Whilst seeking to diffuse the incendiary situation in his characteristically measured, professional manner, Ross Brawn nonetheless managed to deliver a withering put-down to Rubens Barrichello's assertion that Brawn GP cost him victory in the German Grand Prix – arguing that 'you can't win a race, whatever strategy you have, if your best lap time is the eleventh-quickest'...
In an extraordinary post-race outburst at the Nürburgring, the most experienced driver in the top flight's history accused the ex-Honda F1 outfit of putting on 'a good show on how to lose a race', and insisted that he had no interest in 'talking to anyone in the team because I don't want to understand – it would be a lot of blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, and I don't want to hear that' [see separate story – click here
Having jumped Red Bull Racing pole-sitter Mark Webber at the start, the veteran Brazilian went on to lead for the opening 14 laps up until his first pit-stop of the grand prix, but he would fall back after getting caught up behind the long-running Ferrari of Felipe Massa and ceded further ground when a fuel rig glitch in his second stop dashed his idea of switching over from a three-stop strategy to just two.
The 37-year-old eventually faded away to sixth at the chequered flag, right in the wheel tracks of world championship-leading team-mate Jenson Button, who some suggest the Brackley-based operation has favoured from the word 'go' in 2009. Team principal Brawn, however – who similarly worked with Barrichello for six years at Ferrari from 2000 to 2005 – claimed the São Paulista would never have triumphed anyway.
“I don't think that's the case,” the Englishman opined in an interview with the BBC
. “I think when he sits down and looks at all the numbers, he'll realise we were too slow. There was no capacity to win the race; Mark had a drive-through, and was still back in front of us after a few laps. Rubens had the eleventh-fastest time in the race, and you can't win a race – whatever strategy you have – if your best lap time is the eleventh-quickest. It's not possible. Those are the facts.
“It wasn't a great race for us; we probably tried too hard to come up with a compensation for the lack of performance we had. If we'd been quicker we would have won the race – we were too slow. There were no decisions to make. Then we had the fuel rig problem with Rubens, which made it even worse; we fuelled him to get him in front of [Nico] Rosberg at his pit-stop, but when he came out he was behind Rosberg. Those things happen occasionally in the pit-lane. It was unfortunate and he's very frustrated, but so are we.
“We just weren't quick enough, and his radio wasn't great in the race – he was struggling with that, so the normal briefings we give him during the race of what's happening and how it's developing, he wasn't getting. When you're cocooned inside the car and the radio's not working, you don't get a full picture of what's going on.
“I think it's [just a case of] a frustrated racing driver. When you've put so much into a race and it hasn't worked out, that's what you get sometimes. If you get out of the car thinking you should have won the race, you haven't got all the facts and that can happen. I think once he's calmed down, got the facts and understands what happened, his view on things will be a little different and he'll be fine.”
Electing not to chastise Barrichello for having spoken his mind so publicly and vociferously – dismissing it as merely 'a passion some drivers have', even though fellow team owner Sir Frank Williams contended it deserved 'a red card' [see separate story – click here
] – Brawn did at least agree with the nine-time grand prix-winner that should there be many more repeats of the squad's German form, 'we're going to end up losing both championships'.
“I'll understand the whole situation first before we say anything,” affirmed the 54-year-old. “I want to have a look at exactly what he thought and said and be clear about the whole picture. Then we'll deal with it internally. In the heat of the moment, these things happen. Rubens has been a very important member of the team and he's stuck with the team in very difficult times. He has a lot of loyalty to the team, and that's not something you just throw away with a few frustrated words after a race.
“The problem we have is to get quicker, not what happened here. We're not quick enough and we have to respond, because if we don't we'll throw the championship away.”