Jenson Button, Brawn, Melbourne, 2009

Jenson Button leads Brawn GP 1-2

2009 Australian Grand Prix qualifying

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A few weeks ago we had never heard of Brawn GP. Now the team that rose from the dead has sensationally locked out the front row of the grid for the Australian Grand Prix.

[retrompubrawn01]Jenson Button took pole position – his first for three years – from Rubens Barrichello. Sebastien Vettel claimed third on the grid while Robert Kubica, fourth, demonstrated the KERS-free BMW is rather quicker than the KERS-enabled car of team mate Nick Heidfeld.

But Lewis Hamilton’s nightmares came true as the MP4-24 struggled not only for pace but also reliability – the car failing to get going at the start of Q2. He starts 15th.

Qualifying part one

Giancarlo Fisichella, Force India, Melbourne, 2009

Qualifying began with a hectic scrap for honours at the front of the field: Nico Rosberg, Kazuki Nakajima, Fernando Alonso and Rubens Barrichello all took turns at the top of the teimes. But it was Barrichello who stayed there, with a 1’25.816 pipping Rosberg by 0.031s.

Lewis Hamilton surprised by briefly going second fastest, though he used the super-soft tyres to achieve it while many others were using the medium tyres.

Ferrari revealed some pace with Felipe Massa stepping up to take second, then Kimi Raikkonen fourth having been quickest in the first two sectors but making a mistake in the final one. That left the Force Indias, Sebastien Bourdais, Heikki Kovalainen and, surprisingly, Jarno Trulli in the bottom five, facing the threat of being knocked out.

Mark Webebr sprung a late surprise by going fastest, largely thanks to a very neat and rapid final sector, pulling 0.4s clear of Barrichello. But the Brawn duo struck back – Barrichello posting a 1’25.006, 0.2s faster than his team mate.

Hamilton survived by a scant 0.049s, while Nelson Piquet Jnr was eliminated along with the Toro Rossos and Force Indias.

Drivers eliminated in Q1

16. Sebastien Buemi – 1’26.503
17. Nelson Piquet Jnr – 1’26.598
18. Giancarlo Fisichella – 1’26.677
19. Adrian Sutil – 1’26.742
20. Sebastien Bourdais – 1’26.964

Qualifying part two

Lewis Hamilton, McLaren, Melbourne, 2009

Any pleasure Hamilton may have got out of scraping into Q2 was extinguished when his MP4-24 suffered a drive train problem, leaving him stuck in the pits and rooted to 15th on the grid.

Once again the Brawns and Williams looked quick but now the Red Bulls were in the mix as well – Sebastian Vettel edged out Rosberg by 0.002s to go fastest. BMW too showed improvement with Robert Kubica briefly leaping up to third.

Heikki Kovalainen was able to do a lap in his McLaren but he was the slowest of the remaining runners leaving him 14th ahead of Hamilton.

Nakajima was half a second slower than team mate Rosberg which was the difference between fourth and 13th. Alonso was also eliminated, as was Heidfeld in the KERS-boosted BMW, while Kubica in the non-KERS car reached the final stage of qualifying.

Drivers eliminated in Q2

11. Nick Heidfeld – 1’25.504
12. Fernando Alonso – 1’25.605
13. Kazuki Nakajiam – 1’25.607
14. Heikki Kovalainen – 1’25.723
15. Lewis Hamilton – no time

Qualifying part three

Jenson Button, Brawn GP, Melbourne, 2009

The final session featured the Brawns, Ferraris, Toyotas, Red Bulls, Rosberg’s Williams and Kubica’s BMW.

Button was comfortably faster than Barrichello with his first lap, despite making a small mistake, suggesting the two were on different fuel loads. Even so, Rosberg was a whole second slower than Barrichello.

Rosberg was pegged back by the Red Bulls – Webber ahead of Vettel – and Kubica. The Ferraris, surprisingly, were ninth and tenth after the first round of laps.

Barrichello improved his time to take provisional pole with his final effort – but as he crossed the line Button was lighting up the first sector with a new best time, and one minute later he deposed Barrichello – and cemented a front row for Brawn GP.

Vettel grabbed third ahead of a surprisingly quick Kubica while Rosberg, the star of practice, was fifth. But the Ferraris of Massa and Raikkonen could manage no better than seventh and eighth.

As Brawn GP is officially classed as a new team, this is the first time a new team has taken pole position in its first race since Mercedes 55 years ago.

Top ten drivers in Q3

1. Jenson Button – 1’26.202
2. Rubens Barrichello – 1’26.505
3. Sebastian Vettel – 1’26.830
4. Robert Kubica – 1’26.914
5. Nico Rosberg – 1’26.973
6. Timo Glock – 1’26.975
7. Felipe Massa – 1’27.033
8. Jarno Trulli – 1’27.127
9. Kimi Raikkonen – 1’27.163
10. Mark Webber – 1’27.246

The weights for the ten cars in the top ten should be announced within the next two hours, giving us an idea of what fuel loads they are running.

Update: Starting grid and fuel weights published: Australian GP grid and race weights

Jenson Button, Rubens Barrichello, Sebastian Vettel, Melbourne, 2009

Author information

Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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170 comments on “Jenson Button leads Brawn GP 1-2”

  1. Brawn is going to make Albert Park their team playground tomorrow. My God, they’re quick!

  2. “But the Ferraris of Massa and Raikkonen could manage no better than seventh and eighth.”

    Raikkonen was 9th :)

    Brawn domination anyone?

