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GP Week : Issue 55
>>F1 INSIGHT BrawnGP :: 1st place, 112 points From the team that nearly didn’t make the start of the season, to the one that everyone’s trying to beat, it’s been an incredible half a season for BrawnGP. The BGP001 was desperately fast out of the box, and has been at the forefront of the development push throughout the year. Recent results, however, have not gone the team’s way and two races without a win is cause for some genuine concern. The car just can’t get heat into its tyres at cold tracks, and the upgrade promised for the Hungarian Grand Prix needs to provide an important step forward if Brawn is to maintain its championship leading form. As championship leader with six race wins, four pole positions and two fastest laps, it’s also been an amazing start to the season for Jenson Button. With a car underneath him to match the talent he’s shown in fits and starts his entire career, he has now allied consistency and a clear head to take advantage of the opportunity that has landed in his lap. Rubens Barrichello has, if anything, been the weak link in Brawn’s assault on the 2009 championship. Considering the team’s advantage at the start of the season, Barrichello should have been in race winning contention on numerous occasions this year. That he has been so only once realistically speaks volumes. His frustration is boiling over and comments made both in Spain and again in Germany indicate that all is not as rosy as one might believe at BrawnGP. Is the team favouring Jenson or is Rubens being found wanting? Had Barrichello’s own performances been better there perhaps might have been no need for anyone to even ask that question. Red Bull Racing :: 2nd place, 92.5 points After four hard years of trying, Red Bull Racing is finally a race winning outfit, and one that now looks favourite to take the constructors’championship. As one of the seven teams not to initially come to the table with a clever diffuser, it was one of the slowest to implement this technology due to the pull-rod suspension that Adrian Newey set as a foundation of the RB5. Newey has done a simply magnificent job of creating not only a competitive car, but one that seems to make grand leaps forward at every single race. With both drivers taking race wins in 2009, one wonders at what point the team will favour one driver, before it risks the pair of them cancelling each other out in the drivers’ championship. Sebastian Vettel has picked up in 2009 where he left off in 2008, and at times this season has looked more of the team leader than his infinitely more experienced team-mate Mark Webber. With five podiums and two wins behind him, he does not have the same consistent points scoring record of championship leader Jenson Button, but he is the in-form driver at present and a very real contender for the championship. Mark Webber has now admitted he came back to F1 too early following a winter bike accident that left him with a broken shoulder and snapped leg, but the Webber we have seen in race trim this season seems to be a new man. He’s hungry, aggressive and racing like never before, and in Germany was simply unstoppable in recording his first pole and victory. If he keeps this kind of form to the end of the season, there’s every reason to think that he could challenge for the championship too. 25