll be interested to see if they decide to add this later in the season, as Honda’s system looked very promising and if they can get it to work with the Merc unit, could show up McLaren once again.


Still can not get used to the name “BrawnGP”. Somehow it does not fit with all the great names we have had in the past in F1.

As to the debate about brains or brawn, hopefully the team will benefit from Ross’s brains (strategic brilliance) and his brawn (testicles) and come out a double winner.

I have been a long time supporter of Jenson so amazing if the car and reliability can keep going at this winning pace, for the whole season.


I’m gonna bet £10 that the FIA clip Brawn’s wings when they declare the diffuser illegal before Melbourne

We can’t have the ‘holier than thou’ Ferrari beaten by a privateer, can we now.

On another note James – how close are Ross and Mr Schumacher – any chance of him coming back out of retirment to drive this stunning to new car? His Ferrari contract is up this summer……

Only 2 weeks to go now!


Fantastic news – Good Luck to all in the team should they read this blog…..and they had better!


Wow … look at the replies you get for this topic, James…

Well, you’ve just given me one more reason to be impatient to wait for the 29th..


Brawn GP could bring a brand new down to earth, no fuss approach to merchandising and corporate entertainment. Where they exist to RACE.

I want a black bin liner with a brawn gp sticker and some flashes of fluorecent yellow spray paint. It would certainly beat the crummy merchandise provided by all the teams bar ferraris bright red polo shirts


Well i just put £5 on Button (like i normally do) for wdc £5 10-1 Rubens for wdc 20-1 and £5 Brawn gp for cc 16-1

And to be honest I’m pretty confident one of those has a better chance than any previous year of coming true! I was too scared to put bets on Lewis this year based on how he seemed to try to throw away the title last year and clearly how his team spent the entire R+D budget for 2009 on making sure he didn’t finish the last race below 5th.

On another note wow this is literally the best damn blog on F1 kept anywhere on the web and if this were to become a premium service I would lend my cash to the region of £15 a month to improving the features here and getting live timers/practice video for the season and i bet many others would do the same.


Looks like Brawn GP is an instant favourite with English speaking fans.
If Louise is still signed to manage their PR, perhaps she’ll help you secure the rights to pen the first chapter of your next book James. And they said the days of privateer teams were over.

Enjoyed the way Ross used the Bridgestone/Brawn Logo on the nose cone.

Perhaps we’ll even see some F1 duct tape this year.

My guess is they are quick because they side-stepped KERS, and can place ballast more usefully.

The stored electrical energy in the KERS system will surely spark a fireball the next time a car disintegrates like Kubica’s in Canada, or there’s a fuel spillage in the pit lane? We’ve already had one fatality… just from touching it. Here to stay? Probably banned following a conflagration at Monaco. Which would leave Brawn nicely placed in the development race.


Holly s**t is the BranwGP real or not??

Massa’s comments is strange: “As far as the aerodynamic solutions are concerned I can only say that I’m not the one to comment on that. First of all I’m not an engineer, but a driver and then there’s [the FIA], which has the task to see if everything is alright or not.”


What is the maximum weight the car can be underweight realistically 50kgs? By how much would this translate into quicker lap times, 0.3-0.4 seconds per 10kg? So at the most this could relate to a 2 second a lap advantage.


WOW u all say, and so do I…

James, good stuff mate, good stuff! This is what it’s all about, it should be exciting, unpredictable and fascinating, and it is.

James, has the car been engineered in such a way as to respond well to Jenson’s driving style, you know, smooth, controlled and easy on the tyres? I suspect it has, let us now what you think on this, I think it’s important..

Keep rolling fella!



Geez makes me wonder, if they dominate this year will Ross continue to look for new owners or catch the FrankWilliams privateer bug.

Glory to the RossBrawnEmpire!!!


So the most relevant questions of the moment, 2009 03 13, 19h45 GMT, 1. Is the BGP pace for real, and 2. Is the McLaren pace for real?

Brawn: The magician, perhaps the greatest F1 strategist of the current era, if not all time! What would he be up to, if the car was not on that seemingly unbelievable pace? I noticed no sponsors. If a way could be found bring in the big bucks, for a reasonable time period, then sooner or later, he, Brawn, can almost certainly make a competitive team and car. So, manipulating the car so as to appear faster than it is, would be a good strategic ploy. It’s so good, it should be considered. But people want to believe, including me. The entire time Honda was back in, I expected them to go to the top. Have they finally arrived now, and pulled out simultaneously? It would be nice to see Rubens and Jensy get some. If the car is for real, I have a feeling that Rubens could be world champion. It’ll be fun, regardless.

McLaren: Who would have predicted it? The car is pretty for this year’s crop, too; it looks fast! Do they really have problems with the back end, or are they holding back on a technical innovation until the last possible moment, so that it would be difficult, if not impossible to replicate with this year’s test restrictions. McLaren have one of the top two computational fluid dynamics models of all of the teams. Could they be so confident in an innovative design that they would hold it so late without actual track testing? It could be. If their poor pace is legit, then can even they pull it up to the top in time to make a serious championship run?

