A visibly emotional Ross Brawn was running out of superlatives not long after the end of this weekend's Australian Grand Prix, having witnessed his team – which a month ago didn't even officially exist – sweep to a resounding one-two victory in Melbourne.
As far as feel-good stories go, that of Brawn GP surely has to rank right up there with the best. Having been put up for sale by parent company Honda back in December, the Brackley-based outfit suffered an uncertain winter when it looked very much like the whole operation would wind up being shut down altogether – and then Brawn stepped in as its saviour with a management buy-out plan.
An unstinting work ethic over the last few months – allied to the earliest start of any Formula 1 team on its 2009 contender – subsequently saw the Mercedes-powered BGP 001 take to the test tracks late, but blindingly quick with it.
Having watched his team make its critics eat their words with a truly dominant performance Down Under by Jenson Button and Rubens Barrichello, former Ferrari tactical genius Brawn – the key mastermind behind all seven of the great Michael Schumacher's world championship triumphs – admitted that he was a happy man indeed.
“Stunning, absolutely stunning!” the overcome Englishman enthused. “With everything all our staff have been through, this is quite simply a sensational result. We have worked incredibly hard for this victory today, and to see the dedication, commitment and sheer hard work come to fruition with Jenson and Rubens bringing home a one-two finish for Brawn GP at the first race of the season is immensely rewarding.
“It is just the beginning for us and it wasn't a perfect race by any means, so we will learn from today and continue to improve. It wasn't that easy; there were times when we were having to look after things, and of course reliability was a worry because we hadn't done a race distance until today but we got two cars to the finish. Rubens had a problem at the start which meant he picked up some damage and the car wasn't in great shape.
“We have to keep developing the car throughout the season if we want to challenge for further wins and the championship. I would like to express our sincere thanks to Norbert Haug and Mercedes-Benz High Performance Engines, who have been so supportive over the past few months and have worked closely with the team to ensure we were in a position to go racing this year. Thanks also to Virgin, Henri Lloyd and all our team partners for having the vision to see what the team could do before today and wanting to be a part of it.
“It's difficult to put into words what this win means to our team, but I'm sure that I speak for every single one of them, here at the track and back at the factory in Brackley, when I say it has been a wonderful weekend. It's just unbelievable. It doesn't get much better than this.”
Brawn's feelings were echoed by team CEO Nick Fry – his partner in the management buy-out and a man who has been at the forefront of the squad for more than four years. The 52-year-old admitted that the reality of the situation after such a tough winter would take a while to sink in – and was full of praise for Button's faith in the cause and having stuck it out through both thick and thin.