    1. Fixed, thanks.

  3. Congrats to Brawn GP! Awesome Live Quali session and a great forecast for the race tomorrow! Truly exciting!

  4. red bull and kubica on a positive note.
    renault on a negative.

  5. GO BRAWN GO!!!

    ross brawn and richard branson will have f1 by the throat. they will be known as rosschard brawnson.

  6. We live in a very rural area and, as usual at this time of year, are surrounded by new born lambs. We always use them to predict the races. This morning, Jenson Mutton appears to have the edge over Rubens Baaarichello. Lewis Lambilton, however, is nowhere to be seen.

    1. Martin I don’t think you’re getting enough sleep :-)

    2. “Martin I don’t think you’re getting enough sleep”

      But he’s obviously getting plenty of sheep …

    3. Lambilton got runover by Heiferld.

    4. get a life buddy

  7. “Vettel grabbed third ahead of a surprisingly quick Kubica while Rosberg, the star of practice, was fifth. But the Ferraris of Massa and Raikkonen could manage no better than seventh and eighth.”

    even worse, seventh and ninth don’t you mean :D

  8. hitchcockm00
    28th March 2009, 7:25

    So, who’s gonna plough into the Brawns at the start tomorrow and ruin their weekend?

  9. when will we find out fuel levels

  10. I am very excited about these results! however im sure webber could have a done better, unless Vettel truly is the next schuey.

    1. What happened to Webber? He was looking good until those final runs at the end.

    2. It did sound like he did some mistake in his last lap. He was the only driver not to improve at the end (which by the way makes Ferrari looking even worse).

  11. The lap record for Albert Park is a 1:24.125 by Schumacher in 04′ of course, but Barichello got 1:24.783 in Q2, holy crap!!

  12. F#$% GREAT !!! GO BRAWN !!!!

  13. Mouse_Nightshirt
    28th March 2009, 7:30

    Button on POLE!

    Great news! Infact, best news I’ve heard in 2009.

    Looking at how that qualy went, these changes were some of the best things to happen to F1 in years. F1 is great and anyone who disagrees is STUPID!!! :D

  14. Great to see Jenson and especially Rubens do well. With all that rubbish about Bruno Senna, Rubens kept his head down, stayed focused and even dropped a few kilos to boot!

    Should be a great race tomorrow, lots of unknowns, particularly if KERS will provide an advantage over race stints as it failed to prove advantageous through qualifying.

    1. My money’s on Barrichello having at least two laps’ more fuel than Button. (With my usual sigh of disinterest at how the fuel loads spoil qualifying.)

  15. Mouse_Nightshirt
    28th March 2009, 7:31

    And now that my excitement is out, a more intelligent musing.

    I’m very pleasantly surprised to see the field so locked together (with the possible exception of Brawn, we shall see when the fuel comes out). 4 or 5 drivers within each tenth should create some fantastic racing, especially if the new aero changes work as intended.

    This is shaping up to a fantastic season. I’m already wishing it was tomorrow!

  16. Mclaren will win

    1. Good ironic username there!

  17. I know that James Allen wasn’t the most popular commentator while he was at it, but I never had a problem with his style. On the other hand, Legard sounds like he’s at the races for the first time. Someone needs to hand him a pill and tell him to relax and let Brundle lead.

    As for quali, well when was the last time we saw an outcome like this? Absolutely exciting and if it’s the shape of things to come, we’re in for a very exciting season. i would never count McLaren out, and I’m sure they will claw back some pace, but Brawn will be the talk of the town for some time to come. Did Honda panic, or did Ross orchestrate this scenario from the beginning? He’s one of the sharpest tool in the F1 shed, so I wouldn’t put anything beyond him. And he also has no compunctions about pushing the envelope around what’s considered “right” to do.

    Does anyone know how much input Brawn has on the actual design of the car?

    1. hitchcockm00
      28th March 2009, 7:41

      Agreed about Legard. I didn’t like Allen but Legard seems to have all the bad qualities of Allen and also doesn’t let Brundle speak.
      Especially when Button was driving his pole lap. There were still about 4 cars to cross the line before Button yet whenever Martin tried to tell us who was slotting into 3rd and 4th, Legard was interrupting him saying “yes, but look at Button!” despite the fact that we couldn’t see him and the fight for the other positions was more exciting.

      I hope he can get his excitement under control for the race.

    2. No idea why people are criticising Legard. He told me what was happening, he didn’t get on my nerves. No complaints here.

    3. Mouse_Nightshirt
      28th March 2009, 8:11

      I thought Legard was pretty good, he did cut in a few times, plus you can tell he’s a radio commentator, but on the whole, I think he gets a thumbs up.

  18. What a fantastic qualifying session! Brawn GP are blindingly quick. I think I may have to install a Ross Brawn shrine in my lounge! Eddie Jordan said it well when he likened it to a fairy tale. It’s great to see Button on pole too.

    Fantastic result for Vettel and Red Bull who I think have surpassed expectations this morning.

    Slightly disappointed with Ferrari in Q3, I’ve got my fingers crossed that their race pace is considerably stronger.

    Thus far, I really like the new fangled commentary team, particularly the ‘pairing’ of DC and Eddie. Both have strong opinions and both are not afraid to argue their point, should make for some great entertainment!

    1. Legard was good, and i think it was gracious of Brundle to stand back and let him get stuck in on his first day.

  19. this must be the best week of barrichellos life!

  20. what a story for Brawn GP

    Will be rooting for Vettel even though he has got no chance!

  21. Pleased for Brawn, especially Barichello. Year off for McLaren I fear. But never mind you can’t win them all.

  22. ‘F1 is great and anyone who disagrees is STUPID!!!’

