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March 16, 2009

Why Brawn GP Is Fast

Looking at the recent off-season F1 test times the order seems more jumbled than usual. The former Honda F1 team is now Brawn Grand Prix, having been taken over by former team principal Ross Brawn.

While certainly a new team would perhaps run low fuel loads and remove ballast to impress potential sponsors, delving deeper into why the Brawn is fast reveals there are a fair amount of legitimate reasons.

First, Ross Brawn is THE MAN in the paddock having partnered Michael Schumacher to all 7 of his World Championship titles at Benetton and Ferrari.

Next, rather than develop the 2008 car which was terrible to begin with, Brawn chose to begin work very early on the current car. So it's had a lot of time on the "drawing board" relative to those from the other teams.

Thirdly, while the Honda F1 car wasn't good, Honda spent more than any other team last year. The facilities the Brawn team now have are right up there with the top teams.

And remember they're now powered by Mercedes who've won about 1/3 of the F1 races this decade. I'd also guess the Brawn workforce are quite motivated not only by all the factors above but very simply by the fact they are employed following months of rumors of layoffs and the former Honda team having to shut down.

Finally, the two drivers are both grand prix winners - known quantities who are fast, reliable, and experienced in set up and development, especially beneficial in a year of even more testing restrictions.

This season is shaping up to be a great competition. Perhaps in the early races one team will dominate but the others will inevitably catch up. It looks like BMW and Ferrari are strongest at this point. A wild card or two could be Brawn and Red Bull. Fernando Alonso may also flatter the Renault on occasion. McLaren are a big question mark at this point.

We'll see in a few weeks what happens at the Melbourne season opener.

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