Since the introduction of current points scoring system in 2003 the point scores of F1 drivers champions varied from 93 points (Schumacher in 2003) to 148 (Schumacher in 2004). The world champions failed to reach 100 points mark only twice (Schumacher in 2003 and Hamilton in 2008).
It is official now. Formula One will produce new champion this season. Only Jenson Button, Rubens Barrichello, Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel are now left with the chance to win the 2009 F1 title. All the previous champions on 2009 grid – Alonso, Raikkonen and Hamilton – now have no chance to do better than Button’s 80 points and 6 race wins.
With four races to go Button leads the championship by 14 points from Rubens Barrichello. Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber are 26 and 28.5 points behind the championship leader. The Red Bull drivers still have a mathematical chance. And as long as the chance exists on the paper the Red Bull drivers are still in the frame. Remember year 2007. With 2 races to go Kimi Raikkonen was 17 points behind Lewis Hamilton. Two race wins for Raikkonen and two disastrous races for Hamilton later Kimi was the champion.
When Mercedes powered Brawn GP dominated the field early on this season many people wondered why Mercedes does not place their logo somewhere on the almost all white, race winning and title challenging car. It looks like there are indeed plans to paint Brawn GP cars silver next year and stick the Mercedes logo on them. But as it is turning out Mercedes may have much bigger plans with the Brackley team.
Early this week reports emerged suggesting that Mercedes is considering buying into Brawn GP. McLaren have been downplaying the significance of such step from their Mercedes partners:
“Mercedes-Benz’s engine supply contract with McLaren is a very long-standing one – it’s in its 15th consecutive year, in fact – and it will continue to run for many years to come,” said the spokesman.
“However, we’re supportive of our partner’s plans regarding engine supply of other teams in Formula 1, and we were delighted earlier this year that a Mercedes-Benz engine supply deal was able to be done with Brawn, thereby saving that team from likely extinction.
Both McLaren and Mercedes-Benz remain extremely satisfied with our Formula 1 collaboration, which has netted three drivers’ world championships and one constructors’ world championship as well as dozens of grand prix victories.”
While both parties may be satisfied with what they have achieved together in F1 they went their separate ways outside F1. The production of their Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren road car was scheduled to stop this year. Mercedes will introduce their new Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG on 15 September 2009 at the International Motor Show in Frankfurt. The Ron Dennis led McLaren Automotive revelead photos of McLaren MP4-12C (due for production in 2011). (Click here for McLaren MP4-12C photo photogallery and technical info).
With little in common outside of F1 there may not be that much keeping these two together in F1. Well, at the moment there is, the exclusive deal between Mercedes and McLaren (although the deal obviously allows Mercedes to supply engines to teams other than McLaren). That deal will come to an end in 2011 and after that Mercedes will be free to do what they want. It does look like they are starting to lay foundations for their post McLaren only F1 era.
The talk is that 75% of the Brawn shares will be acquired by Abu Dhabi listed Aabar Investments (more on their Mercedes connection here) and transferred to Mercedes-Benz in 2012. For comparison, Mercedes only owns 40% of McLaren shares.
Not surprisingly there is already talk about the driver line up in future “Mercedes owned” Brawn GP. Well there has been only one new name mentioned so far, the same often connected with switch to McLaren – Nico Rosberg.
Interesting times ahead …
The 2009 European GP win is Barrichello’s 10th career win, his first since the inaugural Chinese GP race back in 2004. The last time Barrichello was not on pole and won the race was at 2002 US GP.
This win is also the 100th F1 race win for a Brazilian driver, the first since Massa’s win at Interlagos last year. Well and yes, this is Barrichello’s first win in a car other than Ferrari.
Here is a photo gallery featuring images from Barrichello’s day in Valencia:
Rubens Barrichello won the 2009 European GP, his first F1 race win since 2004 Chinese GP. Lewis Hamilton finished second after his pit crew threw his race away (by not having tyres ready). Kimi Raikkonen completes the podium.
