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Saturday, March 28, 2009

Honda! You Fools!

I am quite tired of blogging but with the results of today's qualifying in Melbourne, I just had to write this one. It was fantastic to see a complete change to the look of the grid. What was amazing to see was that the top 3 was dominated by privateers not manufacturers! This is how it should be done!!

But my main focus here is on the Brawn GP cars. About a month ago I was telling folks about its speed but as is usual, many seemed to dismiss their pace as running light showboating. But there was something different about this team. Whereas show-boaters go quick once at best, these guys were consistently setting the quickest times. And not just on banzai laps. Reports showed that they were consistently fast on the long runs and signficantly, their relative pace seemed undiminished towards the end of the long runs. And when they do go for broke, there's nothing to touch them.

Well, in Melbourne, so it proved in qualifying. One thing great about this new format is that you do get to judge race pace in the final session. And if you look at their speed in final qualifying there seems to be nothing to touch these Brawns. For the good of the sport, I dearly hope they take full honours tomorrow. And if not them then at least Vettel's Red Bull.

But really the point I would like to make in this post is Honda's shortsightedness in flogging off their team just as they were on the brink on greatness. Honda's pull out put the team in all sorts of trouble. They got the cars very late to testing. This alone I believe slowed the pace of their development. But so fast was the cars they they still ended up quickest.

And late into the game, the team had to adapt to the Mercedes engine. Now this car was designed with a Honda engine in mind. Do not underestimate the significance. You can't simply bolt in any old motor to the back of these machines. The design has been optimised for engine shape, configuration and drive characteristics and delivery. The Mercedes is an incredibly strong motor of course and I bet that help. But could you believe how fast the Brawns would be running the engine they were really built to run on? I would imagine had Honda kept with it, the cars would be untouchable and I would gather would have been at least a second quicker than the next fastest runners.

When Ross Brawn took over the team I had thought him and brave man and I admired his spirit. I mean, he could easily have found employment elsewhere but he went down the route of owning the team and doing this his way. But I suppose looking at the performance of the Brawns, he knew didn't he? He knew they had created something special even before it had turned a wheel. Knew it would be competitive and quick and be able to take the fight to the likes of Ferrari and McLaren, both of which are absolutely nowhere to be seen in Melbourne.

Honda! Long have I followed this company and rooted for them on the back of their exploits in the 80s and early 90s and the fact that they powered Ayrton Senna to all three of his world titles. I have always admired their inventiveness and competitiveness and have always prayed they would do well. But there was a difference between Honda of the 80s and the Honda company now. Soichiro Honda lived and breathed racing. Making road cars was more of a side activity for him to finance his racing, much like old Enzo himself. Many many racers around the world and especially in Japan felt a betrayal with Honda's pullout of grand prix racing. With only a single win to its name, it felt like there was unfinished business. When Honda previously talked of the power of dreams, it really refers to Soichiro's dream of taking on the best of the Europeans and kicking the living shit out of them.

But today, the Honda company has perverted that dream. Transformed it to that ridiculous "My Earth Dreams." A betrayal to its roots and to its spirit. Old Soichiro Honda should be turning in his grave. Ayrton Senna too for that matter.

How long can Brawn keep this up? God knows. Without some heavyweight backing I simply don't know. Maybe for the next 3 to 4 grands prix perhaps. Maybe less. Who knows? But they should milk their current successes for all its worth.

They say the best revenge after being dumped by a lover is to simply live well. Well the best way for Brawn to extract retribution against Honda is to put the car on pole and win the race. One out of two tasks are done. Here's hoping that win comes. That'll really be sticking two fingers up the air to those narrow minded idiots in Japan.

All this provided of course that the FIA doesn't rule their diffusers illegal. Well, I think the FIA have no problems with the design after all they passed it. But as usual they just might listen to Ferrari. Even if they do though, Ferrari would still not end up quickest. That'll be the Red Bulls! Long live the revolution!

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