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“The engineers must have made a mistake in their calculations!”

“The engineers must have made a mistake in their calculations!”

( – Jerez de la Frontera in Spain in March 2009: In the first major Formula 1 team test, Sebastian Vettel set the clear best time in the Red Bull RB5, 1:19.055 minutes ahead of Toyota's Timo. Gluck. About 1,750 kilometers north in Brackley, England, this is terrifying: employees of Brawn's new racing team are questioning their entire project.

Jenson Button in the Brawn BGP 001 during Formula 1 testing in Barcelona in 2009

At this point, Honda's former factory team is facing several weeks of nerve-wracking uncertainty after Honda suddenly announced its withdrawal in December 2008. But team boss Ross Brawn persists, taking over the team and continuing to run it alone.

Now there is a car ready. But just three weeks before the start of the 2009 season, Brown has serious doubts.

Why did Brown suddenly have doubts?

In Disney's multi-part documentary “Brawn: The Impossible Formula 1 Story,” team boss Brawn explains: “We didn't know what we did wrong. Because our simulations showed that we would be 1 to 1.5 seconds faster than we were.” The competition .”

First reaction: self-doubt. “We were very skeptical and said to the engineers: 'You must have miscalculated! We're not two seconds faster than anyone else!'” says Jock Clear, a long-time Formula 1 race engineer.

This causes mixed feelings for Brown in Brackley. “It spread around the factory,” says team boss Brown. The employees asked themselves: “Have we made such a huge mistake? Or do we have something really special on our hands here?”

Brown asks himself: Could this really be true?

So Brown asked his engineers to run an additional cycle and check all the data. Result according to the survey: “We are still 2 seconds faster!”

Then it became clear to the Brown team that a big commotion was about to happen. However, the team only did a short test with the Brawn BGP 001 and did not conduct any real-world testing. What remains unclear is how the car will mesh with the Mercedes drive system, for which it – as a Honda development – was not designed.

First test drive: Things are getting serious for Brown

This is then followed by the first Formula 1 group test with Brawn's participation from 9 to 12 March 2009 in Barcelona. With six and a half race distances completed, the Brawn race car is not only a capable endurance runner, but also a trendsetter: Rubens Barrichello and Jenson Button finished the test drive in first and second place in the timesheets, more than eight tenths ahead of Williams' Nico . Rosberg is third.

Brown's fairy tale begins

And so, after a very turbulent winter break with only a third of the test days and test kilometers for BMW-Sauber, Ferrari, McLaren, Toyota and Williams, Brawn set off for Australia to start the 2009 season. But above all, with the so-called double diffuser at the rear of the car, it forms a “loophole “In the technical regulations of Formula 1.

And the rest is motorsport history: Brawn claimed a double win at the Australian Grand Prix through Button and Barrichello, and also won two World Championship titles at the end of a dramatic Formula 1 season.

Group photo of Brown with the team's leadership and drivers at the end of the 2009 season

This record is unique, because Brawn achieved all this in its single year of existence: Mercedes bought the racing team in 2009 and continues to run it as a factory Mercedes team to this day, currently the most successful team in the turbo hybrid field. The era since 2014.