McLaren and Ferrari paying for success says Brawn

Lewis Hamilton's under-performing McLaren team and struggling Formula One champions Ferrari are paying the price of past success, according to Ross Brawn.

The Brawn GP owner, whose team top both the drivers' and constructors' standings with two wins from two races, told reporters at the Malaysian Grand Prix that his rivals' difficulties were a direct result of last year's title battle.



"It is a reflection of what has gone on in the last year or two," said Brawn, the former Ferrari technical director who guided Michael Schumacher to seven titles with Benetton and the Maranello team.



"McLaren and Ferrari had a championship to fight over and I can understand that it was very difficult for them to say 'Look, we'll stop pushing this year and put our effort into next year'."



The sport has introduced major changes, with slick tyres and completely revised aerodynamics as well as the new KERS energy recovery system.



Instead of being able to carry over developments, designers have had to start with a clean slate and come up with new solutions.



Hamilton, the 24-year-old who last November became the sport's youngest champion after beating Ferrari rival Felipe Massa by a single point in the final race, has just one point to his credit so far in 2009.



While the Briton would have scored more had he not been stripped of third place in Australia for "deliberately misleading" stewards at a post-race enquiry, his team mate Heikki Kovalainen has yet to complete a lap.



Ferrari, who secured a record 16th constructors' championship last year, are last in the standings with no points - the Italian team's worst start since 1992.



While McLaren recognised before the start of the season that their car lacked pace, Ferrari have suffered some self-inflicted wounds.



At Sepang they kept Massa in the garage during the first session of qualifying, in the mistaken belief that his time was fast enough to take him through, and went too early in switching Kimi Raikkonen to full wets during the race.



Contrarily, those teams with uncompetitive cars last year, such as Brawn's now-departed predecessors Honda, started work on the 2009 versions much earlier than those fighting for the championship.



"For us it was a very easy decision. It wasn't a clever one, just a very easy one. We didn't have a very good car so why waste time on it?" said Brawn.



Brawn's team has also been helped by a controversial rear diffuser that rivals say goes against the spirit of the regulations and have protested.



Stewards in Australia and Malaysia have already declared cars fitted with the 'double-decker' rear diffuser legal, but an appeal court hearing scheduled next week in Paris could rein in pace-setting Brawn GP, along with Toyota and Williams.



Brawn, along with Briton Jenson Button, who led the team to victory at Sepang on Sunday after his triumph in the season opener in Melbourne the week before, expects McLaren and Ferrari to fight back strongly.



"They are both very strong and fantastic engineering companies so they will sort it out," said Brawn.



Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Fifa corruption: The 161-page dossier that exposes the organisation's dark heart

The 161-page dossier that exposes Fifa's dark heart

How did a group of corrupt officials turn football’s governing body into what was, in essence, a criminal enterprise? Chris Green and David Connett reveal all
Mediterranean migrant crisis: 'If Europe thinks bombing boats will stop smuggling, it will not. We will defend ourselves,' says Tripoli PM

Exclusive interview with Tripoli PM Khalifa al-Ghweil

'If Europe thinks bombing boats will stop smuggling, it will not. We will defend ourselves'
Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles: How the author foretold the Californian water crisis

Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles

How the author foretold the Californian water crisis
Chinese artist who posted funny image of President Xi Jinping facing five years in prison as authorities crackdown on dissent in the arts

Art attack

Chinese artist who posted funny image of President Xi Jinping facing five years in prison
Marc Jacobs is putting Cher in the limelight as the face of his latest campaign

Cher is the new face of Marc Jacobs

Alexander Fury explains why designers are turning to august stars to front their lines
Parents of six-year-old who beat leukaemia plan to climb Ben Nevis for cancer charity

'I'm climbing Ben Nevis for my daughter'

Karen Attwood's young daughter Yasmin beat cancer. Now her family is about to take on a new challenge - scaling Ben Nevis to help other children
10 best wedding gift ideas

It's that time of year again... 10 best wedding gift ideas

Forget that fancy toaster, we've gone off-list to find memorable gifts that will last a lifetime
Paul Scholes column: With the Premier League over for another year, here are my end of season awards

Paul Scholes column

With the Premier League over for another year, here are my end of season awards
Heysel disaster 30th anniversary: Liverpool have seen too much tragedy to forget fateful day in Belgium

Liverpool have seen too much tragedy to forget Heysel

Thirty years ago, 39 fans waiting to watch a European Cup final died as a result of a fatal cocktail of circumstances. Ian Herbert looks at how a club dealt with this tragedy
Amir Khan vs Chris Algieri: Khan’s audition for Floyd Mayweather may turn into a no-win situation, says Frank Warren

Khan’s audition for Mayweather may turn into a no-win situation

The Bolton fighter could be damned if he dazzles and damned if he doesn’t against Algieri, the man last seen being decked six times by Pacquiao, says Frank Warren
Blundering Tony Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

Blundering Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

For Arabs – and for Britons who lost their loved ones in his shambolic war in Iraq – his appointment was an insult, says Robert Fisk
Fifa corruption arrests: All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue

Fifa corruption arrests

All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue, says Ian Herbert
Isis in Syria: The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of President Assad and militant fighters

The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of Assad and Isis

In Syrian Kurdish cantons along the Turkish border, the progressive aims of the 2011 uprising are being enacted despite the war. Patrick Cockburn returns to Amuda
How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields: Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape the US

How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields

Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape to the US
Stephen Mangan interview: From posh buffoon to pregnant dad, the actor has quite a range

How Stephen Mangan got his range

Posh buffoon, hapless writer, pregnant dad - Mangan is certainly a versatile actor