F1 is about speed and technology. You can have a flawless driver in an inferior machine and that driver will not win one race all year. Similarly, you can have a driver who is rusty or somewhat imperfect, and when you give him the right car, he can soar away from everyone else. Usually, neither the car nor the driver are perfect, but, on any given week, you try and get both going as fast and staying as reliable as possible.
Occasionally, someone very smart figures out something that no one else knows or understands. That person’s team then gets an unfair advantage. Usually, this is in the area of aerodynamics. In 1978, this is what happened with Lotus and their ‘ground effects’ car. Ross Brawn may be about to pull off the same trick over thirty years later. The beauty is that his team didn’t exist until, like, 5 minutes ago. They had been dumped in the trash by Honda. Apparently the manufacturer had no idea what it had on its hands, or chose not to believe the very people it had installed at the upper levels of team management, including Brawn himself.
Thank goodness Brawn et al perservered. We are now on the brink of having the greatest feel-good story of all time in this sport. Forget the ‘haves’ vs. the ‘have-nots’. This is about someone who was smarter and more determined to have, not just a fast, but a winning car in 2009. Brawn is way out in front and everyone else is playing catch-up.
The March issue of F1 Racing magazine has its 2009 Season Preview. There is no mention of Brawn’s team. Last Sunday, his cars came in first and second in the Australian Grand Prix.