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Tuesday, 28 July 2009

Brawn GP - Season Progress Report

With the summer break now on us we have no F1 to look forward to for 4 weeks. There will be plenty of speculation flying around to keep us amused as usual and like me I'm sure many of F1's fans will take this time to reflect on Felipe's condition, the circumstances leading to it and the future for him.

I thought I would take this opportunity to look back at the season so far and try to understand why Brawn's performance now seems to have dropped in comparison to it's rivals.

It would appear to me as an outsider that a number of things have contributed to Brawn's performance deficit and not simply a 1 component fix. Red Bull and McLaren more than anyone have reaped the rewards of constant development whilst Brawn GP already had the package to beat and the one to learn most from. Red Bull's successful introduction of the double decker diffuser has been fruitful and i'm sure highlighted other area's to Newey and his team of designers that will have given them the huge leap forward. McLaren on the other hand seem to chuck parts at the car to start with and really gain no net result. They learnt from this mistake and bought a massive update to the Nurburgring updating Lewis's car giving theirselves a good shout at a podium finish. It would appear that McLaren have struggled to measure the overall aerodynamic disadvantage that carrying around the KERS system made. They have seemingly removed this obstacle now and understand how this both affects their car and can still be used to create an advantage.

The BGP001 was famed for being kind on it's tyres which has been the reasoning why at Silverstone and Nurburgring the car struggled in colder temperatures with the drivers struggling to put heat through the tyres. At Hungary we were supposed to see a return to warmer weather and less degradation on the BGP001 to it's competitors. This however didn't occur and begs the question have the new suspension geometry upgrades that were bought to the car inherently removed it's advantage of being kind to the tyres.
What we all have to remember is that the combination of both the BGP001 and the Mercedes powerplant although a good fit is still a compromise that other teams are not having to work around.

Upgrade delays could also have hindered progress somewhat, with limited testing this year adding components to cars during Friday test and running numbers of laps has really been the only way to get solid answers back from upgrades. I've already alluded to the problem this caused McLaren above. Silverstone has caused a domino effect in this area when the scheduled upgrades were run on the Friday but no accurate data could be found due to the weather conditions and the upgrades dropped until Nurburgring.
The astute amongst us will also notice some upgrades that seem to get run in testing and never making it to the car due to their impact not being sufficient.
Case in point see the pictures below for a section of raised bodywork that has made its way to friday practice at both Silverstone & Nurburgring but not made it onto the car for Qually or the Race:

Furthermore there may be some upgrades that have been added to the car that have made the car inherently faster but maybe not as balanced and thus are creating the tyre issues we have seen. The one piece rear movable element on the front wing springs to mind when before we saw only the triangular component could be moved.



I remain unmoved in my assumption that Brawn GP can win the constructors championship but until some of the above issues are addressed it may be McLarens meteoric rise that hinders Red Bull and helps BGP.

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About Me

I have been an F1 fan from a very early age, however in my very early years I didn't really support a team just loved the racing. Since the BAR years I have been supporting this team through it's highs and lows. I'm confident under Ross Brawn's control the team will go from strength to strength and hopefully Jenson and Rubens can find themselves in a competitive car once more.


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