    Mouse_Nightshirt, couldn’t agree more!! :-)

    1. Mouse_Nightshirt
      28th March 2009, 8:12

      I get a bit OTT when it comes to the first race of the season, excuse the outburst :)

  23. thank god brawn gp don’t hired bruno senna, he just talk big. it is really amazing what brawn gp can do. maybe some people complaining about theirs diffuser,but it they are jealous!!!

  24. my observations:
    1) four of the top five qualifiers are from privateer teams (RB, Williams and Brawn). Which is good. I was getting tired of the Macca-Ferrari dominance.
    2) the most talented designers have the fastest cars. Ross Brawn and Adrian Newey designed cars make up the top three. Does this mean that money power is less important and raw talent determines speed? I certainly hope this trend holds up for the remainder of the season.

  25. kieth, didnt the F1 publicity rule mean that you can see the cars fuel loads??

    1. “The weights for the ten cars in the top ten should be announced within the next two hours, giving us an idea of what fuel loads they are running.”

  26. Delightful result. Really good to see Button and Hamilton swap places after the former has had things so difficult whilst the latter so easy. It will do both of them a lot of good.

  27. Anyone believe barrichello’s a lot heavier than button? Aren’t we supposed to be shown the fuel strategies??

    It’s quite sad that ferrari and mclaren seem to be off the pace.. i’d bet on ferrari at least catching up and overtaking brawn within a few races though.

  28. Oh right, just read your post keith…

  29. Quite an exciting session! I like seeing the shake-up.

    I bet there are a whole lot of engineers working on new diffusers right now!

    1. I’m surprised McLaren and Ferrari did not build and bring along a pair of these double decker diffusers and just keep them in the back of their trucks just in case the FIA ruled they were okay. Next weekend they will have tripple layer diffusers!!

  30. Anyone having the same thoughts – that KERS is actually not giving a performance advantage? ;-) … and actually, doing the opposite? ;-)

    1. Looking at Kubica and Heidfeld it’s hard to avoid that conclusion.

    2. I suggest to wait for diffuser issue to be solved. I think it’s diffusers that make the difference.

      When it comes to KERS, teams will improve and improve in using KERS by using it. It’s still early days to judge KERS. It will surely give an edge when teams get superior onto the device, which will likely happen in the middle of European races.

  31. b for vendetta: brawn, button, barichello, and branson, f’n awesome.

    i’d sure hate to be the fool in honda who pulled the trigger on sponsoring this team. corporate ineptitude ftw?

    1. …and Bob Kubica.

      Good to see a breath of frsh air on the starting grid. BrawnGP rules apparently, but I must say I’m much relieved by Kubica’s performance. I thought it’d be worse than 4th…
      Can’t wait for the race. I feel like kid juts before he opens the christamss gift.
      F1 is the greatest motorsport of all.

    2. I think those criticising Honda’s poor timing in terms of pulling out have to remember that the Brawn is running a Merc engine. By all accounts, the Merc engine is much better than the lump Honda would have had in the car this year. With Honda power the car would have been quick, no doubt, but not as devastating as it appears to be with the Merc lump.

      Here’s hoping Merc and (Mc) are happy to keep suppling Brawn with proper engines for the WHOLE season. The temptation to turn the wick down to save McLaren’s blushes will no doubt build over the season.

  32. happy for button & rubens but kimi……:-(

  33. What a qualifying session. Great result for Brawn. But their tale can easily make a Bollywood superhit movie. Perfect underdog-coming-out-on-top story.

    Keith, when was the last time that Ferrari, Renault, Mclaren or BMW did not make it to the top 3.

    Unless Rubens and Jenson take each other’s front wings out tomorrow; I am switching off the television after the first corner.

  34. i hope brawn can keep this up

  35. Can’t imagine the big teams running KERS if it was a disadvantage.

    The big question is how well KERS will work for overtaking. The cars were rather close in Q2, so if KERS actually gives the boost intended the Ferraris could do some serious damage at the start and in the race tomorrow.

  36. *crosses fingers, hopes for a ferrari assault tomorrow*

  37. StrFerrari4Ever
    28th March 2009, 8:12

    all i can say is Brawn Effing GP good to see that they are there Keith that time when you put that story of them launching at silverstone everyone was saying they’ll struggle i think i was one of the select few to say they will be up there and well my beloved Toro Rosso arent in tune with the car yet but Vettel :D come on you gotta hand it to that guy he is sensational i hope the race will be tight and exciting or even more exciting than the qualifying session was that was Adrenaline filled Hamilton haha lets see what you got mate :)

  38. i am at school in america can someone tell where to watch the race live. we dont get speed channel in the dorm and i cant really go somewhere because its 4:15am

  39. sultry, go download tvu player. I’m assuming your internet isn’t volume limited. Install that, then load up a channel called star sports. It shows the races live. Qualifying too. I study at u waterloo, so I use this whenever I don’t have access to a tv.

  40. thanks hammad i will try that out

  41. There must be absolute consternation at McLaren, thirteen places behind the Brawns with the same Mercedes engine. I bet there is a lot of finger-pointing going on there right now.

    Mark Webber, seven places behind his teammate in his home Grand Prix, needs to drink more Red Bull. At least he has a broken leg to blame his lack of performance on.

    Nick Heidfeld is also seven places off the pace behind teammate Kubica’s BMW Sauber. He doesn’t have the excuse of a broken leg. He’ll have to pedal faster.