Jenson Button finished 7th and gained 2 points on the Red Bull drivers. The second place in the drivers standings however again belongs to Rubens Barrichello …
Unlike last season this year we have already had some mid-season drivers changes. Jaime Alguersuari has replaced Sebastien Bourdais in Toro Rosso, Nelson Piquet was dropped by Renault and Luca Badoer is about to step in to Ferrari F60 for injured Felipe Massa. Unlike last year we can also expect some serious shuffle to come before the 2010 season begins. BMW is on their way out, 3 (or 4) new teams are on the way in, several contracts are up for renewal (or else). Let’s have a first look how the things are (or may be) shaping up:
The World Motor Sport Council met in Paris on 24 June 2009. The following decisions were taken:
FORMULA ONE WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP
All currently competing teams have committed to the FIA Formula One World Championship.
There will be no alternative series or championship and the rules for 2010 onwards will be the 2009 regulations as well as further regulations agreed prior to 29 April 2009.
As part of this agreement, the teams will, within two years, reduce the costs of competing in the championship to the level of the early 1990s. The manufacturer teams have agreed to assist the new entries for 2010 by providing technical assistance.
The manufacturer teams have further agreed to the permanent and continuing role of the FIA as the sport’s governing body. They have also committed to the commercial arrangements for the FIA Formula One World Championship until 2012 and have agreed to renegotiate and extend this contract before the end of that period.
All teams will adhere to an upgraded version of the governance provisions of the 1998 Concorde Agreement.
The following teams have been accepted for the 2010 FIA Formula One World Championship.
SCUDERIA FERRARI MARLBORO (FERRARI)
VODAFONE McLAREN MERCEDES (McLAREN MERCEDES)
BMW SAUBER F1 TEAM (BMW SAUBER)
RENAULT F1 TEAM (RENAULT)
PANASONIC TOYOTA RACING (TOYOTA)
SCUDERIA TORO ROSSO (STR TBA)
RED BULL RACING (RBR TBA)
AT&T WILLIAMS (WILLIAMS TOYOTA)
FORCE INDIA F1 TEAM (FORCE INDIA MERCEDES)
BRAWN GP FORMULA ONE TEAM (BRAWN TBA)
CAMPOS META TEAM (CAMPOS COSWORTH)
MANOR GRAND PRIX (MANOR COSWORTH)
TEAM US F1 (TEAM US F1 COSWORTH)
In view of this new agreement and with the prospect of a stable future for Formula One, FIA President Max Mosley has confirmed his decision not to stand for re-election in October this year.
Few years ago the main talking point about Jenson Button was whether he will ever win a Formula One race. He broke his winning duck on August 6, 2006 in Hungary, his 113th F1 race. He currently stands 3rd in the table of most races before first win behind Rubens Barrichello and Jarno Trulli. All these three are in danger of being overtaken by Mark Webber (at the time of the writing 128 races without win) or Nick Heidfeld (157) .
But with an “outrageous monster of a car” in his hands there are other more distinguished records in Button’s sight.
As the biggest number of visitors to this site comes from United Kingdom I believe that the British Grand Prix is the race of the season that most regular or ocassional readers may actually go to. For those who plan to go and want to show up in their favourite team colours, here are the links to 2009 F1 teams merchandise:
Brawn GP is probably the most popular team when it comes to merchandise these days. One of the reasons may be that the team is new and nobody has any caps or shirts from previous seasons . But their popularity also has something to do with the team’s performances … The latest addition to their products range is the Jenson Button flag.
This what Ross Brawn Nick Fry had to say (among other things):
“I think the other huge credit has to go to Mercedes-Benz. I don’t know if it has been observed but the engine in Jenson’s car is the first F1 engine to win three races in succession. To have an engine which is that good in terms of its performance, durability and reliability is a tribute to the guys in Stuttgart and Brixworth.”
Brawn GP added several new products to their merchandise range including some Jenson Button products – cap, T-Shirt or 1:2 Scale Bell Helmet. It however looks like the only new Rubens Barrichello Brawn GP product available at this moment is the cap.
According to OnPole this new merchandise is available for pre-orders now and delivery is expected by mid-June.
It usually takes a while for brand new team to roll out their merchandise but Brawn GP managed to do it rather quickly. The caps, polos, T-shirts and jackets are already available, several die cast models can be pre-orderd already including the Limited Edition 1:43 Diecast Minichamps Brawn GP 1 & 2nd Finish Australian Grand Prix 2-car set with special packaging (due out in 4th quarter of 2009). This is a souvenir I may be thinking about myself. After all new teams do not finish 1-2 on podium in their first ever race that often and this time I happened to be there to witness it .
Click here to see the current Brawn GP merchandise range.