The first F1 race of the 2009 season had me out of bed and on the edge of my seat even before the red lights went out for the start. Reflecting the ex-Honda Brawn GP cars’ devastating pace in pre-season testing, Jenson Button and Rubens Barrichello locked out the front row of the grid in qualifying, promising an interesting race.
And so it proved – the big boys, Ferrari and McLaren, found themselves floundering, while Brawn, Red Bull and Williams took the advantage at the start. Brawn especially so, as Jenson cruised off into the distance, pretty much dominating the race from start to finish. Considering the team as it presented itself at Melbourne didn’t exist three weeks ago and it looked like the doors were going to close on the old Honda team, this has been a remarkable, nay historic, turnaround – and a true vindication of Ross Brawn’s courage and commitment in buying out the Honda team and running it on a shoestring…
Of course, this car was always going to do well – development work started on it this time last year, when it became clear that the Honda RA108 was an accident waiting to happen. Honda must now be kicking itself – the company could have been dominating Formula One but, instead, it’s now a faded memory. So, congratulations, Ross Brawn, Jenson Button and all the team at Brackley… it’s a very British success story in which, just for once (and assuming the results don’t get overturned in the FIA Court of Appeal), the good guys won.