Jenson Button took his first pole position in three years at the Australian Grand Prix, as Brawn GP utterly dominated qualifying on its debut. Image Credit: BBC
The Wizard Of OZ - F1 Qualifying In Australia
World famous British businessman, Richard Branson, stepped up and threw his sponsorship muscle behind one of the more promising F1 ventures to come along in this era of slick tires and modified areodynamics.
Virgin Group has become the first major sponsor of the Formula 1, Mercedes-powered, Brawn GP team. It is not a title sponsorship deal and the team's official name will remain unchanged for now.
Branson, who had been linked with a takeover of the former Honda team recently, said that moves to cut costs in the sport and a push by the American Gevo company, in which Virgin is investing, to come up with a clean fuel for the sport were contributing reasons for his decision to jump into F1 team sponsorship.
"I am very, very excited to be here today," said Branson, who had flown direct from London after agreeing the deal. "A few weeks ago I said that there were two preconditions for us to get involved with F1.
One was that the costs of F1 should come down. It was just too expensive to get enough new entrants into the sport, and the second one was that F1 should be spear-heading a clean-fuel revolution.", said Bransom at the announcement ceremony at Albert Park, Melbourne, Australia.
Branson's pledge of sponsorship support was soon rewarded, in that, the two drivers that pilot the Mercedes-powered Brawn GP machines placed the cars in P1 and P2 during qualifying for the OZ Grand Prix event to be run tomorrow.
Jenson Button and Rubens Barrichello confirmed the pace showed previously in testing, with the Briton, Button securing pole position ahead of the Brazilian, Barrichello ... and with rival teams admitting Brawn GP's cars were simply out of reach.
The Brawn team raced as Honda last season but secured their survival with Mercedes engines only at the beginning of this month following Honda's decision to quit F1 because of the global financial crisis. From Saturday, the Virgin logo was added to the previously unbranded white cars - and a new colour scheme will be unveiled at next weekend's Malaysian Grand Prix. Image Credit: BBC
This excerpted and edited from autosport.com -
Button leads all-Brawn front row in Oz
By Matt Beer, autosport.com - Saturday, March 28th 2009, 07:03 GMT
Jenson Button took his first pole position in three years at the Australian Grand Prix, as Brawn GP utterly dominated qualifying on its debut.
Rubens Barrichello led Button in a Brawn one-two in both Q1 and Q2, with a clear margin over their rivals in each session.
But in the pole position shoot-out it was Button who emerged on top, beating Barrichello to first place by 0.305 seconds.
Button had taken provisional pole by half a second on his first run, before being briefly deposed by his teammate, but he was able to redress the balance moments later.
Although Brawn GP is effectively a renamed Honda operation, it is officially classed as a new team - which makes today's result the first time a new entrant has taken pole for its debut since the factory Mercedes-Benz team in the 1954 French GP.
The grid line-up was strikingly different to the previous season's form, with Red Bull and Williams among Brawn's main rivals, Ferrari near the foot of the top ten, and the McLarens 14th and 15th.
How the field sets up after penalties (the two Toyota cars that originally placed P6-Glock and P8-Trulli, will have to start from the back of the grid for having rear wing elements that were too flexible)
Melbourne results (BBC) -
Saturday, 28 March 2009
Position Country Driver Car number Team Qualifying time
1 great britain Jenson Button 22 Brawn-Mercedes 1:26.202
2 brazil Rubens Barrichello 23 Brawn-Mercedes 1:26.505
3 germany Sebastian Vettel 15 Red Bull-Renault 1:26.830
4 poland Robert Kubica 5 BMW Sauber 1:26.914
5 germany Nico Rosberg 16 Williams-Toyota 1:26.973
6 brazil Felipe Massa 3 Ferrari 1:27.033
7 finland Kimi Raikkonen 4 Ferrari 1:27.163
8 australia Mark Webber 14 Red Bull-Renault 1:27.246
9 germany Nick Heidfeld 6 BMW Sauber 1:25.504
10 spain Fernando Alonso 7 Renault 1:25.605
11 japan Kazuki Nakajima 17 Williams-Toyota 1:25.607
12 finland Heikki Kovalainen 2 McLaren-Mercedes 1:25.726
13 switzerland Sebastien Buemi 12 Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1:26.503
14 brazil Nelson Piquet Jr 8 Renault 1:26.598
15 italy Giancarlo Fisichella 21 Force India-Mercedes 1:26.677
16 germany Adrian Sutil 20 Force India-Mercedes 1:26.742
17 france Sebastien Bourdais 11 Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1:26.964
18 great britain Lewis Hamilton 1 McLaren-Mercedes
19 germany Timo Glock 10 Toyota
20 italy Jarno Trulli 9 Toyota
After this qualifying performance from Brawn GP, backed by the Virgin Group's timely sponsorship ... Richard Branson can now be called, for the moment, the Wizard of OZ.
... notes from The EDJE