Q & A with Ross Brawn

Q. Another win for Jenson - things are looking great

Q & A with Ross Brawn

Ross Brawn: It was a tough weekend. We struggled a bit with the new aero package to begin with, particularly Jenson, but I think by the end we had a good balance on the car. Both drivers did a fantastic job. We had trouble in the middle of the race with Rubens strategy and need to go back over it, but for us three stop was quickest so we were planning both cars on three stops.

But in Jenson's case it was going to throw him into some traffic that we were worried about so we dropped back onto a two-stop. Rubens' pace on the tyre was good, but then in the middle it faded. We need to understand why because it cost him the race.

Q. Rubens wasn't very happy after the race and maybe thought that was good for Jenson wasn't good for Rubens?

RB: It could have been, but we weren't expecting the performance. If you look at the laptime on the tyres and the fuel, there was a period of the race where he was a lot slower than expected. And that's what cost him the race because Jenson on more fuel was quicker.

Q. So that team isn't favouring Jenson's drive to the title?

RB: No.

Q. Maybe it has crossed his mind?

RB: 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.

Q. Is this championship in danger of turning into a runaway?

RB: That's not something I can do anything about. We are fighting tooth and claw for every race to do as good a job as we can. It's a team that's really come together. The adversity of the winter seems to have gelled everyone even more and everything is working like clockwork at the moment. But we're being cautious.

Q. You've done a European race and you're still ahead?

RB: Sebastian Vettel if he had got a clear track would have given us a really hard time today. You could see as soon as Massa went a bit quicker, Vettel improved as well. For me, Vettel had a lot in hand but just couldn't use it. That's the second race where he's not been able to show what he could do.

Q. How about Ferrari and McLaren?

RB: Well Ferrari looked a lot better today, a lot more respectable. The race didn't go very well for them, but they made a huge step from where they were at the beginning of the season to be fourth on the grid and running in the top four or five cars in the race. They've come on a lot.

Q. You've gone through this upgrade successfully. Is the next one going to be as good?

RB: You never completely know. We've got a great group of people, they are working hard. They've all got a target for the German Grand Prix and the past history is they make it. We've got a few bits and pieces for Monaco and Istanbul, but the major upgrade is for Nurburgring.

Q. Do you understand if Rubens was feeling unhappy bearing in mind his long-time understudy role to Michael?

RB: 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.

Q. Is it Brawn against Red Bull?

RB: It looks that way doesn't it? It looks like that's the main two teams, the teams that understood the opportunities with the new regulations and they've got a very strong team - Adrian, a good group of people and drivers and it looks too me at the moment that they are the main challenge to us. Other teams will come and go during the season, but in terms of the championship and long term, Red Bull look very strong.

Q. Who made the strategy call?

RB: It's a collective decision in the end. The guys put all the information together, they make the recommendations but I make the call on the pit wall. Good or bad, it's down to me.

Q. You didn't want your own F1 team - but are you enjoying this?

RB: Not so much having my name on the car, but you can't not enjoy winning races can you? It's what we're here for.

Q. Is it different if you're not working for someone else and it's your team?

RB: There's the element there. The team is succeeding for itself. There's not an owner sitting above it, there's not a manufacturer above us. We're doing it for ourselves. There's a little bit of freedom in that and maybe that's why the team is shining at the moment.

Q. Could we see a situation like at Ferrari where Rubens is number 2?

RB: No.

Q. Jenson is talking about changing driving style. How impressive is that?

RB: He's a very, very good driver. An excellent driver and he's worked hard this weekend to get the car to work properly. It wasn't quite right, but he adapted himself to it. He's doing a great job. Drivers do need to make the best out of every situation. It's no good waiting until the car is perfect and performing then. You have to do the best job and today could have been a points scoring position - but you have to do the best job you can in every circumstance. You let up for one second and someone else is on top of you.

Q. How many drivers have the ability to change their style?

RB: All the top drivers can do that, but it's about doing it without losing laptime. That's the key. We know what sort of car he would prefer and he didn't quite have that this weekend, although we got closer by the race. He's doing a super job.

Q. How impressed where you with him on heavy fuel?

RB: His performance on fuel was the critical stint. Equally the problem that Rubens had on his tyres caused a problem there. That was the crucial bit of the race and Jenson took the opportunity.

