Sunday, April 5, 2009


This is looking like it will be a crazy Formula 1 season. And I'm all for that.

Brawn GP, which formed only 23 days before the first race of the F1 season in Australia, ran 1-2 in qualifying and, even more improbably, 1-2 in the race with Jenson Button leading home Rubens Barrichelo both times. By 2008 standards this, in 300 terminology, would be madness. Especially since Brawn GP emerged from the Honda factory effort — they're basically the Honda cars that were in development since sometime last F1 season, but with Mercedes engines and gearboxes — that was awful last year, and saw Honda pull out of the sport in the offseason.

But a slew of rules changes were introduced prior to 2009, and it looks like the big teams were caught out. Brawn, Williams and Toyota all exploited a hole i the regulations regarding the rear diffuser, where Ferrari, McLaren, BMW-Sauber and Renault did not. Red Bull didn't either, but they appear to have brought a very fast piece to the track anyway, especially in the hands of youngster Sebastien Vettel.

So what did all this mean for the first race? Brawn GP first and second, with Button winning for the second time in his career. As a longtime Honda and Button fan, I'm liking it. And based on qualifying for the second race of the season in Malaysia, it looks like it will continue.

With no money restrictions or spending caps in the sport yet, the big teams could rebound once this early part of the season is out of the way, but they may well have been caught out by more than the diffuser issue, if Red Bull and Vettel's pace is considered.

We will see. In the meantime, it certainly cannot be called boring.

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