    I don’t think we expected Nakajima in the Williams to match his teammate Rosberg, but eight places is a bit much to fall behind.

    New boy Buemi, qualifying four places better than teammate Bourdais in the Toro Rosso, must be pretty happy, though.

    1. Don’t forget Piquet. I don’t think he will be able to finish the season in Renault. He might be changed with, err let’s say Bruno Senna?

    2. Oh come on, you discount Webber on one (possible) “poor” lap?

      Webber had the better of Vettel in all free practice sessions and in Q1. In Q2 he was .03s off Vettel. I’m guessing he’s on high fuel (2secs between Q2 and Q3 while the rest is on 1.7. with only Button on 1.3s) or he made a mistake. Otherwise it doesn’t make sense why he wasn’t closer to or in front of Vettel.

      Not sure what happened with Heidfeld. Kubica and Heidfeld were matched for pace in all free practice sessions. Maybe Heidfeld made some setup changes that didn’t turn out well? Or maybe Kubica changed something that did work.

      Piquet is simply on his way out. Although the team had him do long stints all weekend. He hasn’t done much short stints.

  42. In today’s racing all trick comes down to aerodynamic package as engines are more or less at the same level due to homologation. Not even KERS or superior engine make any difference for an aerodynamically capped car, as we can see McLaren and Brawn examples.

    Ex-Honda team has made a highly sculptered and engineered chassis which is giving them a mile edge over their rivals.

    Ferrari, BMW and McLaren are likely to update their aerodynamics according to Brawn’s as soon as they arrive Europe or whenever they think it is the time to move, whichever the early. Brawn must take as much as points in these opening races to pursue thir title charge.

  43. what a glorious time to be a f1 fan :D

  44. What a qualifying session, great to see the field so close, I just wish BBC wouldn’t have Eddie Jordan as part of the build up, he’s so annoying, I think Coulthard thinks the same!

  45. they said 2009 would bunch everyone up. It has but i didnt expect it to bunch up that much, Ferrari will now be trying to win, not just go out and win. Same goes for Mclaren.
    Well done to brawn team, good one two grid start for there first race.
    Have they done testing in the wet with these new cars? if they dont have alot of grip in dry wonder what its going to be like in the wet :)


  47. Now, how much difference those “wrong” diffusers do I wonder, and how fast Brown & Williams would be with “normal” diff.? Is it only their diff. that makes Brown so fast?
    KERS – they should get rid of that or force everyone to use it – it would be more fair, as its clear cars without it are faster…

  48. Just woken up and read the news (Friday night is always a bit rowdy for me, so I’m being very quiet this morning).
    What a result for Brawn GP, and what turn around for the field in general. JB and Reubens from the back of the grid to the front and Hamilton going the opposite direction. I’m very much looking forward to hearing other teams at the front apart from Ferrari and McLaren, so I do hope this continues all throught the season.
    Yesterday I found a BBC website that allowed me to view on demand the entire fist and second practice sessions with commentary from 5-Live. But now, I can’t remember where I found it. Does anyone know?

  49. schumi the greatest
    28th March 2009, 9:11

    hahahah at martin bell baaaaaarichello and mutton on the front row. haha

    Mad qualifying session hard to keep up everytime someone went out the order was changing as martin brunfle put it “a fruit machine”. hard to draw any real conclusions to the pecking order, obviously brawn are fastest and look to be a maybe half a second a lap quicker than everyone else but afer that its hard. vettel 3rd for red bull but webber is 10th. kubica 4th for bmw but heidfeld is 13th. ferrari struggling aswell.

    also id say the oz gp isnt usually the best reflection on everyones true pace. williams looked strong there last year aswell but after that they didnt really figure atall. Also ferrari struggled last year but then won in malaysia pretty comfortably. being a street track alot of the qualifying depends on the timing of the lap as the track gets quicker and quicker over the weekend so if alonso hadnt made a mistake on the penultimate corner he probably would have made q3.

    i think the only thing we can be certain of is that brawn have the best car and this season should be the best chance for button and barrichello to claim a drivers tittle.

  50. Couldn’t disagree more, Theo

    Eddie Jordan can be irritating, but he’s extremely well
    informed, knows everybody who is anybody in F1 personnaly, isn’t afraid to ruffle pompous idiots feathers and if you really listen to him you gain loads of insight into what’s going on that joe public never sees.

    I think the personnel this year are brilliant and far and away better than ITV’s set up.

    Just think they should interview Keith more often !

  51. Its over 2 hours since qualifying and I cant find any information on the weight of cars which they promised under the new proposals.

    Also annoyed that they don’t show that little graphic when they have an on-board shot of a driver. Things like revs, gear, brake, KERS. I believe it was only shown once during the whole qualifying on Kimi’s car.

    FOM is such a letdown

    1. Varun Murthy
      28th March 2009, 9:55

      I cant agree more.. Ive been searching for the fuel loads for sometime now and not been able to find it..

    2. Mouse_Nightshirt
      28th March 2009, 10:02

      I’ve been sitting here on 3 hours sleep waiting for the info…

      Bernie needs to pull his finger out.

      That said, it’s a blessing we now get that info.

    3. Why would you want to find out the fuel loads?

    4. Why would you want to find out the fuel loads?

      In order to find out the sheer pace of teams.

