Emotional Brawn hails team effort

Click to follow
The Independent Online

Ross Brawn paid tribute to staff past and present who helped turn a team on the brink of extinction into Formula One world champions.

After so much success as technical director at Ferrari where he was the genius behind Michael Schumacher's five titles, the zenith of a remarkable career arrived in Sao Paulo yesterday.

It was Brawn who salvaged a team from the ashes of Honda's shock decision to withdraw from the sport just over 10 months ago, taking on the mantle of team owner and conjuring a stunning transformation.

The enormity of his achievement was evident after Jenson Button crossed the line in fifth place at Interlagos to guarantee the drivers' crown for himself and the constructors' title for the team as Brawn broke down in tears when interviewed.

Such success was not without some pain along the way as Brawn was forced to cut jobs to save money following a management buyout.

Brawn, though, believes anyone who played a part in his team's salvation should feel a sense of pride after witnessing the achievements of the past eight months.

"The work and the commitment the team showed over the winter and throughout this season really has been sensational," said Brawn.

"I also want to thank everyone who has worked with the team over the years that couldn't be with us this season as we had to re-size at the start of it.

"My sincere thanks go out to them because they worked so hard and should feel a part of our success.

"I am so incredibly proud of the team and our drivers, and it's so very special to have won the constructors' and the drivers' titles in our first year as Brawn GP.

"The second half of the year has been tough after such a successful start but getting the results in the difficult times is what counts in a championship season.

"It's really going to take a while for what we have achieved to sink in."

Button produced an exceptional performance to finish as high as he did from 14th, in contrast to team-mate Rubens Barrichello who had started on pole in front of his home crowd, only to slip to eighth come the finish.

Brawn, though, praised both men for their effort and the spirit they have shown in battling one another almost down to the wire.

"Jenson is a fantastic racer and he had a great race, particularly after such a difficult qualifying," said Brawn.

"He knew what he had to do and did just that. He's a very deserving world champion.

"As for Rubens, he has made a fantastic contribution to this season without which we could not have won the constructors' championship.

"The spirit in which our drivers have fought for the championship makes me very proud. They have been a credit to the team and our sport."