When Honda announced it was shutting down its Formula 1 team, there was not much surprise as performance was not on par with some of its other racing operations. When Ross Brawn announced he was purchasing the Honda team only a few weeks before the start of the 2009 F1 season, there was some surprise. As much success as Ross Brawn was responsible for, where could he take the remants of Honda and in such a short time before the first race? But the first two races of the 2009 F1 season has produced two poles and two wins. The biggest surprise of all!
Qualifying one-two in the season-opening Australian Grand Prix left many amazed. The one-two finish with Jenson Button and Rubens Barrichello established Brawn GP as the team to beat in 2009. Development on the 2009 Car can be traced back to November 2007 but even Button was looking for other rides after Honda ceased operations in December. Button is reported to have taken a 50% cut in salary to allow Brawn to have enough finances to complete its aquisition and start-up costs. Now that Jenson Button has a second win at in Malasia, the driver and team are really showing the strength.
There is still a controversy over the use by several teams including Brawn GP of the Diffuser. The rear diffuser, channels the flow of air out of the back of the car as smoothly as possible for maximum grip and downforce. The Williams and Toyota teams also use the diffuser. Ferrari, Red Bull, BMW Sauber and Renault teams have lodged the appeal which is to be heard at the International Court of Appeal (ICA) hearing on April 14th in Paris. Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen has stated he can not win the championship if the diffusers are allowed. Ferrari has yet to score any points. McLaren has scored only a single point. Forumla 1 unlike NASCAR and other forms of racing does not use set in stone rules. Instead the FIA issues guidelines that allow for technical development.
Ross Brawn had previous success working for many teams including Williams, Force and Arrows. But his major success came Team Director for Benetton in 1991 with Michael Schumacher winning F1 Driver Titles in 1994 and 1995. Brawn left to join Ferrari in 1996 where his influence made that team again a top contender winning driver’s titles and Constructor’s championships. Now at Brawn GP he is on track for continued success in Formula One.