Formula 1 | Why Button dominated Barrichello in 2009 at Brawn GP
At Brawn GP in 2009, to everyone’s surprise, the team had a car capable of winning the title – but of course, there is only one champion among the drivers possible. The fight was then played between Rubens Barrichello and Jenson Button – the Briton would finally be titled.
Rubens could only win 2 wins, against 6 for his teammate. And in the drivers’ standings, he even finished 3rd, behind Sebastian Vettel.
But why, despite his experience, could Rubinho not win the world title? After years spent in the shadow of Michael Schumacher at Ferrari, the opportunity was nevertheless so beautiful for the Brazilian …
Jock Clear, former engineer of Rubens at Brawn GP (but also of Michael Schumacher at Ferrari), spoke about this incredible season – and the reasons for the defeat of his driver. According to the engineer, the main difference between the pilots would have been mostly mental at the time.
“When the time came, I think Jenson was better prepared. I think Rubens certainly didn’t realize as early as Jenson that our car was so strong. «
“It comes down to the psychology of pilots. It is probably the crossroads of the old guard and the new guard. If we are talking about Max [Verstappen] and Lewis [Hamilton] and Charles [Leclerc]… then again they hit a new level, Michael hit a new level in the 90s and these guys hit a new level. «
Jock Clear therefore points to another difference: on the preparation and approach of Grand Prix weekends, particularly in terms of settings. Again Jenson Button would have been simply better prepared, and more hardworking. Which would ultimately be a question of generations.
“Rubens was probably the last of his generation. In Michael’s day [Schumacher] and in terms of driver psychology, the driver preparation was just, ‘well, I’m going to go racing two weeks before Melbourne and I’m going to do some tuning and then I’ll be fine’, if you know what I mean. «
“The fittest riders were getting fitter, but it’s not just about being in good shape, it’s all about mental preparation. You have to put yourself in your head: ‘I have to think about this. How should I approach the season? What are my short term goals, what are my long term goals? «
“And these are things that other sports have been doing for a few years now. You look at American sports that have been doing it for 20 years and athletics for 20 years. F1 is behind in these areas and has caught up, so in 2009 older drivers weren’t used to this being a prerequisite. You were going to be in bad shape quickly, and everyone would see it, if you weren’t absolutely on top at the start of the season. «