Conclusion: Regardless of the answers to these questions, the changes to regulations have stirred up the pot a bit; I like that.


Some great insightful stuff again James, it’s fascinating how almost on a daily basis the picture seems to be changing. I really hope the Brawn-Mercedes is as good as everyone is making it out, it would be some story if they won in Melbourne after everything that has happened.

I’m surprised though that none of the other teams seem to think that some of Brawn’s pace is due to running without ballast to attract sponsors, do they know something that suggests the car is running at a legitimate weight?


I like Finn’s theory, its interesting. Not sure if true, but interesting approach.


We’ve still got one testweek to go in Jerez next week, were among others Honda and McLaren will be present.

After these tests we may know more, but still too early to tell (imho). I’ll wait till the GP of Australia to see which teams perform or not.


I will make a video of me racing on my steering wheel (ps3) naked and post it on YouTube if there’s a Bawn one-two in the race at Aus 2009. It’s going to be Robert for the win. I have a crystal ball.

PS: Does anyone know when the new game’s out please please please??? (This I cannot see in my ball) [ Perhaps a hint too much information, there, VonSpeex. Take care, anyhow. You know what they say about looking at your ball for too long … – Moderator ]


Most anticipated season start in living memory for me, us Honda/Button/Barrichello fans have been sitting at home for nigh on 6 years for the team to finally pull together and make a car that will give the rest a run for its money. The fact they have turned up and been instantly quick is impressive, we could expect a day or 2 of dialing in but they were 4th on day 1 and by day 4 they were in the distance.

Melbourne cannot come soon enough.


POSSIBLY yellow and black BWIN colours?????

Brawn sponsors????? Bwin.com

Might explain why they went so fast this week! Cynical speculation rather than a theory 😉 We don’t even know if BWIN are going sponsor Brawn for sure.


So many Bs


JA writes: Clackers, read the article more closely. The difference in lap time is much less than 2 secs, it’s only a few tenths. The only time it is that level is at the end of the stint, for one lap only.

Charlie W – I said get your money on for Melbourne, not the championship! I still fancy one of the Ferrari guys to win the title.


“One team engineer I spoke to remembers an meeting last season when the then Honda engineers said that they were going to be a long way ahead in 2009. Given where they were at the time, everyone laughed it off. They are not laughing now.”

If Honda were so confident, then why did they bail?


From what I have read and seen so far, this season could be a classic in terms of the numbers of teams and drivers in with a shout….and from the british point of view, exciting to think that even if lewis may struggle this year, Jenson could well take up the challenge instead. I hope that the testing pace is genuine and that Brawn is well to the front for the whole season.

The only fly in the soup for Brawn would IMO be that the sponsorship they hopefully attract would spoil the clean looks of one of the best looking cars on the grid…..although I’m sure that Ross would paint it bright pink if the cheque was big enough!

Excellent site James, look forward to your insight throughout the year.


I have to say I agree with all the above comments, and telling people in the office about how Mclaren are having to use the high viz paint to understand their performance while Brawn are blowing everyone out of the water, getting very excited in the process, finally believing this is Jenson’s and Rubens’ year to get what they finally have deserved for all their patience.

But then it struck me, Honda did this a couple years ago in testing, everyone was sucking in through their teeth at the Honda lap times and wringing their hands in a worried fashion, and then nothing.

The fact that they are better in 20 lap runs than ferrari actually doesn’t mean anything until we understand the amount of fuel, yes the brawn looks after it’s tired better, but maybe because it was consistently 3kg lighter in fuel than the Ferrari.

It doesn’t change the fact that I cannot wait for Melbourne, hoping we see a brawn 1-2, but I have to say a health dose of reality is called for I feel


James I took your advice, I just put 20 quid on Brawn GP to win the championship! Not normally a betting man but thought it would be worth a punt.


I am very excited about the performance of Brawn GP. At first I was rather cynical about the times thinking they are just trying to grab a few good headlines; but the more the times have improved, the more I have changed my mind.

You have to assume that they wouldn’t jeopardise their whole grand prix season just to look good in testing – especially if they are financially secure for this year. Or could it be that their financial situation isn’t clear cut and they are rather more desperate for sponsors than they are letting on? Maybe. What do you think?

Either way, surely the best way to get sponsorship is to win races, not run an underweight car in testing, otherwise they will look rather silly when the season starts.

I can’t wait to see what happens in Australia!



I have never been so glued to a blog and the related comments – this is fantastic

1 – A potential 1st win for a privateer team
2 – Possible resurgence of a driver in his twilight years – Reubens could do a Mansell
3 – Jenson finally gets a car to compete with the best – not just 2nd best like 2004
4 – Mclaren have a mountaint to climb which will produce some of the best over-taking by Lewis, who is probably the best at being a bit mental
5 – Ferrari unreliability playing a part (I love that bit)
6 – Rosberg in the Williams getting back to the front
7 – Webber/Vettel taking chunks out of each other
8 – Conspiracies about Mercedes giving Brawn dodgy engines
9 – Proper racing..

I’m going to wee myself a little if Brawn wins that first race!!!!

this is gonna be a long 2 weeks!

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