Monday, April 6, 2009

BBB's dominance in the Australian GP

Steve Slater, ESPN Starsports prolific sportswriter and self confessed Petrol Head, calls the recently concluded Australian Grand Prix as the dominance of the 3 Bs-- Button, Barrichello and Brawn. Brawn GP, formerly Honda but resurrected by former Ferrari Team Principal during Schumacher's reign Ross Brawn, dominated not only practice and qualifying sessions but race day itself despite Barrichello's stall on the starting grid. Much has been said and complained about the 'rear diffusers' of Brawn, Toyota and Williams as giving it an unfair advantage, but certainly the use of one such controversial design did not aid Rubens Barrichello's surge from the middle of the pack to 2nd place when his BGP 001 Mercedes-powered car collided with Nick Heidfeld's BMW racing with a torn diffuser at turn 1.

But if diffusers did not aid significantly in Brawn's superiority that day, could it have been the 2.4-liter V8 Mercedes engine? Not so. Other teams with the German engine did not do so well-- Force India and MacLaren itself. 2008 World Driver's Champion Lewis Hamilton has dowplayed his recent 3rd place finish as just lucky. Lucky indeed to be at the right place at the right time when Sebastian Vettel of Renault-powered Red Bull, running in 2nd place collided with Robert Kubica of BMW running in 3rd place, effectively taking them out of the race with just 3 laps to go.

Brawn's dominance is clearly in its design having spent a good six months ahead of schedule for testing and aerodynamic design when it was still named Honda.

With the Malaysian Grand Prix just days ahead, Ferrari looks to redeem itself after the most embarrassing season opener ever in the Italian outfit's 60 years in Formula One with both drivers failing to score a single point.

Sepang's long straights will prove to be another test for Brawn.

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