Here's what I think...

    Director of Operations

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    Here's what I think...

    Post by Ross on 16th March 2009, 04:43

    Here's what I think about BrawnGP, copied from my post on the BBC 606 motorsport.

    I quite enjoy all of this hype surrounding BrawnGP and their apparent leap from the slums that are the midfield in Formula One to the glamour of the top end of the timesheets. And when I say hype, I mean those, what can only be described as 'extremists', going around making sure the word is out that Ross Brawn's team have already got the championship wrapped up and there is no point in watching the sport because it is so predictable. Because, of course, from five days' worth of testing, we can already see what the outcome of the 9 month F1 season will be. There really is, and I sincerely mean this, no reason now to pay attention to the sport until 2010 comes around, and winter testing this time next year tells us yet again exactly what will happen over the next year.

    Seriously, I can't believe people actually think they can guess the grid in Melbourne. I am a Ferrari fan, and, dare I say it, I'm still shifty, nervous, quite sweaty - for all I know, McLaren could win in Australia. It's a strong possibility, because no conclusions can be drawn from winter testing. How do we know that McLaren aren't pulling the wool over our eyes by shockingly admitting that they are slow? Anything is possible. This is Formula 1.

    Let's look at the facts: BrawnGP have had, as I said, 5 days' worth of track-time. That is a miniscule number to the mileage that Ferrari, McLaren, BMW, Renault, Williams, Red Bull and Toyota have racked up. I list the teams because these are who the former Honda team finished behind in last year's championship. That is seven teams, over 100 years' worth of F1 experience, to magnificently jump ahead of through development on a low budget in a warehouse in Brackley during a financial crisis and management instability.

    Meanwhile, in Spain, Bahrain, Italy and various locations throughout the UK, the enemy have been building their cars with multi-million dollar budgets, free to test when and where they want (within reason), a stable ownership and financial backing, with solid workforces behind them whose future aren't in doubt.

    All the odds point towards a total crushing by BrawnGP's opponents - the BrawnGP, this is, that was founded a mere ten days ago.

    Then you look at the statistics. True, when comparing long runs between Brawn and Ferrari, it's looking good for what should be the 'minnows'. And true, the times they set on light fuel that topped the timesheets by eight-tenths of a second were astonishingly quick. We all know that. But what we don't know, is that in the bid to find some sponsors by putting in some impressive times which would inevitably, and have, lead to such speculation, how much of the team's car was based on 2008 Honda components with increased aero and set-up packages, and what was genuinly from 2009.

    The only true advantage 2009 cars have over the previous year's is mechanical grip, thanks to the new Bridgestone slick tyres. However that extra grip is countered by a lack of aerodynamic development due to restrictions, which leads to an average of a 2-second-per-lap time loss, because the restrictions on speed are greater than the improvements.

    Therefore, we know that a 2008-spec setup in any form will ultimately be more competitive in the lap time area, so Brawn will likely have been subtly retaining 2008 parts that maybe aren't as evident from the outside, so it appears they are running quicker than they actually are.

    Afterall, the team's main focus for the pre-season tests will be to attract sponsors rather than become competitive - we all know the foundations of a winning team revolves around money.

    BrawnGP, despite smashing the year's lap record at Catalunya last week, will be doing all they can to look impressive, but once at Melbourne for the first race, it's a whole different story.

    Director of Operations

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