Joan Villadelprat has suggested that the underlying reason behind Brawn GP's slump in competitiveness in the last two grands prix is the result of the funding beginning to run out – and things do not look a great deal more hopeful for the races to come, he fears.
Whilst chief rivals Red Bull
Racing have notched up dominant one-two finishes in Britain and Germany, over the same period long-time world championship leader Jenson Button
– a man who looked untouchable until very recently – has tallied a grand total of just seven points, and has seen his advantage at the top of the drivers' title chase whittled down to just 21 points with 80 remaining up for grabs between now and season's end, when he at one stage held a far more comfortable margin.
Though the Mercedes-powered BGP 001 has undeniably suffered in the cooler conditions experienced at Silverstone and the Nürburgring, former Tyrrell, Benetton and Prost team manager Villadelprat – whose own bid for an F1 entry slot in 2010 with Epsilon Euskadi was ultimately unsuccessful – reckons that for the former Honda F1 outfit, money, or rather a distinct lack thereof, is very much the root of all evil.
“For Brawn, the solitude and isolation since the departure of Honda is beginning to weigh,” the Spaniard wrote in his column for El Pais
, arguing that the Brackley-based concern has now entered the 'second phase' of its newly-independent career at the highest level.
“They have obtained some sponsors, but none of significance. Virgin's contribution is modest, and they have already announced they will not be around in the next campaign. This is a problem, because there is no money to invest in the car.
“Until now they have lived on the money of Honda; even the developments presented in Barcelona were financed by the Japanese. This slowness in improvements is noticeable now in comparison with the other teams, especially Red Bull.”
Villadelprat also expressed his view that the harmony and balance within the squad may no longer be what it once was, following Rubens Barrichello's well-publicised post-race outburst in the wake of the German Grand Prix
last weekend, in which the experienced Brazilian accused the team of 'making me lose the race'.