SEPANG, April 6 – Brawn GP have proved for a second race running that they are the new force in Formula One and there appears to be nothing Ferrari and McLaren can do about it.
The rookie team have now won the opening two races of the season, an amazing accomplishment given they were only formed last month from the ashes of Honda Racing.
"We are delighted to have had such a successful start to the season with two pole positions and two victories in the opening races," said team chief Ross Brawn after Jenson Button claimed the storm-hit Malaysian Grand Prix.
"You can’t ask for more than that and it is a credit to the talent, attitude and dedication of our team that we have been able to achieve such results."
Brawn are going from strength to strength with Button now boasting two wins and Rubens Barrichello a second and a fifth.
They lead the constructors’ championship with 25 points ahead of Toyota (16.5) and BMW Sauber (4.0).
Remarkably, the mighty Ferrari are one of only two teams yet to score, with the other being perennial backrunner Force India.
"We are very disappointed because once again we leave a circuit empty-handed," said Ferrari boss Stefano Domenicali.
"With hindsight, it is clear that we took some wrong decisions … clearly we have to extricate ourselves from this situation, without panicking, but with every one of us taking on our responsibilities.
"We have to dig deep and react, starting immediately."
McLaren, a team in turmoil after the Australian Grand Prix lying controversy that saw sporting director Dave Ryan suspended and sent home from Malaysia, only have one point, from Lewis Hamilton’s seventh in Malaysia.
Team boss Martin Whitmarsh, whose job could be under threat after the Melbourne fiasco, chose to praise Hamilton after Sunday’s race in Sepang rather than dwell on the team’s problems.
"As ever, Lewis’s ability shone brightly in the gathering gloom and the race brought another really impressive performance from him," he said.
"He kept his head throughout, and the result was a hard-earned point for seventh place. That may not sound like a great deal by our usually high standards — but given where he started, it’s a step in the right direction."
McLaren’s other driver, Heikki Kovalainen, failed to complete a lap in Malaysia, to go with his non-finish in Australia.
While Ferrari and McLaren struggle, teams like Toyota and BMW Sauber are cashing in.
Toyota, who like Brawn and Williams are using controversial rear diffusers that generate more downforce and hence better lap times, are keen to see their unexpected form continue at the Chinese Grand Prix on April 19.
"I am very proud of the team’s efforts because it is fantastic to get another podium and it shows how competitive we are this season," said Toyota team chief Tadashi Yamashina.
"It was an extremely challenging race for the team but everyone did their best and was professional even in those difficult conditions.
"We have shown again that we are really fighting at the front this season and I am obviously hoping we can continue this very good performance in the Chinese Grand Prix as well."