An undisputed modern Formula 1 legend, the Brawn BGP001 car which powered Jenson Button to the 2009 World Championship drew a huge amount of attention on the first public day of the 2016 Festival of Speed.
Surrounded by such a huge feast of racing car icons, Ross Brawn, Brawn GP team owner and engineer, discussed what makes a relatively recent car worthy to stand in such illustrious company.
“Both the car and the circumstances behind it were really unusual,” he said. “A team that only existed for one year won both championships before morphing into a different team. I think the circumstances behind a team on the verge of closing and then surviving was an intriguing storyline – it was everything that was wrapped around it that made it such a special year, a special team and a special car.
“It really captured people imaginations – at the British Grand Prix that year the support for the team was unbelievable. I’ve worked for some great teams – Ferrari in particular – but I remember that day so well because the support for Brawn GP was astonishing. I’ve only been at Goodwood a short time and I’ve seen already how excited people are to see the car.”
Former F1 driver turned commentator and presenter Martin Brundle has the honour of driving the car this year, and commented, “I am excited to be driving it – it’s a great privilege. It’s a bit scary that the car is already seven years old – if the next seven go as quickly we’re in trouble!”
He also sees the car as capturing imaginations in a very special way, and added, “I think it’s iconic in everything from the paint scheme to the wheel spinners, it was a little moment in time in Formula One history – I think that’s why it has become iconic so quickly.
“It’s certainly a great responsibility to be driving it at Goodwood – a bit like the year itself we don’t have any spares of anything! I was talking to some of the guys who are here after running the Mercedes cars at Baku last weekend, and they almost think it’s quaint and simple to run it compared to what they have now. Even finding the wheel gun was tricky.”
Brawn added, “We had problems with all sorts of things – we even had to find laptops from that era that could run the right software. It’s not configured to work on modern computers. The wheel nut on the front is also peculiar because of the spinners, and for some reason we didn’t have any spares, so we actually had to make new ones. It’s been quite an exercise to get it going.
“Even though it’s relatively simple compared to today’s cars, it still takes a crew of seven or eight people to run it. There was once a day it would only take two people.”
The Brawn BGP 001 is undoubtedly a special highlight of this year’s Goodwood Festival of Speed, and there will be more behind the scenes news featuring stars and cars from FIA championships throughout the weekend.