I’ll keep this one short. I’m so glad that Jenson Button finally has a real opportunity to win this Formula 1 season.
He used to be on the Honda team which was bought out by engineer Ross Brawn. Jenson Button is now a part of the Brawn GP team. They have a very competitive and well running car, and if you combine that with the years of experience that Ross Brawn has, Jenson Button can actually compete on the level I always thought he could. His driving style can be described as…very smooth. I always thought the car he drove held him back, and that’s not just a personal opinion. The Honda F1 car sucked every season.
There was a lot of controversy this season over Brawn GP’s use of a rear diffuser that aids greatly in downforce. The other teams interpreted the 2009 rules differently and didn’t have the design on their cars. As a result, the established front-runners like Ferrari and Renault have been blown away by the pace of Brawn GP, Toyota, and Williams. However, the FIA International Court of Appeal has recently ruled in favor of the trick diffuser. So the designs run by Brawn GP, Toyota, and Williams are now officially legal, but it won’t be long before the other teams implement the same exact thing…with some extremely radical changes to their cars of course. When that happens, we’ll be sure to see some change in the standings.
Ross Brawn has been called out specifically by both Bernie Ecclestone and Renault’s Flavio Briatore because he is the technical representative for the Formula One Teams Alliance. Both accused him in a roundabout way of using the rules to his advantage from his privileged position and leaving the others in the dust. In reply, Brawn said “I did explain that I felt we should have a different set of rules to simplify what needed to be done. I offered them, and they were rejected. We needed to clean the rules up, but nobody was interested. They’re interested now.”
Nigel Mansell on this whole issue from Sports Scotsman
“The biggest problem they [Ferrari, Red Bull and Renault] have is that they didn’t think about it [first],” he said.
“Williams have done a stunning job, obviously, as have Brawn GP and a few other teams. The others have been caught with their pants down and they don’t like it. It’s all credit to the officials for saying that those cars are within the regulations and they cannot see anything wrong with them. But if one of those cars wins and the appeals are upheld, then they will lose the race and that will be a terrible start for what should be a fantastic year ahead.”
The diffuser is the rear part of the floor of the car between the rear wheels and under the rear wing. Small changes to the set-up can have a big impact on downforce, and therefore grip and speed. Rivals believe the controversial diffusers could give a lap-time benefit of as much as 0.5 seconds.
But beyond this controversy, Mansell believes that reigning world champion Lewis Hamilton is experiencing a reality check at the moment.
After finishing 16th in the first 90-minute practice session yesterday, Hamilton then ended the second session 1.5 seconds faster – but down in 18th position.
Mansell said: “I don’t think Lewis realised that when he joined Formula One he walked into the best team with the best car and it shouldn’t be as easy as he made it look. “Now he’s finding out that if you haven’t got the car quite right you can be off the pace.”
I think Jenson Button will still be very competitive though even with other teams catching up technically. The diffuser isn’t the only thing making the difference. He actually has a competitive car this time and a team that can support him much better.