  52. Awesome awesome result! Probably the first time everyone here is cheering for the front-row starters! :D

    Makes me happy too, go Brawn! Get a 1-2 :)

  53. StrFerrari4Ever
    28th March 2009, 10:06

    UPDATE : Hamilton is dropped to P20 for a gearbox change adds to Mclarens problems

  54. Hamilton to start 20th after gearbox penalty

  55. OMG, guys, do you think we are seeing 1988/2004 all over again???

    And just look at the drivers who have been the biggest favourites to win the WDC – well, at least before this year’s testing began:
    15th Hamilton
    12th Alonso
    9th Raikonnen
    7th Massa
    4th Kubica

    Their qualifying positions give 9.4 on average. Wow.

    And if those results were the results of the race, then the constructors champ. would look like this:
    1. Brawn GP – 18 pts
    2. Red Bull – 6 pts
    3. BMW Sauber – 5 pts
    4. Williams – 4 pts
    -. Toyota – 4 pts
    6. Ferrari – 2 pts

    1. Well, there is a trend you’ll notice there.

      Hamilton, Alonso, Raikonnen, and Massa are all running KERS.

      Kubica isn’t, and he was much quicker that the rest of those drivers.

      Leaving aside the diffuser issue, one characteristic all the cars in the top-10 aside from the Ferraris share is that they are all non-KERS cars.

      The lesson here is clear: don’t run KERS until you have to if you want to be quick this year. In other words, don’t run it this season if performance now is your goal. Adrian Newey nailed it spot on. With the reintroduction of slick tires, you want to shift weight forward to generate more grip from the front tires and better steering response. KERS would completely undermine this, as it puts a load of weight in the middle-rear of the car. Sure, you might get a power boost on corner exit, but you lose speed on corner exit due to understeer on entry through apex from not generating enough front-end grip.

      On the other hand, the drivers who gain experience in playing with KERS this season will have a leg up for next season. But in any event, I would not expect to see McLaren, Renault, Ferrari, or the KERS half of BMW (Heidfeld) challenging in at least the first few GPs until they can figure out how to fix the weight distribution problem.

      On the other hand, if there’s a wet race, McLaren, Ferrari, Renault, and Heidfeld will be golden.

  56. There’s only one way to fix the Legard issue….

    Bring back this man from the dead:

    1. Lol! Nice find.

  57. with overtaking much easier we’ll wait and see and a much unpredictable race could, could hamilton and kovi overtake there way up to the front.

    1. To overtake a car, Hamilton still needs to be faster than the car in front though …

  58. Both Toyota drivers disqualyfied for using flexible wings, they will allowed to start from the back of the grid if they replace them with stiffer according to rules wings.

    1. Wow. Epic fail, Toyota. And they were one of the “Diffuser Three” teamswho were looking strong.

      On the other hand, that was a truly boneheaded attempt to sneak one by the stewards. Flexible wing components? Are you kidding me?

    2. I expected Ferrari to be penalised for these very flexible wings which are connected to the mirrors, they seemed too flexible in the onboard camera

    3. The mirrors were definitely vibrating a lot,but i think that that was happening on a couple of other cars as well..

      If ferrari are pushed down to the bottom,its going to be a ripper of a race tomorrow..

  59. Bigbadderboom
    28th March 2009, 10:54

    Awesome!!! Talk about a shake up!

    Good luck to Jenson and Rubens hope their pace is matched by the cars reliability.

    Great pairing of DC and Eddie J, I can see that getting interesting.

    Also good to see a live test of the new telemetry graphics including KERS (For those complaining it was never supposed to be ready for melbourn)

    Still no weights yet (I’d rather not know but if they are going to promise these things they should deliver)

    Excellent pace from Webber all things considering (Injuries)

    I can’t see many McLaren engineers/mechanics getting sleep tonight, they will all be working on McLaren N.O 1. Strategic retirement from Quali I don’t think there was much wrong with the car. They wanted more time with it, chin up Lewis.

    Good show from Alonso poor show Piquet.

    I cannot wait till the morning I think its goingto be a truelly entertaining race.

    1. Dude, Lewis is starting at the back because of a gearbox failure and replacement.

      Check that; he’ll be starting 18th, now that the Yotas have been found with flexible wing components.

  60. Also Ferrari and Red bull appealed against Williams. The reason for this is yet to be cleared!

  61. @eddie irvine

    pitpass is reporting that it is the other way around: “we also hear from sources in the Melbourne paddock that Williams is protesting Ferrari and Red Bull”


    1. My source is these It’s in greek though, however I translated the exact words from greeks to english.

      I hope you are right though, I am a hardcore williams fan:)

    2. Yeah you were absolutely right, it’s now fixed in my site too, thanks

  62. What a fantastic quali session. I’m so happy for Ross and the team! Roll on race day!!

  63. wow! We got gearbox penalty, wing penalty and protests.

    We don’t have fuel loads ;-)

  64. Massa the loser
    28th March 2009, 11:27

    So first thing massa does is bitch about how Brawn GP will win the title by June and ‘hint’ at measures to slow them down

    While Hamilton heartily congratulates Button and promises fans he will try to mount a fight from the back of the grid.

    FIA rushing in to help Ferrari anyone? (followed by Massa claiming all his wins are legitimate, ya right u forgot Belgian in 2008 my fren haven u?),18954,3213_5110630,00.html,18954,3213_5110713,00.html

  65. Why are people so hopeful that Ferrari or even McLaren will do well?

    Even Luca Balidsserri claims that he doesn’t understand why they didn do as well in Q2 as they did in Q3 and sort of blames it on their fuel load. Message to Balidsserri, you did worse in Q2 (9th and 10th) than in Q3 (7th and 9th)!

