Loïc Bigois (Aerodynamicist)
|Chassis||Moulded carbon fibre and honeycomb composite monocoque.|
|Suspension (front)||Wishbone and pushrod activated torsion springs and rockers.|
|Suspension (rear)||As front|
|Engine||Mercedes-Benz FO108W 2.4 L (~146 cu in) V8, naturally-aspirated, mid-mounted.|
|Transmission||Brawn GP, 7 forward gears + 1 reverse, semi-automatic.|
|Notable entrants||Brawn GP|
|Notable drivers|| Jenson Button
|Debut||2009 Australian Grand Prix|
|Constructors' Championships||1 (2009)|
|Drivers' Championships||1 (Jenson Button, 2009)|
The Brawn BGP 001 is a Formula One world championship winning racing car, designed and built by Brawn GP. It was the first, and only, Formula One car used by the Brawn GP team, used to contest the 2009 Formula One season. It was unveiled at Silverstone in the United Kingdom on March 6, 2009.
Team driver Jenson Button gave the BGP 001 its first test run on the same day it was launched, before a more comprehensive testing and development programme saw the car appear at the Circuit de Catalunya on March 9–12 and at the Circuito de Jerez on March 15–18, before the Australian Grand Prix on March 29. The car has seen success since and by the time of the Turkish Grand Prix it had won six of the seven races with a constant podium appearance.
Remarkably, it was revealed that the modifications made to the car to accommodate its Mercedes engine saw six inches removed from the rear end, severely compromising the car and that by the time the team realised how good it was, there was no time to commission a new design. Ross Brawn also admitted that there were fundamental problems with the car, stating that it was too heavy, the centre of gravity too high, and that some of the parts were not good for the car. Given the limited budget and development time, only three chassis were ever made (larger teams, such as McLaren build as many as eight): one for each driver and a spare. The spare was used by Rubens Barrichello in Singapore, while Jenson Button used the second Brawn chassis BGP001-02 in every free practice and qualifying session and race between the 2009 Australian Grand Prix and the 2009 Brazilian Grand Prix. This meant that he won the championship in the single oldest car on the grid.
The BGP 001 was designed throughout 2008 and 2009 by Honda and then Brawn after the change over. It was designed, by Loïc Bigois, in similar respects to all the other cars on the grid with a moulded carbon fibre and honeycomb composite monocoque and a front and rear wishbone and pushrod activated suspension system. Yet the car had one difference, which was focused on the rear so-called 'double-decker diffuser'. The diffuser is at the rear of the car and is a route to get downforce and puts the air under the car to good use. The BGP 001 had a different central channel to its diffuser with the shape of the structure being used to create advanced type of double-decker design. The diffuser's controversial aspect was the hole in the rear which increases the speed of airflow as it heads towards the higher rear venturi section, where it expands and creates more downforce. Other teams argued that the presence of the hole is against the regulations.
At the first race of the season in Australia an official complaint was launched by Renault, Red Bull and Ferrari against the diffusers of the Williams FW31, Toyota TF109 and the BGP 001 saying that they were illegal. However the race stewards did not share that view and rejected the other teams' complaints. Subsequently the car was cleared to race in Melbourne. The same problem was faced in Malaysia after BMW tried again but failed.
Over the controversy the 'non-diffuser' teams, Ferrari, BMW Sauber, Red Bull, lodged an official appeal against the design and the date was set for April 13, 2009 for the FIA International Court of appeal (ICA); putting the first two races under appeal meaning the cars' first two wins of the season with Button could have been removed. After discussing the legality of the diffusers throughout Tuesday a verdict was becoming clear and on Wednesday 14th the ICA concluded that the diffusers' design were legal and complied with the 2009 regulations rejecting the teams' appeal.
With the diffuser change, the new rules in place for the 2009 season required cars to have narrower and higher rear wings and wider and lower front wings, designed to reduce air disturbance for following cars and hence make overtaking easier. Slick tyres were also re-introduced in the 2009 Formula One season, having been absent since 1998, this said to increase tyre grip by about 20%.
