Irrespective of the notion that Brawn GP was running low fuel to impress would-be sponsors or not; the team broke the track record in Jerez at a 1min19.1 lap. Robert Kubica set the previous fastest lap last year on a low-fuel run in Q2 at 1min20.5 so I think we can see that the Brawn GP car is at least amongst the fastest cars out there comparatively speaking. Let us assume that the Ferrari’s, BMW’s, Toyota’s and perhaps McLaren (depending on what you think of their current form during testing) have improved over last year; no one is showing it and at worst, you could extrapolate that the Brawn GP cars could very well but up amongst the top 4 teams in 2009.
Is this a shock? Well…sort of. For many, me included, it has always been a foregone conclusion that Honda F1 would be much better this year as the car was being designed under the purview of Ross Brawn but when Honda F1 announced their immediate withdrawal from the sport in December; I was skeptical that they could continue development and alter their car and aero to accommodate a completely different engine (Mercedes) bolted to the back. These changes are major yet perhaps Adam Parr of Williams said it best when he proclaimed that Brawn’s continued development during the last 90 days means that they have had something planned all along or they would have stopped.
On the other hand, I think credit is due to Ross and the team for making a car that seems to be very competitive, if testing is any indicator, and one must wonder what Honda will think if Brawn GP is battling for wins this season? They have been fast enough to garner the attention of Fernando Alonso:
“Brawn is not such a surprise for me because they have been preparing their car for a long time.
“They have done great work with the aerodynamics,” the Spaniard added.
And Sebastian Vettel:
“If it stays like this, Brawn GP will be all by themselves at the front in Melbourne,” Sebastian Vettel marvelled to Germany’s Auto Motor und Sport.
We will see but in the end, it looks like our man Raithrover’s loyalty to this team may have paid off. For Ross’s sake; let us hope so.