Brawn GP BGP001 – Will it be BAR 006 or Prost AP04 ?

Brawn GP BGP001 - The fastest car out there, for now

Brawn GP BGP001 - The fastest car out there, for now

When Ross Brawn and Nick Fry were talking up the future of their team following Honda’s withdrawal announcement many people had their doubts. Yes, Honda F1 Racing did sacrifice 2008 season and focused on 2009, yes, they had Ross Brawn at their helm. But over the years we got used to promises and words of high hopes coming out of Brackley whether it was during their BAR or Honda days. Most of the time however delivering on those promises was entirely different matter.

Then came Barcelona test. Only few days after announcing formation of Brawn GP the team took their (at the moment) only car to the test track for the first time. Jenson Button lead the time sheets for better part of day 1, Rubens Barrichello posted 3rd fastest time on day 2. On day 3 Button was quickest out there and the only one with the time in 1:19s. And then on the final day Rubens went even better pushing the car to 1:18.926 – a pace that even Autosport brands as “blistering”.

The naysayers were out almost immediately, Flavio Braitore among them. According to their opinion the pace displayed by Brawn GP is simply a publicity stunt to attract sponsorship. The blank sponsorless livery speaks for itself, right ? There are suggestions that the team runs with very low fuel levels and that perhaps it is even underweight (not illegal during testing) to help them get to the top of the timesheets.

Then there is other group of people who believe that the car’s pace is genuine, Fernando Alonso among them. There is no doubt that both Barrichello’s and Button’s fastest laps were achieved in qualifying trim. But the fact is the car is quick and reliable straight out of the box.

Ross Brawn himself is pleased (extremely) with the performance but also says the car is where they expected it to be:

“We are extremely pleased with the inaugural test of the BGP 001 car in Barcelona this week. The team made a very late start to our pre-season testing programme with only seven days in which to run the car before the first race in Melbourne, therefore our focus has been on reliability and achieving as much mileage as possible. Both of these aims have been successfully achieved this week. That the car has run so reliably ‘out of the box’ is a tribute to the strong team that we have at our factory in Brackley and they have done a great job during a very difficult period.

The car is performing to our expectations and the feedback from Jenson and Rubens has been positive with both drivers completing full race distances.”

The mind games are definitelly on and it is very difficult to make anything out of the test times. Despite the slow times posted by McLaren how many people actually believe that McLaren MP4-24 will turn out to be back of the grid car ?

Back in 2001, Prost AP04 posted some impressive times during winter testing, they seemed to be right there with the big guys. But those times came at price, their only aim was to impress and attract funding. Jean Alesi:

“I understood that because I understood the importance of funding. But the time came when we had to stop that, and initially the team did not want to. But we were just fooling ourselves. We had to go back to running with a high fuel load to develop the car the way all the other teams do, not with 15 kgs.”

The team ended the season with 4 points only and went bankrupt during the next winter.

Back in 2004 however BAR Honda cars were very quick during the winter and they kept their pace during the season too. Bad luck that the built their best car in the same year when no one could match Ferrari. Still, BAR Honda winter form turned into great year for them. Although without a race win the team finished second in contructors championship (119 points) and Jenson Button 3rd in drivers championship (85 points).

It will be interesting to see what kind of season will 2009 turn out to be for Brawn GP, will it be the 2001 Prost or 2004 BAR Honda scenario ?


16 Comments Post a Comment
  1. TimmieNo Gravatar says:

    Whatever happens, right now they have me very interested in how they will go come Melbourne.

    The off season of F1 is definitely a love/hate relationship! lol.

    Love seeing the new cars and how they all look and new drivers or testing paces showing ups and downs that no one expects. But then i hate the waiting for Melbourne to hurry up and roll around, when testing becomes not enough and all i want to see is a field of cars screaming around a track in real competition competing for what really matters. The world championship.

    I do hope that Brawn GP are really quick and throw themselves into the battle and show up all the big names with a top design. Would be enjoyable seeing some other team besides the expected winning a race.

  2. TSJNo Gravatar says:

    Who here thinks that Peter Windsor and Ken Anderson is ten shades of green right now from pure envy? They could have bought what, seemingly, is a winning car, but instead they decide to go on their little DIY America-crusade, which, with all due respect, will probably tank Super Aguri-style in my opinion.

    A missed opportunity if I ever saw one.

  3. Paul BrewerNo Gravatar says:

    I have to say I don’t think that Brawn has time to be messing around running illegal cars to attract sponsors, and let’s face it Honda are bank rolling them this year anyway, they could quite happily run around till Silverstone with bright white cars and still not panic, their situation is totally different to Prost who really didn’t have any cash basically they had nothing to lose. I believe that Ross is a very smart cookie, and Honda if they had stayed with the project would have reaped the benefits. really no-one should be surprised at their pace, I mean they’ve been working on that car for 12 months, it should be good! MClaren and Ferrari were trying to win a world championship, BMW targeted 2009 mid season,Toyota did the same and so did Williams, won wonder Brawn are fast out of the box. Honda’s management in Japan must be ever so slightly annoyed right now! As for MClaren, I think they are genuinely in trouble, and unless they can miraculously sort it next week they’re heading for 10th on the grid in Melbourne, The thing is this year due to lack of testing time, none of the teams can afford to sand bag like they have in previous years, no time for mind games this year. I personally believe Jenson has a real chance in Australia, as for Lewis, if I was him I’d be bricking it!

