F1's greatest cars: Brawn BGP 001

Ross Brawn's eponymous outfit Brawn GP had a fairytale Formula 1 debut in 2009, clinching both the drivers' and the constructors' championship. We recap one of the most remarkable stories in F1.

F1's greatest cars: Brawn BGP 001

Honda withdrew from Formula 1 at the end of the 2008 season, when global recession was at its peak. It seemed like the Brackley-based outfit - which traces its roots back to Tyrrell - would have to be shut down.

However, a few months before the start of the new season, Brawn successfully bought the squad from Honda and renamed it Brawn GP.

The Japanese manufacturer paid a handsome sum of £92.5m to run the team, which it would otherwise have had to shell out on making the staff redundant. 

Brawn and technical chief Pat Fry also gave private loans to the team, which allowed it to get through the season.

The team's first (and only) car carried Brawn's initials and was called the BGP 001. Although it was originally designed with a Honda engine in mind, the team managed to fit a Mercedes motor at the back of the car.

Brawn cleverly exploited the new regulations and came up with an innovative - but not unique - concept known as the 'Double Diffuser'.  It allowed the team to get a head start over its rivals, as was visible during the pre-season tests.

In the first race of the season in Australia, Jenson Button led a 1-2 finish for the squad, with Rubens Barrichello finishing runner-up. For the first time in history of Formula 1 since 1954, a new team locked out the top two spots on the podium.

As the season wore on, it became clear that Brawn GP was no one-race wonder. Button would go on to win in Malaysia, Bahrain, Spain Monaco and Turkey - only missing out on victory in China.

In the second half of the season, Red Bull emerged as a formidable challenger to Brawn GP, whose performance started to dwindle due to a lack of a development budget.

However, the massive points buffer the team had built from the start of the year proved to be enough to win both the championships - a truly amazing feat for any team in the first year of racing.

While Barrichello didn't feature in the title fight, he did score two victories, taking Brawn's season total to 8. Together, the Brazilian-British pair scored 7 further podium finishes (excluding wins), 5 pole positions and 4 fastest laps.

A total of three BGP 001 chassis were built - one for each driver and a back-up one which was raced by Barichello in Singapore. Button completed the entire season on one chassis, which was badged BGP 001-02.

At the end of 2009, Mercedes decided to get involved in Formula 1 as a full-blown constructor and bought a 75% stake in the team.

Brawn would stay on board for years to come, laying the foundation of Mercedes' current dominance in F1. After exiting the team and spending a few years on the sidelines, he returned to F1 last year as its Managing Director (Sporting).

Images-Highlights: Brawn BGP 001

Rubens Barrichello, Brawn GP
Rubens Barrichello, Brawn GP
1/30

Photo by: XPB Images

Rubens Barrichello, Brawn GP, BGP001, BGP 001
Rubens Barrichello, Brawn GP, BGP001, BGP 001
2/30

Photo by: XPB Images

Rubens Barrichello, Brawn GP
Rubens Barrichello, Brawn GP
3/30

Photo by: XPB Images

Jenson Button, Brawn GP
Jenson Button, Brawn GP
4/30

Photo by: XPB Images

Rubens Barrichello, Brawn GP
Rubens Barrichello, Brawn GP
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Photo by: XPB Images

Rubens Barrichello, Brawn GP
Rubens Barrichello, Brawn GP
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Photo by: XPB Images

Jenson Button, Brawn GP
Jenson Button, Brawn GP
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Photo by: XPB Images

Rubens Barrichello, Brawn GP
Rubens Barrichello, Brawn GP
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Photo by: XPB Images

Jenson Button, Brawn GP
Jenson Button, Brawn GP
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Photo by: XPB Images

Rubens Barrichello, Brawn GP
Rubens Barrichello, Brawn GP
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Photo by: XPB Images

Jenson Button, Brawn GP
Jenson Button, Brawn GP
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Photo by: XPB Images

Jenson Button, Brawn GP
Jenson Button, Brawn GP
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Photo by: XPB Images

Jenson Button, Brawn GP
Jenson Button, Brawn GP
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Photo by: XPB Images

Jenson Button, Brawn GP
Jenson Button, Brawn GP
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Photo by: XPB Images

Rubens Barrichello, Brawn GP
Rubens Barrichello, Brawn GP
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Photo by: XPB Images

Rubens Barrichello, Brawn GP
Rubens Barrichello, Brawn GP
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Photo by: XPB Images

Jenson Button, Brawn GP
Jenson Button, Brawn GP
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Photo by: XPB Images

Jenson Button, Brawn GP
Jenson Button, Brawn GP
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Photo by: XPB Images

Jenson Button, Brawn GP
Jenson Button, Brawn GP
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Photo by: XPB Images

Jenson Button, Brawn GP / wave his hand
Jenson Button, Brawn GP / wave his hand
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Photo by: XPB Images

Rubens Barrichello, Brawn GP
Rubens Barrichello, Brawn GP
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Photo by: XPB Images

Rubens Barrichello, Brawn GP
Rubens Barrichello, Brawn GP
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Photo by: XPB Images

Jenson Button, Brawn GP
Jenson Button, Brawn GP
23/30

Photo by: XPB Images

Rubens Barrichello, Brawn GP
Rubens Barrichello, Brawn GP
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Photo by: XPB Images

Jenson Button, Brawn GP
Jenson Button, Brawn GP
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Photo by: XPB Images

Rubens Barrichello, Brawn GP
Rubens Barrichello, Brawn GP
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Photo by: XPB Images

Rubens Barrichello, Brawn GP
Rubens Barrichello, Brawn GP
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Photo by: XPB Images

Rubens Barrichello, Brawn GP
Rubens Barrichello, Brawn GP
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Photo by: XPB Images

Rubens Barrichello, Brawn GP
Rubens Barrichello, Brawn GP
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Photo by: XPB Images

Jenson Button, Brawn GP
Jenson Button, Brawn GP
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Photo by: XPB Images

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