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GP Week : Issue 39
> F1NEWS> stablishment for the whole team,”Button said after the race. “This is a fairytale ending really to the first race of our career together and I hope that we can continue this way and I know we are going to fight to keep this car competitive and with the limited resources we have to keep it at the front. “The whole team has done a good job and this has got to continue as this is where I think we deserve to be and we have worked very hard for this. So thank you very much to the team and bring on Malaysia.” BrawnGP was the story of the Australian Grand Prix weekend, unveiling Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin group as a “substantial investor”on Saturday, before going on to take pole position and the race win. Branson, who had signalled his interest in buying the ex-Honda squad over the winter, intends to use his association with BrawnGP to introduce a “Virgin fuel” to Formula 1, which boasts zero carbon emissions. The only sour note of one of the most incredible stories in Formula 1 history is that the result of the race stands under question, as the Brawn, Toyota and Williams cars all raced under protest, following the questioning of the legality of their diffusers. ur name on the car … “It was not that easy. Reliability was a worry, because we had [done] no race distances until today. So to get two cars to the finish, and just have a problem with the start which flipped up some damage, is just unbelievable. “Perhaps fate decided that to help us just this once! But it is a very good car.” Brawn has, in the past, won many races with many teams. But the Briton admitted that seeing a car carrying his own name take a 1-2 on its debut transmitted a completely new set of emotions. “It is a completely different feeling, and I could get used to this,”he smiled. “Obviously, we have a very good car. I think that because we have won a race, it is going to give them [the team] the confidence to go forward. Who knows? Maybe there is another fairytale?” Branson stunned to make history BRAWNGP investor Sir Richard Branson has told GPWeek of his pride in seeing the Virgin Group name carried to such a sensational success on its first weekend in Formula 1. Brawn’s 1-2 in qualifying and the race is the first time a team has achieved such a feat in its first Grand Prix since Mercedes entered Formula 1 at the 1954 French Grand Prix, with Juan Manuel Fangio and Karl Kling. Informed of this stat by GPWeek, Branson was staggered: “Wow, that makes me incredibly, incredibly proud, and incredibly proud of Mercedes,”Branson grinned. “They’re a brilliant company and they’ve been really supportive of the team through difficult times. There’s a lot of history in the making today and may we go on to be as successful as that team. We will do our best to try support the team to make sure it’s got the wherewithal to do as well as Mercedes did then. “It would have been horrendously sad if this car had never raced, which was quite likely only two months ago, and nobody would have known that Brawn had made this unbelievable car,”he said. “It’s absolutely fantastic to be involved. “It just couldn’t have gone better. I know I’m slightly biased but I’ve never seen a more exciting Grand Prix in my life. Number one and number two – it can’t be bad!” Mercedes boss Norbert Haug also spoke of his pride in seeing a car carrying his engines repeat the incredible performance of his own marquee 55 years ago. “Well we keep the customer satisfied, I would say,”he told GPWeek. “They did a very good job and at the very last minute we delivered the engine. Honda announced they were leaving Formula 1 on the December 5 and I think three months later the team was setting the best lap times. Brawn is a paying customer and this is positive for us and everyone saw that the engine was good. “Lewis [Hamilton] was the best KERS placed car which is another premiere which needs to be mentioned. So we are happy and congratulations to BrawnGP, to all the guys who worked so hard, and I will invite them for a beer tonight!”