The Formula 1 season is now underway and, if the race this weekend in Melbourne is any indication, we are in for an exciting year. For Ross Brawn and the ex-Honda squad, now known as Brawn GP, it could not have started any better. Jenson Button was never challenged and teammate, Rubens Barrichello, managed to get himself into and out of trouble all afternoon, securing an amazing 1-2 finish for Brawn GP at the Australian Grand Prix.
More after the jump.
With major rule changes leveling the playing field, 2009 will be an excellent year for Grand Prix racing. We saw cars running much closer together and many more passing attempts than in recent years. We also witnessed the end of Ferrari/McLaren domination. The Ferrari’s are not as slow as their positions would indicate, they suffered from poor race strategy and rare mistakes, to finish out of the points. McLaren definitely has a slow car, fortunately, they have Lewis Hamilton who started at the back of the grid and drove to an astonishing 3rd place finish.
The highlight of the race for me though, was the battle for 2nd and 3rd, the battle between two young stars, Robert Kubica in the BMW and Sebastien Vettel in the Red Bull. These two drivers put on a spectacular show, right behind Button, until they took each other out of the race with just a handful of laps remaining. We haven’t seen the end of this fight, it will continue next week in Malaysia. Look for Rosberg to join these two as they begin to shape the future of Formula 1.
So what do we have to look forward to this season? Drivers will make the difference. The cream of the F1 circus ran at the front, Vettel, Kubica, Alonso, Hamilton, Raikkonen and Massa all faired well during the race with cars that have yet to meet their design potential. Williams and Toyota look strong, as do Red Bull and Toro Rosso. The new aerodynamic package and KERS played a part in over-taking and defending, just as we hoped. It is early days yet, but I think we will see a close and exciting race for the Driver and Constructor Championships in 2009.
As for this weekend, it was all Ross Brawn. A brilliant new car, a brilliant drive from Button and brilliant tactics to get Barrichello into second place. It was a brilliant start for his new team, and a brilliant beginning for a new era of Formula 1 competition.
[Photo credit: AP via Yahoo UK]