It’s no longer Ferrari and McLaren pulling the strings in Formula One – BMW, Sauber and Renault are hot on their heels. In the first three Grand Prixs of the 2009 season the leaders of the pack were Brawn GP, Red Bull Racing and Toyota – all of them teams who – until this season – never won a single Grand Prix.
Formula One rookies Brawn GP took the first Grand Prix when Jenson Button drove his Mercedes engine-powered car (isn’t that the same engine McLaren uses?) to two flawless victories. In China however, the new “king of the rain” drove his Red Bull Renault in front of the pack from start to finish.
Defending champion Lewis Hamilton had to settle for sixth place in China, scoring his first two points of this season, while Ferrari is still without any points, making it the team’s worst season start since 1981. The same goes for Poland’s Robert Kubica, who blew a chance when crashing out of the Australian Grand Prix while battling for second place, after which the Pole never got in range of points again.
But not all is different: Ross Brawn, the man that lead Michael Schumacher, and the teams of Benetton and Ferrari to numerous titles, is now at the helm of his own team and the legendary strategist and engineer again shows a piece of his magic, by scoring two wins in his team’s first two appearances. As far as drivers are concerned, the new sensation comes from Germany once again. Sebastian Vettel is destined to become the new Michael Schumacher. This 21-year-old already has two Grand Prix wins to his tally, both with excellent performances under soaking wet and simply dreadful conditions.
After three Grand Prixs it’s Jenson Button in the lead with 21 points, followed by Brawn GP teammate Rubens Barrichello with 15. Third place is shared by two Germans: Sebastian Vettel of Red Bull Racing and Timo Glock of Toyota, both with 10 points. Brawn GP with 36 points has a clear gap against competitors Red Bull and Toyota in the constructor’s competition. The 2009 season promises to become very surprising and exciting indeed.