With The Diffuser Gang owning the podium – and filling a total of five of the eight points scoring places – it appears that creative interpretation of the regulations continues to provide a bigger competitive advantage in F1 than expensive and irrelevant technology; KERS being flattered by Lewis Hamilton’s lucky, albeit hard fought, fourth third place finish.
Aside from the inevitable protests, two safety car periods, gearbox mistakes from both BrawnGP drivers, a last-gasp tangle between (Michael Schumacher II) Sebastian Vettel and Robert Kubica and what can only be described as general ineptitude from most drivers and pit crews at some point through the weekend, it’s fairly easy to read the 2009 pecking order so far.
Brawn Mercedes are, quite frankly, way out in front, followed by BMW (assuming they take KERS off Nick Heidfeld’s car), then Red Bull, Toyota and Williams. The rest, apart from Force India, are all fighting fiercely for, at best, a points finish.
This situation is unlikely to change dramatically until the Spanish grand prix in May.
The interesting question is what will happen then, as none of the currently dominant teams have stellar reputations for mid-season development.
Considering the Bernie Factor was involved in bringing Sir Richard Branson to the grid, it’s unlikely the BrawnGP, and thus the rest of The Diffuser Gang, cars will be deemed illegal, so it’s a case of who can catch up quickest.
Well – you can rule Red Bull out from the start, as their pull-rod rear suspension set up excludes them from the Double Decker Diffuser party.
In contrast, McLaren are in the box seats; notably absent, along with their B-team, from the diffuser protest, and as engine suppliers to BrawnGP, one might assume a certain amount of technology sharing may be going on behind closed silver doors.