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Barrichello, BrawnGP take the win in Valencia

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On: Mon, Aug 24, 2009 at 3:19PM | By: John Welch

Barrichello, BrawnGP take the win in Valencia

The European Grand Prix was held in Valencia, Spain this weekend. As far as I'm concerned the show could have been better, but the result was nothing short of inspirational. Rubens Barrichello, at age 37 the oldest driver on the grid, performed flawlessly to take his first win in over five years. This win is also the first for him since leaving Ferrari to join the Honda F1 team (Now 'BrawnGP'). His win Sunday has changed Barrichello's view on his future in the sport. During the current season he has expressed dismay at what he perceived to be unfair "team orders," stating that he felt the team was concentrating more effort on his BrawnGP stablemate Jenson Button. Barrichello had also alluded to retirement after after the 2009 season, stating that he "didn't really see the point in racing in 2010" which would be his eighteenth consecutive season at the top level of motor sport. He has changed his mind, after the race expressing his desire to stay on with Brawn.

Barrichello, piloting his BGP001, made an excellent getaway from the traditional standing start, forcing his way to third (P3) position by the second corner. The McLaren teammates of Lewis Hamilton and Heikki Kovalainen were able to hold off the BrawnGP driver during the opening stint, but they were considerably lighter on fuel. Rubens had at least four extra laps of fuel on board and was able to keep pace with the much lighter McLarens, despite their use of KERS and improved aerodynamics. This perfectly illustrates how capable the Brawn chassis is. In a series where a few milligrams of extra weight could possibly add several tenths to a lap time, Barrichello and his BGP001 were able to keep up with cars which seemingly had every advantage. One miscue on pit road for Hamilton is all it took for Barrichello to slip by and go on to victory. The podium saw Hamilton in P2, with Kimi Raikkonen bringing his Ferrari in third.

And now my beef with the race in Valencia. Something about this beautiful, wide, complex street circuit makes passing absolutely impossible. I watched the entire race and witnessed significant passing only on the first lap. That's two hours of hundred million dollar race-beasts playing follow the leader. I couldn't quite put my finger on why passing seemed so difficult, but it did, and this scared off my 'casual fan' viewing party. Wing-Nuts like me would watch this sort of thing all day, the pit strategy alone causing my blood pressure to spike. 'Casual fan' on the other hand couldn't care less how much fuel a particular driver is carrying, or whether a wheel spat has been improperly secured, etcetera, etcetera. With a new, US-based team coming into the fray next year, and the US market being such a high priority to most of the major teams, F1 races that resemble the IRL cannot be tolerated. Americans want wall-to-wall action, fast paced and violent. Which explains the undeniable attraction to four-wide last lap passes at Daytona, even though those 'stock' cars being raced at Daytona belong in a museum.

The Official Formula One website provides a full breakdown of the weekend's action. If you want to call it action.

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