- 2009 Season Review - Part Two
Brawn ingenuity leaves rivals standing
Team of the Year
If you're not familiar with the team's story by now then you haven't been watching Formula One in 2009. Ross Brawn took on a team abandoning the sport to win both the constructors' and drivers' titles. It got a jump start on most of the field by finding a loophole in the rules and perfecting the double diffuser design for the opening rounds. By the time some of the others caught up, Brawn had a massive points lead. It only won two races in the second half of the season, but crucially managed its drivers perfectly to secure both titles.
Second: Red Bull
When the car was at its best, usually on high-speed tracks, it was unbeatable. Four of its six victories were one-twos, and the car registered more fastest laps than any other. Its Achilles heel was engine reliability. Sebastian Vettel came dangerously close to using more than the permitted eight engines over the season, and was forced to restrict his Friday running time to avoid a grid penalty towards the end of the year.
Third: Force India
Ever since Jordan's glory days in 1999, this team, also racing under the names Midland and Spyker, has appeared to be going backwards. At the start of the year it had clearly closed the gap but was still at the tail-end of the grid. The in-season testing ban meant development was less expensive than previous years and that gave it the opportunity to play catch-up. At the Belgian Grand Prix, Giancarlo Fisichella took pole position and then the team's first podium under Vijay Mallya's ownership.
Crash of the Year
Winner: Lewis Hamilton at Monza
On the final lap of the race Hamilton was chasing Jenson Button in an attempt to secure second place and extra championship points. His chances looked slim at best, but Hamilton wasn't perturbed. Then came the first Lesmo corner and he pushed too hard, tipping the car into a spin that ended against the barrier. It finished Hamilton's race on the spot - no podium, no points, no prizes.
Second: Jaime Alguersuari at Suzuka
He had one of the most spectacular accidents of the season at Suzuka when, with nine laps remaining, he made a mistake on the entrance to 130R, smashed through a polystyrene advertisement and slammed into the barrier. The impact was so great that it took several laps under the safety car for the marshals to clear up the mess and rebuild the tyre wall.
Third: Adrian Sutil v Jarno Trulli at Interlagos
The pair came together on the opening lap after Trulli attempted to pass Sutil coming out of turn five. The impact sent the Toyota and Force India off the road in opposite directions and out of the race. But the fireworks didn't end there - the pair got out of their cars and reconvened on the run-off of turn six for a quick scuffle. Trulli didn't let the incident drop, and turned up at the next grand prix with a dossier of information aimed at proving the accident was Sutil's fault. Stewards later declared the accident was a "racing incident" with neither party to blame; ironically Trulli was fined US$6,000 for disobeying a race marshal.