Ross Brawn is refusing to get carried away with his team’s domination of qualifying ahead of the Australian Grand Prix.
Jenson Button heads an all Brawn front row going into tomorrow’s season-opening race with teammate Rubens Barrichello looking strong behind the Briton on a potentially heavier fuel load.
Button’s pole lap of 1m 26.202 around the Albert Park circuit was over half a second quicker than that managed by Brawn’s GP nearest rivals confirming their impressive pre-season form.
But Brawn, who masterminded many of Michael Schumacher’s race victories at Ferrari, is under no allusions that it is tomorrow’s race strategy that matters most.
“Whilst this is a great achievement and gives both drivers an excellent opportunity in the race tomorrow, the job is only half done and our full focus is now on getting the best result possible in the race,” he said.
While Brawn GP are in many ways a new team part of their success has been a result of having top class facilities at Brackley, courtesy of Honda backing over the past few years.
There have been fears that the team may not be able to sustain their success without Honda’s financial backing, but a new sponsorship deal with Richard Branson’s Virgin Group – unveiled this morning – should secure the long term future of the team.
Branson was present in the team’s garage when Jenson Button grabbed pole position.
“Watching our two cars top the timesheets throughout qualifying capped an excellent day for the team which began with the announcement of our new partnership with Virgin this afternoon,” Brawn said..
“The track conditions were more favourable than we experienced yesterday and we found that the tyres worked in a more conventional way. In addition, the changes that we had made following yesterday’s practice sessions proved positive and both drivers had a well-balanced car which allowed them to concentrate on maximising the lap times.”
Jenson Button meanwhile was delighted to claim his fourth career pole position, his first since Canada 2006.
“To put the car on pole at our debut race is a fantastic achievement and I have to give so much credit to Ross, Nick and everyone at the factory in Brackley,” he said.
“The last four months have been incredibly tough for the team and to go from a situation where you don’t even know if you are going to be racing to achieving pole at the first race of the season is just incredible.”
“Tomorrow is obviously the most important day of the weekend and there is a lot of work to be achieved to come away with a successful result however we have to remember where we have been and really enjoy this moment.”
Teammate Rubens Barrichello admitted he was disappointed not to have taken the top spot himself will be hoping that he can overtake the Briton with his race strategy.
“It has been a great day and I want to congratulate the team for an outstanding job,” he said. “I was hoping that I could put the car on pole and it was looking good in the first two sessions but in Q3 I developed some understeer in the car which comprised my final runs.”
“However the first row for both cars is a real credit to the team and gives us a great chance in the race tomorrow. We have a really good car which everyone deserves credit for and I am just so happy to be racing at the front again.”