In 2019, Mercedes remained the dominant marque in F1’s endlessly complex turbo-hybrid era.
But, this year also marked a decade since the miracle that was Brawn GP, the outfit that became the Silver Arrows earning its own world title double, including the 2009 drivers’ crown for Jenson Button.
Brawn grew from the ashes of Honda’s works team, formerly BAR - via a management buy-out, after the giant Japanese auto manufacturer pulled out at the end of 2008 as a result of the Global Financial Crisis.
An interim budget and engines from Mercedes getting it to the grid. And Button a last-minute drive - with low expectations.
SOUNDBITE (English) JENSON BUTTON, 2009 F1 WORLD CHAMPION: “You work hard for it but you've got to find yourself in the right place at the right time. Even if you're the best driver in the world and you're much better than everyone else it doesn't matter. If you don't have the equipment, you won't win.”
But, the BGP 001 was a world-beater complete with a double diffuser that was F1 2009’s must-have… Button securing six of the first seven races before a war with Red Bull in the season’s second half.
SOUNDBITE (English) NICK FRY, FORMER CEO, BRAWN GP: "In Formula One things move so quickly and the other teams have got such big resources compared with us we knew they were going to catch up. I mean it's going to be difficult for us and I can see this going down to the last four races but I hope we can be up there.”
However, Button secured the title in Brazil - with one round to go - a storming drive from 14th on the grid to fifth. A wobbly mid-season ending with triumph at Interlagos.
SOUNDBITE (English) JENSON BUTTON, 2009 F1 WORLD CHAMPION: “We were so far off the pace by the end of the season. We didn't have the funding that Mercedes has. We spent very little during the year so we didn't develop the car. It's dangerous to stand still in Formula One because everyone's improving the whole time. For us it was very difficult at the end of the year.”
It’s unlikely F1 will ever see the likes of a Brawn title double ever again, but the sport is hoping for more underdog success in the future with its brave new 2021 regulations.
And given the excitement of 2009, you’ve got to hope they succeed.