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Brawn GP win the Australian Formula 1 Grand Prix, March 29 2009

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Brawn GP win the Australian Formula 1 Grand Prix, March 29 2009

Comments for: Brawn GP win the Australian Formula 1 Grand Prix, March 29 2009
pulse Report This Comment
Date: March 29, 2009 04:04PM

THEY never saw which way he went. Briton Jenson Button cleared out in front of the field from the start of the Australian Grand Prix and was never headed, giving the reborn Brawn GP team a fairytale start to the 2009 formula one season.

As he entered the post-race press conference a beaming Button asked "can you pinch me next time around".

This, only the second victory of his career, was surely the sweetest moment of a decade in the sport that promised much but delivered relatively little.

"It's not just for me, it's for the whole team. It always looks easier than it is, (but) this is a fairytale ending to the first race of our career together. The whole team have done a great job. This is what we deserve … Bring on Malaysia."

As the temperatures cooled and the light dappling through the trees lining the circuit in the park faded, the 29-year-old Monaco-based Englishman never looked in danger of finishing anywhere other than first after avoiding the chaos behind him at the first corner as his teammate Rubens Barrichello, who started alongside him on the front row of the grid, baulked at the start and caused pandemonium for those trying to get through.

As Button streaked off to a lead he never relinquished and the young German Sebastian Vettel in the Red Bull Racing entry gave forlorn chase, several drivers knew their race was about to be ruined — among them Australia's Mark Webber. Vettel's Red Bull teammate, who would have had hopes of a points-paying finish, after starting eighth on the grid, saw his dream dashed when he was struck by Barrichello in a collision that also sent the BMW of Nick Heidfeld flying.

The carnage at the start was mirrored at the end when Vettel and BMW's Polish driver Robert Kubica, dicing for second place, threw caution to the wind and crashed into each other just three laps from the finish as Kubica tried to get past on the outside. Both cars were out of the race, allowing Barrichello to move into second spot to complete the Brawn quinella.

The McLaren of world champion Lewis Hamilton, so imperious when clearing out to a maiden Australian victory last year, was, for most of this Grand Prix, never in the frame. Yet when the dust settled, the 24-year-old Briton, who had driven a gritty race in very different circumstances, found himself in fourth position, just behind the Toyota of Jarno Trulli. That didn't last long, as Hamilton was promoted when Trulli was demoted for overtaking while the safety car was on the track.

In a sport where money and technology invariably ensure that the glory goes to the big battalions, this was a fairytale ending. Button and Barrichello looked to be not just out of jobs but perhaps at the end of their careers late last year when Honda announced they were withdrawing from the sport. Ross Brawn, hired from Ferrari to fix the team, eventually organised a management buy-out as Button, Barrichello and hundreds more sweated on their futures. They came to Melbourne without even a sponsor — something sorted out on Saturday when Virgin boss Richard Branson breezed in to announce a deal — but go to Malaysia next weekend having made history, as winners of a GP at the first attempt.

As Brawn chief executive Nick Fry said: "It's what everyone has wanted for so long. They have worked so hard."

Source: []
FrostedApe Report This Comment
Date: March 29, 2009 04:17PM

I hadn't really thought about it before, but I wonder how much effect the global economy is having on things like racing sponsorship?
GAK67 Report This Comment
Date: March 29, 2009 04:59PM

Taking nothing away from Button or Brawn, but what a drive from Hamilton - 18th to 3rd (even 18th to 6th was great if you exclude the final crash and penalty).

Was also good to see that the aero mods seem to be working with more on-track passing (need to have some benefit from making them look so ugly!)
pulse Report This Comment
Date: March 29, 2009 06:26PM

Frosted: It's having a pretty dramatic effect. As of next year the ING Renault F1 Team .. won't be the ING anything anymore. ING are also dropping sponsorship of a number of races. There's companies dropping left, right and centre. Williams won't have RBS strewn down the side of their car anymore, and a number of others are walking. It's challenging times for all racing teams as corporations globally tighten their purse strings.

GAK: I thought it was a fantastic race, and I have to agree Hamilton did pretty well. He was helped massively by the first safety car bunching up the field though, at that point he was quite a bit behind the group of cars infront of him, which allowed him to jump them at the first corner after the restart.

I went along on Friday night and Saturday, watched the qualifying etc (where I took the picture above). They weren't as loud this year, but they were still obviously fast. F1 is a great spectacle, even my girlfriend enjoyed coming along and seeing the cars on Sat.

I only live a couple of KM from the track, so it was surprising that I couldn't hear them at all this year. Usually it's very loud. I don't know what caused that, I doubt dropping max RPM by 1500 made that big a difference. At least the "Save Albert Park" people will have less to bitch about.
Dale Report This Comment
Date: March 29, 2009 08:12PM

I reckon that Virgin sponsorship was signed up weeks ago but the king of PR Sir Rick knew it would get even more publicity for him to fly to Australia the day before the race and say I want to sponsor you.
How many times did you hear the word Virgin mentioned on Channel 10 over the weekend and every chance they got Bransons mug was in telly.
pulse Report This Comment
Date: March 29, 2009 08:22PM

I think it'll go further than that, too. Right through the summer we've heard about potential buyers for the team, Virgin was always mentioned along with this. Not only was the sponsorship deal signed weeks ago, Brawn has publicly said the team won't remain Brawn GP, it needs a brand, like ING Renault F1, Red Bull Racing or Vodafone McLaren Mercedes.