  66. I don’t know where they get it from (can’t see it on or , but you will find the weights at:

    1. This can’t be right…why Alnso’s and heiki’s car to be overweight, they didn’t make it into Q3

  67. All I can say is wow, we knew it was hard to predict but I didn’t think the Ferrari’s would be so far back.

    Aparently Williams are protesting winglets on Ferrari and Redbull.

  68. 1. Lewis Hamilton 655

    2. Heiki Kovalainen 690,6

    3. Felipe Massa 654

    4. Kimi Raikkonen 655,5

    5. Robert Kubica 650

    6. Nick Heidfeld 691

    7. Fernando Alonso 680,7

    8. Nelson Piquet 694,1

    9. Jarno Trulli 660

    10. Timo Glock 670

    11. Sebastien Bourdais 662,5

    12. Sebastien Buemi 675,6

    14. Mark Webber 662

    15. Sebastian Vettel 657

    16. Nico Rosberg 657

    17. Kazuki Nakajima 612,5

    20. Adrian Sutil 684,5

    21. Giancarlo Fisichella 689

    22. Jenson Button 664

    23. Rubens Barrichello 666,5

  69. Toby Thwaites 93
    28th March 2009, 11:39

    God that was intense, Kubica has had horrible practices and managed to get himself above every ferrari and mclaren (even without KERS). Im very pleased :) and i wonder whilst the two Brawns fight for first place going into the first corner, Kubica as always will sneak past :)
    anyway great job by Brawn GP and good luck to button
    More luck to Kubica :)

  70. lol thought you were going to leave me hanging for a sec mike :)

  71. the Sri lankan
    28th March 2009, 11:45

    Both Toyota’s demoted to the back of the grid…


    there goes my Toyota Dream! first a god damn Brawn, then tire issues now at the back of the grid! Dont think there will be any positives for Toyota unless Williams make it to the podium…. *Sigh*………

  72. Any Sign Off The Weight?

    Its More Than 2 Hours After.

  73. @ R1
    What are those numbers?

  74. Of the ten cars who ran in Q3, only Timo Glock had a heavier car than Brawn. WOW

    1. Those numbers by r1 are the weights (fuel loads of the cars)

  75. Looks like Kubica only qualified where he did from having a light car.

  76. Can i just say that the BBC coverage so far is absolutely fantastic, the red button is brilliant and EJ and DC seem to work very well together!

  77. @ Wen
    Ok, so I know these are weights. But from which part of the qualifying session? The first one?
    They are refueling for Q3, so Kubica might have been heavier in Q3 in comparison to others that here.

    1. @ Damon

      The weights would be the starting weights of the cars tomorrow I presume. since all cars are allowed to run at minimum weight at q1 and q2 and the top ten qualifiers had to run with race fuel already in it in Q3, you can deduce who had the heavier car in Q3. The rest just fueled the car according to the strategy they want to use for tomorrow.

  78. Minimum car weight is 605kg but I am not sure how much over they laden the cars before fuel.

    BTW the FIA published the Nakajima weight above wrong it’s apparently 680.5kg not 612.5kg.

  79. Both the Toyota cars got thrown out of qualifying due to their use of flexible rear wing elements.. which is apparently against the regulations and so theyll start the race behind Hamilton at the back of the grid..

  80. Fuel loads – looks very good for Brawn!

  81. Ok I am back from Melbourne and I am not sure if my head, ears, eyes or feet hurts most. It was a lot of walking, talking and in some part even saw some cars on track lol.

    Most intresting part was walk in paddock and see what happens just few min before qualification. Well I can tell now that tomorrow i will go to mens toilet 10 min before race because it seems to be place where all people are.

    Brawn on toilet 15 min before quali, Nico not so much after that, Kimi 6 min before quali and Schumacher followed 1 min later :O.

    I took some pics (not from toilet) but Massa was too small and fast. Honestly i have to say that i was supprise for size of drivers. It seems that Kubica and Webber are only normal size driver lol.

    I can send some pics if Keith will tell me where to post them. But remember that I am not photographer so they are not 100 % quality.

    1. Haha yes. Toilets are like a magnet to Fq drivers. I was in Monaco on a stand in teh harbor facing the back of the (then) pitlane. There were toilets on the second level of the pitlane building. I never saw so many drivers as during that session. Schumacher even went to the toilet at least 3 times.

    2. Terry Fabulous
      29th March 2009, 3:56

      I’m very jealous of you Snoopy! Hope you had a great day!

  82. its funny that all this hype could have been around honda, i bet the CEO is making a post on FML as we speak.

  83. Williams have protested the aerodynamics of ferrari and red bull!

  84. Good article on fuel loads and how the pit stops should go tomorrow

  85. I knew I should’ve plaed my bets on Brawn when I had the chance.

    Good on the boys from Brackley – although the effort we’ve just seen was the remnants of Honda’s departure, they wouldn’t have done it without Brawn in the first place. I’m a Ferrari fan, and I think this serves them right for refusing Brawn a position he so richly deserved (first refusal on a guy like Brawn, come on) – but at the same time, understand they want to make/keep the team Italian.

    One of the best Qualys ever, was completely gripped throughout – and to think I almost didn’t wake up for it!

    Also a good job by the Beeb, can’t say I have any complaints about Legard, though I think I prefer Croft. Think Coulthard seems like a different person now, he doesn’t seem that lively, but I reckon give it time. All in all a good job done :D

  86. so KERS is useless?!? nice one max.

    1. I can see one/both the ferraris using their KERS to leapfrogg Rosberg off the line tomorrow morning.

      Imo, KERS’ main function is in the race and not for one lap speed…

  87. Here are a couple of thoughts so far;

    First of well done to BrawnGP!

