Brawn: The Impossible Formula 1 Story

Brawn: The Impossible Formula 1 Story

Brawn GP F1 Team

Known for being quiet on the Formula 1 circuit, Ross Brawn has been a reassuringly steady figure in a fast-moving sport, but a new documentary series charting the story of his team’s fantastical title-winning success in 2009 has stirred up some raw emotions.

Underdogs Brawn GP and Jenson Button won six of the first seven races and two Formula 1 championships after a season of drama on and off the track which threatened the team’s survival at several points.

The story has now been retold in a four-part series titled “Brawn: The Impossible Formula 1 Story” on Disney+, with host and narrator, Hollywood actor Keanu Reeves.

It is due to be released in Britain on Wednesday, and contains hitherto unseen archive footage and unbroadcast radio messages.

“What happened to me while watching the series was the highlight but also the sinking feeling,” Brawn, the former Ferrari technical director and ex-Honda and Mercedes team boss who later became Formula 1 managing director, told Reuters in a video interview.

“The terrible feeling you get when I was attending those protest meetings and had to go to the stewards and convince them the car was legal and had to deal with court hearings in Paris, not knowing what was going to happen, any of which could have sunk the team.

“Those were the things for me that brought me back home to watch the series. There was definitely a tear in my eye towards the end.

The Briton said: “I almost experienced despair over those events.”

Brown, now 68, took over the team for £1 from Honda after the Japanese manufacturer hastily pulled out at the end of the 2008 season.

They had no engine to power the car until Mercedes, with the help of then-McLaren team boss Martin Whitmarsh, came to the rescue.

The BGP001 stunned the Formula 1 paddock

f1-brown-GP-2009-button f1-brown-GP-2009-button

The story has since become part of Formula 1 lore – the radical car dropping jaws across the track with its speed when arriving late to the track in testing using a gap-busting dual diffuser.

Despite a shoestring budget, limited staff, and insufficient spare parts to run the inaugural races, Brown wrote one of the sport’s greatest stories of triumph in adversity.

In 2010, Mercedes bought the team and went on to win eight Formula 1 constructors’ titles in a row and take Lewis Hamilton to six of his seven Formula 1 titles.

“We went through that great period at the beginning of (2009) when everyone assumed it was a knockout, you know? But we were like a swan. We were cool on top, but down there we were paddling like hell,” Brown recalls.

The former boss remains impressed by the team and Button’s resilience under pressure while catching up with big-spending rivals.

“What I find really cool and interesting about the documentary is how open he (Button) is about the challenges he faced during the season,” he said.

“And I could see it, and I could talk to him, but I couldn’t help him,” he revealed.

Tight budget limits have made it difficult for others to undo early-season dominance, while the huge success of the sport, with some of the top teams now valued at more than $1 billion, also acts as a barrier to new entries.

Michael Andretti, who has one of the most famous titles in motorsport and is backed by General Motors as well as the FIA ​​and a $200 million payout that will be shared by competing teams, is still waiting for the green light.

Brawn, a Formula 1 employee, avoided commenting on the situation with the steady hand of a man who has steered his own ship through the most turbulent waters. (Alan Baldwin reports)

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