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GP Week : Issue 72
election fight between former Rally great Ari Vatanen, and former Ferrari F1 boss Jean Todt. Todt was elected by a landslide, and his vision for the future of motorsport will be fascinating to watch unfold. The body that he now heads up finds itself in the middle of a number of court cases, held over from the old regime. The first and potentially most damaging involves Flavio Briatore and Pat Symonds who were ejected from the sport by the FIA for their roles in the Singapore scandal. Nelson Piquet's deliberate crash at F1's first night race in 2008 on the orders of his team shocked F1 and scandalised the sport and the Renault team. Whether Symonds, Briatore or Piquet will ever step into an F1 paddock again is highly debatable. And that was pretty much the F1 season. Oh and there was a bit of motor racing as well. With new regulations, new cars, new rules and a new team, 2009 had all the ingredients to be a stormer, and it didn't disappoint. With testing banned during the season, development would have to be done at the tracks. An early advantage would be key. And so it was that the former Honda team, rebadged as Brawn, turned up in Australia and took F1 by storm. The front row of the grid locked out, 1-2 in the race, and the first time a new team had achieved such a feat since Mercedes in 1954. Brawn had arrived, and had sent shock waves through the sport. McLaren and Ferrari were struggling, a hangover from throwing everything into the 2008 season. BMW, having been the earliest to begin development of their 2009 car looked awful, and Renault also appeared surprisingly off the pace. It was a changing of the guard. A new order had emerged as the early front runners. Brawn and Button were the new pace setters and the Englishman took six wins in the first seven races of the year. Only a wet- weather masterclass from Sebastian Vettel and the Red Bull boys in China stopped Button from taking seven out of seven. The battle for the title seemed all but over. It was Jenson's to lose. And lose it he very nearly did. On F1's return to Europe and the slightly cooler temperatures, Button's Alain Prost- esque smoothness meant he struggled to get heat into his tyres. The Brawn fell off the pace in a very big way. At the same time, Brawn's major rivals had developed their own versions of the double decker diffuser, and when Red Bull put their major upgrade package onto the RB5 at Silverstone, a new front runner emerged. It was Red Bull who now moved into the ascendency, and Brawn which was trying to play catch up. Vettel romped to the win at Silverstone while his team-mate Webber overcame a drive-through penalty to take his maiden F1 victory at the next race, in Germany. While Button still held a 21 point F1 REVIEW >> Only one of these three men, above, remained in F1 at the end of the season ... Button foreshadowed the dominant start to the season by the Brawns, heading a 1-2 in Australia., left. Two words, 'rear diffuser' (above) dominated early season chat. Below: "there may be a job going ..." Mosley confers with Todt. Below left: Flybrid systems (flywheel) KERS unit was an ultimately unraced solution -- 24 kg in weight and capable of generating 80 horsepower and 64,500 rpm ... 27