    It is clear the big teams have suffered from concentrating too much on last year. It is also clear that the KERS team have lost out again by concentrating too much on KERS.

    On the point of KERS i think it has the potential to be far better in the race the Maccas could start a KERS charge. Getting them to 8/9th although in reality that is unlikely. However with Hamilitons low fuel load car around a load of heavy cars. KERS could be very useful to him.

    Toyota – how can they possably sort out there wings to conform to the rules by tommrow. (I am assuming they need new wings to be made or they will have to make a big tempoary job which will effect performance) And if they can’t is there any point them starting tommrow seeing as they will be disqualified after the race.

    And should the Williams protest be upheld (it seems very unlikely to me) but that puts another 4 cars that effectivly need new parts to be made in European factories and then sent out to Austrialia in a mere 14 hours (really easy considering the 24 hour flight)

    So just an average qualifing then really!!!!

    1. re: Toyotas, from “We intend to modify the components overnight and we are confident these modifications will not result in any performance drop.”
      If it’s wing’s flexing together, surely they can put spacers or something to keep them apart?

      Hamilton really needs to get past both the heavy Fi’s ahead of him, maybe even Piquet…
      Let’s just hope he can keep his head and do it smartly..

  88. Looking at the car weights, I see Nick’s BMW is 41 kg heavier than Kubica’s. That’s not just the KERS weight is it? Nick must be running a lot more fuel that Kubica, mustn’t he?

    1. Both of their cars will weigh 605kg when empty, KERS or not.
      So yeah Nick has much more fuel, mainly because he could choose any fuel load.

  89. when is KERS going to show that it has some advantages?

    is it the track layout? 6.7 seconds of boost – dont you use it on the straights?

    1. From what Alonso and Hamilton have said in interview, and the one shot of KERS use we saw from Raikkonen, looks like they are using for 1-2s out of specific corners to get better acceleration.
      I think team engineers will have calculated the “best” spots to use KERS boosts to optimise laptimes, and passed this information on to the drivers.

  90. It was truely a great session. With the drivers so close to each other. The great thing about albert park circuit is that it’s more of the driver who makes the pace and not the car. Perhaps in Malaysia we might see a bigger gap since that track relies on the car’s design. Who ever has a good design will excell well on that track. And I think the brawn cars will still be on pole on that track.

    Have you heard about Toyota Team being stripped out of the qualifying due to too much flexing of the rear wings? That means Kimi moves up to 7th!

  91. Heard Williams is protesting Ferrari’s and Toyota’s aero package in Melbourne?? WHats that all about?

    1. They have dropped there protest now.

  92. Great for Ross Braun & Button!! Great for F1 also. Please look Barrichello … are the faster, so looking forward for an exciting race and season.

  93. @ todd
    You’re right, Brawn is taking all the credit for Honda’s great work building that car.
    This would’ve been such a great promotion for Honda. And it seems the media are neglecting the fact that the car is not a “new team’s brand new car”, but Honda’s masterpiece that took (more than) a year to build.

    1. mmm.. yeah, I know how many times in the past honda had worked hard and built a masterpiece like this, …….
      Ross Brawn has been clearly the force behind the success and so the team boasts it. Why shouldn’t they?? I’m happy for them..Finally Jenson in a great car..

  94. Haven’t read all the posts here (there are 140plus), but has anyone mentioned that Toyota have been excluded after scrutineering for the wings flexing? They’ll start last behind Hamilton.

  95. Why was the willaims’ protest against Ferrari and Toyotas anyway?

  96. Ok iv been reading all these comments while theve been coming through.
    Now iv came to realise WHY DID NOBODY PROTEST OR SAY SOMETHING BEFORE THE QUALIFYING? or during the practices.
    I was hopeing in 2009 there would be no protesting or arguments but then again it is first race.

    What i think should happen is to destroy the KERS idea or make EVERYONE use kers. Personally i think they would get on better without it

  97. The look of joy and confidence on Button’s face before training even began said everything: after years of frustration, a bewilderingly unexpected chance to head the field. Fantastic! I do think this will be for just 3 or 4 races before Ferrari take the front, but if he, Barrichello, Williams, BMW and Toyota can maximize their points now, they can make a real fight of it. The only question will be if they will take points of each other rather than, say, Braun, finishing 1-2 regularly tomorrow and over the next few races. Whatever the case, should be fun!

  98. Last time there was a rule change of this scale with car design so significantly different to the previous season, 1998, we had two teams that really took a lead, and who remained in that position all the way through to last season. The teams were of course McLaren and Ferrari, and the designers of those cars were Adrian Newey and Ross Brawn respectively. Since then the cars which were effectively developments of those two original 1998 cars have been consistently in the same position.

    2009. Major rule change again. Brawn GP and Red Bull seemingly have the edge thus far. Ross Brawn, Adrian Newey, as before.

    Coincidence? We’ll have to wait and see what the future holds.

    Is it really the top teams? Or maybe it’s just the top designers?

    1. Great comment.

  99. i think jenson button is the greatest ever and will be at least a 7 time world champion..

    1. Lol. They actually did say that when he entered F1 didn’t they?

      Actually, he first needs to beat Barrichello. Button was lucky that he ended up in front of Barrichello in qualifying in Q3.

  100. I don’t think anyone commented on this, but I can’t help wondering what would have happened if Adrian Newey had gotten the correct answer when they inquired about the “alternative” diffuser interpretation.

    Apparently they asked wether the diffuser desing was allowed and were told that it wasn’t. So they went with the regular diffuser layout and I can understand their anger that they feel misled by FIA.