You watch, Branson & Brawn will soon announce that Branson has purchased a percentage of the team, including the naming rights.

Virgin Racing, anyone?
FrostedApe Report This Comment
Date: March 29, 2009 08:34PM

I just had noticed that this car was not plastered stem-to-stern with corporate logos, but I don't keep up with racing too much, so I didn't know if he was the rule or the exception. A few years ago, when conspicuous excess was a corporate hobby, they were tripping over each other to buy the naming rights for professional sports stadia, college football bowl games and what-not, sometimes for many tens of millions of dollars a pop. I read recently that there are several of them now trying to sell those rights for much less, just to get whatever money they can for them. Bankruptcy judges can be such buzz-kills, sometimes.
pulse Report This Comment
Date: March 29, 2009 09:00PM

Frosted: With F1 this is the exception rather than the rule. The car above is run by a team currently called Brawn GP. It's the result of a management buyout which was only announced a few weeks ago of the outgoing Honda F1 team. Honda decided they couldn't afford to compete anymore, thus the management bought the team & are now running it.

It's not plastered with corporate logos (and indeed until Saturday didn't even have the Virgin logo on it) because in organising the buyout, they simply haven't had time to attract sponsors, as until late Feb nobody even knew if the team would survive to race this year.

That said, the cars in F1 are typically fairly subdued with their advertising, as opposed to the Australian domestic racing championship, the V8 Supercars series, where every car is absolutely plastered with ads.


GAK67 Report This Comment
Date: March 29, 2009 09:32PM

Interesting story I heard when in London a few years ago. The father of one of the women I worked with was booked to fly to the US on holiday on Virgin when he was diagnosed with a serious heart condition. He wanted to cancel his tickets, but was told the best he could get was to defer for up to 2 years. Given he might not be alive in 2 years he wasn't happy so asked to speak to the manager. Kept getting told the same story, so kept asking to speak to the next level up. Eventually he got somebody to say ok to a refund. He asked their name so he didn't have any problems later on with processing the transaction. It was Branson himself.

Pulse: Have some Air Points to use up and am planning a trip to the GP next year to use them - might see you there. Was last there 99.

I think motor racing would have to be the sport with the greatest level of sponsorship advertising. This is for two reasons. 1. The cost of running a car/bike/boat for a season, and 2. the fact that there is opportunity for placement of adverising. The cars them selves, the walls of the track, the clothing, the hats, the over bridges, the pit girls, etc. There is advertising everywhere. Compare that to football (American, association, or rugby) and you get the hoardings around the ground and small logos on the clothes of the players, and cheerleaders if there are any.
anonymous Report This Comment
Date: March 30, 2009 03:48AM

Brawn GP wields job axe after victory

March 30, 2009 - 5:47PM

Less than 24 hours after their Australian Grand Prix fairytale, Formula One newcomers Brawn GP have sacked more than 270 workers.

Brawn GP chief executive Nick Fry confirmed one-third of the F1 team's workforce would be cut - announcing the mass sackings at their factory in England amid the euphoria of Briton Jenson Button's victory in Melbourne.

"It's about 270 (job losses),'' Fry told the BBC on Monday.

"We are about 700 people at the moment and we talked to the staff about going down to about 430, which is where we were in 2004.

"It's very unfortunate that we've got to do that but it's the change of technical regulations and obviously we are now a private team.''

Brawn GP arose from the ashes of the now-defunct Honda - the team's spot on the F1 grid saved at the last minute by a management buyout.

But after inheriting a huge staff and needing fewer workers because of this year's change in F1 rules banning mid-season testing, Fry said the job cuts were inevitable.

It has shattered the feelgood factor around the team's remarkable one-two finish in their debut Grand Prix, with Button leading home Brazilian Rubens Barrichello.

The team also signed Richard Branson's Virgin Group as a major sponsor in Melbourne at the weekend.

Despite their Albert Park win and the promise of a new world order in the sport as Ferrari and McLaren struggled to keep pace with them, Brawn GP will also have to sweat it out until April 14 to find out if their controversial rear diffusers are legal.

F1's governing body, the FIA, will hear appeals from Ferrari, Red Bull and Renault over the diffusers used by Brawn, Williams and Toyota.

Stewards in Melbourne ruled they were legal ahead of the season-opening Grand Prix, allowing their use until the appeal is heard.

But if the FIA appeals court rules against the technology, Brawn face having their Australian GP victory struck out, as well as losing any points they earn at the Malaysian GP this weekend.

Not that it bothers Button, who believes his car is legal.

"That's nothing we can change as drivers,'' Button said.

"We're here to put on a show, and also to get the best out of the equipment on offer, which is exactly what we did over the weekend.

"We will continue to do so over the next few races or for the whole of the season, and we have to see what happens.

"At the moment, I'm enjoying this victory because it is a victory, and I think it should stand.''