  4. KotenokNo Gravatar says:

    My opinion changed suddenly about this team and their car. I was attending the first day of tests, the car wan’t struggling and clearly fast.
    After 10 min following it on track, I could notice that it was quick enough to catch their main competitors in the mid-field, within 3 laps they gain a serious gap between cars like the Renault or the BMW. And during the next days the Brawn’s rocket has been notoriously quicker than many top teams (scary!!!).
    t’s speed was more than the expected by many, and it’s incredible how a team which didn’t have an easy situation during the whole past season and a terrible fate since mid-dexember had such an impressive launch!!! We will se how this develops in the entire season, but it’s something close to a miracle! A lot of well done work with this BGP001 :)

    Kotenoks last blog post..McLaren MP4-24 at the moment not as competitive as the team hoped

  5. seskuNo Gravatar says:

    finger crossed to brawn gp…go go go!!!…i dont really think bgp001 fast just to attract sponsor…they had really big amount of money to start the 2009 season…compare to the prost team in 2001…i think the combination of the car design with mercedes engine really mix well compare the mclaren…

    seskus last blog dan kentut???

  6. zblkhwkNo Gravatar says:

    Which engine did they run, Mercedes or Honda?

    Here’s an idea…perhaps the Honda engine was the problem last year, and the car was fantastic. Put a top powerplant in it, and you have a winner.

    Still, I would be astonished if they were anywhere but the last two cars on the grid in Australia. This has to be a game to generate interest in the team.

    • KotenokNo Gravatar says:

      During 60’s their cars had a fantastic engine (the most powerful), but the cars’ handling still was bad… I do not doubt about the performance of the Honda engines, as they worked fantastically on Williams and McLaren in the past also, and nobody forgets how to do a good job in a couple of days if have already a lot of experience.

      The main contribution to this difference is how the team’s resources are organized and how they face the development of the car. A long-term plan which fixed the team’s past issues and organized the personnel within, which we couldn’t have seen before, it is the beginning to achieve the first good results. Ross Brawn already told us when he took part of the team’s direction, we will have a lot of work to do and changes won’t be immediately, and this is what happened simply.

      A top engine may help them more, I do not regret that Mercedes may have one of the top engines nowadays :)

      Kotenoks last blog post..McLaren MP4-24 at the moment not as competitive as the team hoped

  7. F1WolfNo Gravatar says:

    they use mercedes engines now and it said that they give 70bhp more than Honda last year

    But more and more we hear it does look like this car is seriously good. James Allen offer interesting analysis of their pace on his blog, Felipe Massa says that Brawn GP pace is unreschable for Ferrari now. Looks like really interesting season ahead :-)

  8. Cruz GonzalezNo Gravatar says:

    Let’s dream! Alonso moving to Brawn GP in 2010

  9. zblkhwkNo Gravatar says:

    We still are a long way from Austrailia qualifying. If I understand the new regulations, we will know which car is fastest on qualifying day, as refueling is now gone. I still do not believe that even Ross Brawn can take a car that is dead last to best in one season, especially since they did virtually no testing and must have been working on a shoe string budget.

    Unless the new powerplant is miles ahead of the last (and 70 bhp is an amazing gain if true), and they really spent all last year developing the 2009 instead of working for 2008 points…

    • Paul BrewerNo Gravatar says:

      Qualifying for the Aussie Gp is two weeks away, 4 teams have what 3 days testing, that’s it. Testing over till the end of the season, my feeling is, with all the will in the world the other teams have compromised their cars for the sake of KERS which maybe at the end of the season a mistake because I think KERS will only work at maybe half the circuits, tops, next years they’ll all have standard KERS anyway, Brawn GP may have just have played a blinder and it may already be too late for the teams to catch up in time, considering there is no testing this year. I just think 2009 is going to be a weird year and that Brawn maybe the right Car, right time, right place..

  10. F1WolfNo Gravatar says:

    Just a note – refueling isn’t gone yet , that is only a proposal for 2010 season

  11. […] Brawn GP appears to be a bit ahead of the BMW Sauber, Ferrari and Toyota trio. I placed BMW Sauber in (close) second however as I suspect that same as last year they are yet to show they true pace. […]

  12. SarahNo Gravatar says:

    This is one the best analysis I’ve seen on BGP’s pace, that comparison to Prost Racing is so right…seems to be exciting times ahead

  13. KotenokNo Gravatar says:

    I’ve waited to know what to anser, and still don’t know :P But for sure won’t do a Super Aguri short-season for now.

  14. SarahNo Gravatar says:

    Seems like they have the best aerodynamics package going around…

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