Q. How close would it have been if Rubens's tyres were OK in the third stunt?

RB: It was, yes. At one stage they were a second ahead on strategy. My dread was going to be after the last pit-stop coming out on the pit straight next to each other.

Q. The big teams are struggling - is it a relief?

RB: I wouldn't quote it that way. We see Red Bull as the main competition and other teams seem to be a little less consistent at the moment. But they are consistently good. For us, it's much better if people aren't take points away from us but taking them away from Red Bull.

Brawn: No qualms about '09 cakewalk

Previous article

Brawn: No qualms about '09 cakewalk

Next article

Red Bull will not enter two-tier F1

Red Bull will not enter two-tier F1
Load comments
Why F1's misunderstood party animal will thrive in retirement Plus

Why F1's misunderstood party animal will thrive in retirement

Three years on from Kimi Raikkonen's last Grand Prix victory at Austin, he is now six races away from ending the longest Formula 1 career in history. His friend and former Ice1 Racing rally team PR man ANTHONY PEACOCK explains why there’s nobody quite like the 2007 world champion and why F1 will miss him (but he won’t miss it)

The 10 greatest drives of lost legend Jo Siffert Plus

The 10 greatest drives of lost legend Jo Siffert

It's 50 years since Jo Siffert was killed in his prime at Brands Hatch. The Swiss scored just two world championship wins in a Formula 1 career spent largely with privateer teams, but showed on numerous occasions in single-seaters and in sportscars with Porsche that he could beat any of the best drivers of his era given the right equipment

Verstappen exclusive: How Red Bull’s ace has become F1 champion material Plus

Verstappen exclusive: How Red Bull’s ace has become F1 champion material

As Red Bull and Honda go all-out for victory in the Japanese engine manufacturer’s last season of its latest Formula 1 dalliance, Max Verstappen finds himself thrust into a compelling title fight with Lewis Hamilton. He told OLEG KARPOV about his evolution into a world championship contender and why Red Bull's no compromise ethos suits him down to the ground

Formula 1
Oct 23, 2021
How Mercedes went from Austin practice domination to "very tight at the front" with Red Bull Plus

How Mercedes went from Austin practice domination to "very tight at the front" with Red Bull

Mercedes has been on a roll of late in the ultra-tight fight to win the 2021 Formula 1 world championship. It started off well in practice at Austin for this weekend’s US Grand Prix, but Red Bull got closer as Friday unfolded and even seemed to find an edge in one critical area of what seems set to be another close contest

Formula 1
Oct 23, 2021
The six critical factors that could hand F1 2021 glory to Hamilton or Verstappen Plus

The six critical factors that could hand F1 2021 glory to Hamilton or Verstappen

The 2021 Formula 1 title battle is finely poised with six races remaining, as just six points separate championship leader Max Verstappen from seven-time champion Lewis Hamilton. In such a closely-fought season, the outcome could hinge on several small factors playing the way of Red Bull or Mercedes

Formula 1
Oct 22, 2021
Can Whitmarsh appointment help Aston succeed where its F1 rivals failed? Plus

Can Whitmarsh appointment help Aston succeed where its F1 rivals failed?

Aston Martin owner Lawrence Stroll is determined to make the group a billion-dollar business. MARK GALLAGHER analyses his latest play – bringing former McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh into the fold

Formula 1
Oct 22, 2021
Remembering Switzerland’s first F1 winner Plus

Remembering Switzerland’s first F1 winner

Stepping up to F1 in 1962, Jo Siffert shone with Rob Walker Racing Team and BRM before his career was abruptly ended in a fatal crash at Brands Hatch in 1971. On the 50th anniversary of his death, Autosport recalls the career of an F1 and sportscar ace gone before his time

Formula 1
Oct 21, 2021
What Verstappen is risking with his current stance on 2021 F1 world title defeat Plus

What Verstappen is risking with his current stance on 2021 F1 world title defeat

OPINION: Max Verstappen is back in the lead of the 2021 Formula 1 drivers’ championship, with the season’s final flyaway events set to get underway in the USA this weekend. But a defensive stance he’s recently adopted could have a lasting impact for the Red Bull driver when it comes to his chances of defeating Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes

Formula 1
Oct 21, 2021