Former Austrian F1 drivers Niki Lauda and Alex Wurz have suggested that Sebastian Vettel's dominant victory for Red Bull Racing in the British Grand Prix at the weekend could be a sign that the sands are beginning to shift in the 2009 F1 World Championship campaign, and that the tide is starting to turn against Jenson Button and Brawn GP.
Though the British combo have triumphed in six of the opening eight races – enabling Button to build up a handy 23-point advantage in the drivers' title standings over team-mate Rubens Barrichello approaching the halfway stage – Vettel and Red Bull's superiority at Silverstone was markèd, and his second triumph of the year has seen the young German close to within just two points of Barrichello in the chase for the crown.
Whilst Ross Brawn was quick to dismiss the result as merely a blip – contending that the high-speed turns and fast, flowing nature of the Northants circuit favoured the RB5 as much as the cool conditions over the course of the weekend penalised the BGP 001 – others have argued that the aerodynamic improvements brought to RBR's challenger have borne a significant effect, and have even possibly overturned the pecking order at the very front of the field.
“Nobody could hold a candle to him this weekend,” three-time F1 World Champion Lauda mused in an interview with Motorsport-Magazin.com
. “He didn't make a single error. You simply can't drive better than this – just perfect. If things carry on like this, we may have witnessed a turning-point in the title race, because the superiority of the modified Red Bull was incredible.”
One of the most notable additions to the Adrian Newey-designed contender at the 'Home of British Motor Racing' was the advent of a triple-diffuser, and Brawn GP test driver Wurz fears that could provide the energy drinks-backed outfit with a crucial advantage as the season heads into its second half.
“A super weekend – there was no catching him,” conceded the ex-Williams and Benetton ace. “Red Bull have shown just how fast they can go. In addition, Brawn GP have encountered a problem in getting the tyres up to optimum temperature.
“The team currently have a big lead, but when you are under pressure and no longer setting the pace at the front, things can quickly start to go downhill. There is every chance that the championship could turn around and the element of tension could be back for everyone involved.”