Are cool temps Brawn GP’s Achilles heel?

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Two wins this year from Red Bull Racing’s Sebastian Vettel have come on a rain-soaked track and a cooler than expected British Weekend. This leaves one asking; have we found the Achilles Heel of Brawn GP? It’s no secret that Jenson Button struggled with getting heat in his tires to find that peak performance from them this weekend and Rubens Barrichello had much the same issue. Vettel domination of the race was a class in perfection as he was running 1-2 seconds fasyer a lap than the Brawn’s at one point in the race.

It’s been difficult to pin the Brawn’s down as to which tire they prefer as they seem to use both Prime and Option compounds equally well. Better than most other cars on the grid for that matter. This fact has thrown a bit of guess work in the clairvoyance quest of just where is the chink in the armor?

But this weekend may have exposed the one area the Brawn GP cars are their weakest; cool weather. It could stand to reason that the cars are good on both compounds as they are gentle on the rubber. This would also stand to reason that they do not put a lot of heat in the tire during the race and when the cool temperatures come, the Brawn’s struggle to get the tire to its optimum operating heat. The two races they have lost were in cold or cooler temperatures levels and the Red Bull’s seem more apt at putting heat in their tires in such conditions. This also could be why the Red Bull’s are less effective when the temperatures are higher due to graining and other tire related issues but that is just a huge assumption on my part.

Irrespective, Jenson says he needs to get back to winning as the Red Bull’s and his own teammate are starting to pose a threat. He told Autosport:

“I lost three points to Rubens here, so I have got a 23 points lead to Rubens – which is still quite a lot to be fair,” Button said as he reflected on the result of the British Grand Prix.

“Rubens is driving the same car as me, so I can try and keep him in check. Vettel is the one where you don’t really know where their performance is going to be, so it is important for us to be fighting for wins.

“We cannot settle for third or fourth place. I need to be fighting for wins, and they are challengers. I had a 32 point lead coming here – and you can never be comfortable enough to think that we can just cruise home.

“They were very quick here, and I am sure they are going to be competitive at other races; I just don’t think they will have the advantage that they had here.”

Button is convinced that the mixture of the high-speed characteristics of Silverstone plus the cooler temperatures were the reasons why Red Bull’s advantage looked so big.

“They were much quicker than us and it is because it is absolutely freezing this weekend,” he said. “The sun did not come out until after the race which is nice – thanks British weather!

“So they have made a big improvement for sure Red Bull. They have got a lot of new parts on the car and they are obviously working for them. But there were other things that worked for them. This is a circuit that is very high speed, probably not our best part of the car.

“Also it is cold, and we cannot get the tyres in the working range, so we are losing out there. And when you go to hot circuits, we don’t just get them working but Red Bull struggles with the tyre which helps us as well. And there is hardly any braking here.

“I don’t know if you watched the last few laps when I was behind [Nico] Rosberg, but the braking on our car is the strongest point at the moment. We are stronger than the Red Bulls under braking, but there is no braking here. You never hit the pedal that hard here, and that is another reason why we cannot get tyre temperature.

“So there were lots of reasons why we were not competitive. I am not going to go away from here that disappointed. I’ve lost seven points to Vettel, which is disappointing, but then again I gained 10 points when he put it in the wall in Monaco.

“So, we could have come away with a worse result here. We finished up with three points. I know their package is good, but I am not upset. I know that it will turn around and there are lots of reasons why we were not on the pace that we can turn around at the Nurburgring.”


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