The BGP 001 uses a Mercedes-Benz FO108W engine, supplied through a customer deal. Per the 2009 regulations, the engine is a naturally aspirated unit with eight cylinders in a 'V' configuration and is rev-limited to 18,000 rpm. Originally the car was engineered for a Honda-designed engine, however when Honda announced their withdrawal from the sport, a customer deal with Mercedes was obtained. It was reported that deals with Ferrari and Mercedes were available, the latter being chosen as it was simpler to integrate into the existing car. However, an unnamed senior Brawn GP engineer, after the title winning race in Brazil, was reported saying that significant and unconventional changes were made to accommodate the FO108W engine.
Unlike Mercedes' other customers Force India who take supply of both the engine and a McLaren-designed transmission, the BGP 001 uses a semi-automatic transmission designed in-house at Brawn. This provides seven forward gears and one reverse gear, and is operated using two paddles located on the steering wheel. As with the engine installation compromises were made with the gearbox. It does not sit in the ideal position because the crank-centre height on the Mercedes engine is different from the Honda. Brawn did not opt to use a Kinetic Energy Recovery System, which would have provided an extra 80 bhp (60 kW) for up to 6.6 seconds a lap, due to the constraints such a device would place on the design of the car and the extra weight it would add. Ross Brawn has suggested that a KERS is not currently a high priority for the team.
Per the 2009 Formula One regulations, Brawn GP are limited to using eight engines per car throughout the season. The limited availability of engines led to a record being broken by the Brawn team; it was the first time one particular build of an engine had won three Grands Prix in succession.
Honda began development for their 2009 car early in the 2008 season. In December 2008, Honda announced their plans to withdraw from F1. Development of what would become the BGP 001 continued whilst a buyer was sought for the team. The team were purchased by Team Principal Ross Brawn, and the outfit renamed Brawn GP. On the day of the BGP 001s debut, Jenson Button performed the shakedown – the car featuring white, fluorescent yellow and black colours. Brawn GP gave the BGP 001 its first test at the Circuit de Catalunya on 9 March 2009, topping the timesheets early on in the first session, eventually finishing the session in fourth. On day two, Rubens Barrichello took over and completed 111 laps, finishing third in the standings. This was followed by Button topping the timesheets on the third day by over a second clear of Felipe Massa's Ferrari, completing 130 laps. In response, Massa hailed the BGP 001 as the most competitive pre-season car, stating that he does not think anyone can top their times and that Ferrari is currently less competitive than Brawn GP. On the final day of the test, Barrichello replicated the feat of his team-mate; topping the time sheets by over eight-tenths of a second from Nico Rosberg's Williams, completing 110 laps.
With the testing moving to Circuito de Jerez, Brawn continued to set the pace, six-tenths clear of Renault's Fernando Alonso, completing 107 laps. Alonso topped the timesheets on day two, edging Barrichello into second leaving Button third, as the drivers completed 74 laps between them. On the final day, Button topped once again, two-tenths clear of Rosberg with Nelson Piquet, Jr. and Lewis Hamilton further behind.
At the first race of the season in Australia an official complaint was launched by Renault, Red Bull and Ferrari against the diffusers of the Williams FW31, Toyota TF109 and the BGP 001 saying that they were illegal. However the race stewards did not share that view and rejected the other teams' complaints. Subsequently the car was cleared to race in Melbourne.
Brawn started quickly at the season opening Australian Grand Prix, comfortably sitting in the top five in Friday practice. In qualifying itself Jenson Button took pole with fellow teammate Rubens Barrichello coming 2nd followed by Red Bull Racing's Sebastian Vettel. This was followed by a race win for Jenson Button with Barrichello second, giving the BGP 001 a 1-2 finish on its debut, which had not happened since 1954. Button started off well but Barrichello started slowly and created an accident at the first corner involving Mark Webber and Nick Heidfeld. Button led the whole of the race with the only challenge coming at the end of each safety car phase; Robert Kubica's shunt with Vettel placing Barrichello back in second. He took the chequered flag from behind the safety car.
The BGP 001 also won the next race, from pole and picked up Button's and its own first fastest lap, in the rain halted Malaysian Grand Prix after no testing in the wet. Button had a bad start but his teammate Barrichello managed a good start and moved up the grid. Both drivers were stuck behind Fernando Alonso's Renault in the first lap but both got past in the early race. Button caught up with Jarno Trulli and in the two laps after Nico Rosberg and Jarno Trulli's pit stops put in two fast laps. Button led the race after pitting and took the win on lap 31.