    1. Really? I hadn’t heard that. Wouldn’t surprise me though…

    2. Oh, maybe I’m confused then. There was someone really upset that they asked permission and were turned down and now others have it.

      Not sure what they asked permisson for either of course. Maybe it wasn’t for the double decker diffuser, but just for incorporating the crash structure into the diffuser (which is more apparent).

  101. Well BrawnGP, Williams, and Toyota sure have made the rest of the teams look like suckers with their sweet large flow diffusers. All 3 of those teams are racing way ahead of where they should be due to the diffusers.

    Plus if I was running KERS…i’d have my crew working around the clock to take it off my cars and use ballast to perfect the balance like BrawnGP has done.

    Only fools will run KERS for the rest of the season.

    Also, Hamilton should just let his brother race the car this season and just take a sabbatical. The MP4-24 is a piece of junk. McLaren should just dump those things in the English Channel on the way back from all these fly-aways.

    1. hahahaah. i for one look forward to seeing Hamilton where Button was last year…we’ll see how long the plaudits last for Hamilton this season if he’s replaced as ‘no 1’ british driver…

  102. Mallya might have made a fortune if he had waited one more before buying spyker to buy ‘the team formerly known as Honda’.

    1. and kudos to the Virgin Brawn!

  103. What a fantastic start to the new F1 season.
    A month or so ago, who would have predicted that Jenson Button would even be on the grid this year, let alone having a pole position for the 1st race
    Fantastic acheivement from Brawn GP

  104. well we’ll see how long BrawnGP stays competitive after the other teams get large air flow diffusers on their car.

    I suspect they will begin to slide down the field as the season progresses, and richard branson won’t have that smug grin on his face anymore.

    just throwing it out there…who do you think will be the first team to take KERS off their cars? I’m guessing McLaren.

  105. Keith and all,

    I think this quals as a cindarella story. I mean from a team non competitive to no team to a buy out and a new engine and car and now a 1-2 qual with the look of a 1-2 on the race (as long as the car holds out) and we have the same drivers. I quess that proves it was not the drivers that were the problem.

    1. True, but the Brawn car has been in development ever since Honda gave up on the 08 season since their 08 car was such a dud.

      Brawn’s brains, Honda’s $$$, nearly a year of development, superior diffuser, and no KERS. I would expect a quality car.

    2. It’s a little bit of a Cincerella story, but like Allie says it’s Honda’s money that got them where they are.

      What I want to know is what were the discussions at the team like when Honda were preparing to sell? Was Brawn stood there trying to convince them they had a winning car on their hands but they wouldn’t listen?

    3. Keith,

      Good question. I would have liked to have been a fly on the wall at Honda when the discussions were taking place.

      Of course, if Brawn was trying to convince them that they had a winning/competitive car for ’09, he had no chance against the backdrop of their ’08 season, the global financial meltdown, and the collapse of Honda’s global auto sales.

  106. @ Keith
    . . . or was he politely keeping his mouth shut, thinking “we could take this car to new owners or a new team and really clean up.”

  107. Ross is the best chess player out there. Someone suggested he is reaping the hard work of Honda engineers, but that’s just silly.

    Honda inherited a handful of engineers from Super Aguri, from which they had brought the idea of the alternative diffuser. Proof that small and smart can be better than big and rich. Some of the engineers worked on the 2009 car, and so it has the diffuser, and the rest worked on the old car. All of this was overseen and guided by Ross Brawn.

    I think It wouldn’t be too far of a stretch to say that Brawn may not have put too much energy into encouraging Honda to stay, knowing as he did that he had a potential winner on his hands. Of course, we don’t know the details. Honda may have a clause that allows them to buy back in, but that would have to mean continuing to develop an engine, since they would never use the Merc lump.

  108. brauns smarter than your average brain surgeon and rocket scientist put together,he was stuck with a pig of a car last year and how demoralising must it have been for jensen and rubens having to drive a car that wasn’t as quick as their hire car.Ross saw potential otherwise he wouldn’t have gone there,now he and the drivers especialy should wallow in their new found potential to cut it with the big spenders.Just remember, good drivers are always quick given the right car.As good as alonso and hamilton are and schuey was you can only drive a bad handling car quickly in a straight line, you drive it quickly round corners and you drive it into the tyres.I just hope it lasts for more than one race.

  109. Terry Fabulous
    29th March 2009, 4:00

    Did anyone read the press conference???

    Q: (Dan Knutson – National Speed Sport News) I have already asked Jenson this question in Thursday’s press conference, so this is to Rubens and Sebastian. With all the rule changes this year, do you think we will see more overtaking, not only in tomorrow’s race but throughout the season?
    RB: I think so, I think that there are some teams with KERS and some others without it, so you’re going to see some overtaking because of that. You might see more overtaking on a proper track, you will see overtaking on this road circuit but it’s because of people making mistakes. You always do see overtaking here in Melbourne anyway, with the visibility being a problem and so on, I think the race is going to be quite a good one. Plus, the wings help. They don’t fix the problem but the moveable wings help, so that could help overtaking too.

    SV: I know I’m small but I was also in Thursday’s press conference, next to Jenson!

    RB: That was the best answer so far!

    SV: You’d better be quiet, you’re even smaller!

    RB: No, no, you’re answer was the best answer so far. – I gave him a compliment – ******* German! (laughter)

    SV: But to come to Australia, I think it’s a very difficult circuit to overtake on, so it will be interesting tomorrow, but I think it still remains difficult.


    go Jenson……. Go

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