Brawn denies team orders suggestions

Brawn GP chiefs have strongly denied any suggestion that they used team orders to hand Jenson Button victory in the Spanish Grand Prix

Brawn denies team orders suggestions

Rubens Barrichello had led the way early on, but it was Button who triumphed in the end after he was switched to a two-stop strategy at the first round of pitstops.

Those actions prompted conspiracy theorists to suggest that the team used the strategy to favour Button - something that has been strongly rebuffed by Brawn chiefs Nick Fry and Ross Brawn.

When asked to respond to suggestions that the strategy choice was a deliberate ploy to favour Button's title charge, Fry told AUTOSPORT: "No. Both sides of the garage were racing.

"Listening to what was going on there was huge determination - firstly for Jenson to make the gap, and then on Rubens' side of the garage with a bit of frustration at the end that they didn't make it happen."

Brawn said that the team never expected the switch to a two-stop to favour Button, and it was only poor lap times from Barrichello in his third stint that cost him the victory.

"If you look at the lap times on the tyres and the fuel, there was a period of the race where he was a lot slower than expected," explained Brawn. "And that's what cost him the race because Jenson on more fuel was quicker."

When asked if he was worried that Barrichello had believed team orders had been used, Brawn said: "I hope not, because we're not. You saw at the first corner that there are no team orders. Rubens made a great start and got past Jenson.

"I'd love to see Rubens win a race and see his crew win a race because it would be great for the team. There is no priority being given."

Speaking about Barrichello feeling unhappy after the race, Brawn added: "It's natural. Any driver who gets beaten and is happy is not a driver I want in the team.

"The fact that Rubens is unhappy is a healthy sign because I'd feel very strange if he was quite content to be second behind Jenson."

Barrichello's poor lap times in that penultimate stint were the result of an unidentified problem on his car which cost him time when he needed to build up a cushion over Button.

Speaking about the reasons for switching Button, Fry said: "Obviously he was shorter on fuel than Rubens, and we assumed he would pull away at the front and build a bit of a gap. When that didn't happen, it was necessary to split them.

"It was something that we had talked about a lot before the race anyway. It was something we had planned for, and it turned out to be the best. We were a little bit worried about [Felipe] Massa and [Sebastian] Vettel, for Rubens that is, and that faded when they both came into the pits together.

"That was a bit of a surprise as we thought Vettel was going to go a bit longer than that. I don't know if they did that deliberately or that was the plan."

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