There was an appeal launched on the 'diffuser cars' but was rejected by the FIA on Wednesday 14 April 2009 leaving the diffuser on the BGP 001 clear to race.
At the 2009 Chinese Grand Prix Barrichello qualified in front of Button for the first time this season but in the rain Jenson Button finished 3rd with Rubens Barrichello 4th behind the Red Bulls of Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber. Even though Barrichello seemed to struggle he still recorded the fastest lap.
Button won again at the Bahrain Grand Prix from fourth on the grid with Barrichello in fifth from sixth. Button ran most of the race in clean air and maintained the lead after the Toyotas pitted and fell down the order. This was the first time they were slower with the corrected qualifying times in the season and was blamed on the lack of development on the car.
At the Spanish Grand Prix, the car received its first performance upgrade, and Button put the car on pole after Barrichello had been quickest in the low fuel second segment. Barrichello out-dragged Button on the run to the first corner, but after the first pit stops, Button changed strategy from a three-stop strategy to a two-stop strategy. Barrichello remained on a three-stopper and was overhauled by Button, with Button completing quicker laps than his team-mate despite being fuelled heavier. Barrichello finished second for Brawn's second one-two of the season to extend their lead in the constructors championship to 29.5 points. Brawn's fourth win saw them overtake Honda on the all-time wins list. At the Monaco Grand Prix the same qualifying results as in Spain were achieved with Button on pole. Button lead Barrichello, who had overtaken Kimi Räikkönen off the line, in to the first corner with Button leading Barrichello, Raikkonen and Felipe Massa for the majority of the race. Button took Brawn's third 1-2 and his first hat trick of wins.
The win in Monaco also marked the first time in F1's history that the same engine had won three Grands Prix in succession.
At the 2009 Turkish Grand Prix the Brawns were beaten to pole by Vettel after struggling with pace throughout Friday and Saturday, for Button especially. At the start, Barrichello's anti-stall cut in and he fell to the back of the grid; Button meanwhile, after pointing the car at Vettel got off cleanly and inherited the lead at turn 10 when Vettel ran wide. Button led the race calmly for the rest of the race with his team mate having many incidents before giving Brawn their first retirement after losing seventh gear.
At the British Grand Prix the BGP 001 struggled as it couldn't heat its tyres. Barrichello managed to get the balance of the car quicker than Button and duly finished third. Button finished in sixth even though he had a late surge towards the end after the car managed to heat its tyres better than Massa and Rosberg on the primes. The reason the car struggled with tyre temperature is because it managed its tyres better in hotter climates but in colder climates this meant the car wasn't hard enough on the tyres to get the heat into them.
At the German Grand Prix the team suffered the same fate as in Britain as both drivers suffered with tyre temperatures. The team qualified light as to get onto the front row and qualified behind Webber in second and third, respectively. Despite leading in the first stint, Barrichello finished sixth after a faulty fuel rig ruined his race. Button ran in the low points after getting stuck behind Kovalainen and managed to overtake Barrichello to finish fifth.
When it was first run, the only logos covering the plain white body of the BGP 001 were those of Bridgestone and Brawn GP themselves. Gradually, as the team began earning sponsors, the car began filling up with logos - beginning with that of Henri Lloyd, and shortly followed by Virgin Group following their major sponsorship of the team. M I G Investments became a major sponsor and was advertised on the front of the BGP 001 for Chinese Grand Prix eventually covering the front of the car by themselves.
At the 2009 Spanish Grand Prix, the
car sported imagery and the logo of the film Terminator Salvation on its
rear wing for the entirety of the race weekend.
Before the British Grand Prix the team
signed Graham-London. Their logo was shown on the cars wing
the Singapore Grand Prix, Brawn
GP secured a sponsorship deal with Canon. For
the 2009 Brazilian Grand Prix Brawn GP closed a deal with
Petrópolis brewery to stamp their colours and beer brand Itaipava
on both cars.
(key) (results in bold indicate pole position; results in italics indicate fastest lap)
|2009||Brawn GP F1 Team||Mercedes FO108W V8||B||AUS||MAL‡||CHN||BHR||ESP||MON||TUR||GBR||GER||HUN||EUR||BEL||ITA||SIN||JPN||BRA||ABU||172||1st|
‡ Half points awarded as less than 75% of race distance completed.
Racing Car Of The Year