Mercedes chief admits F1 dominance lacking compared to legendary triumph

Oliver Harden
Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes

Lewis Hamilton celebrates with his Mercedes team after winning the 2018 Italian Grand Prix.

Andrew Shovlin admits nothing he has achieved in F1 with Mercedes has provided the same joy as Brawn GP’s fairytale triumph with Jenson Button in 2009.

Shovlin was Button’s race engineer at Brawn in 2009, when the former Honda team bought for just £1 by team principal Ross Brawn stormed to Drivers’ and Constructors’ World Championship success.

Mercedes stepped in to buy the team at the end of that season, putting the pieces in place for the Brackley-based outfit to achieve an unprecedented level of dominance in F1.

Mercedes success can’t match Brawn GP 2009 triumph

The Silver Arrows won a record eight Constructors’ titles following the introduction of F1’s V6 hybrid regulation in 2014, with Lewis Hamilton winning six of his record-equalling seven Drivers’ crowns with Mercedes and Nico Rosberg adding another in 2016.

Mercedes have struggled to hit the same heights since the ground effect rules were implemented at the start of 2022, with George Russell taking the team’s only win over the last two seasons at Interlagos – the same circuit where Button memorably clinched the 2009 title.

Appearing on Brawn: The Impossible Formula 1 Story, the Disney+ documentary based on the team’s title triumph, Shovlin – now Mercedes’ trackside engineering director – admitted he has been trying and failing to recapture the emotions of 2009 ever since. recommends

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He says: “I’ve spent the rest of my career trying to get that feeling back – and you can’t.

“It’s a once-in-a-lifetime feeling and almost nothing you can do beyond then, no matter how much success you have, will give you that feeling.”

Ahead of the documentary’s release last month, Button revealed he approached Christian Horner about a move to Red Bull during the period of uncertainty between Honda’s withdrawal in December 2008 and the birth of Brawn GP in early 2009.

Red Bull’s junior outfit Toro Rosso were the only team to have a seat unconfirmed at the time of Honda’s exit, with Button reaching out to Horner in a desperate search for a career lifeline.

Asked if he had any idea that Brawn GP would prove such a success, he told ITV’s This Morning show: “No, no. I tried to get out of it, because the team didn’t look like it was going to exist.

“So I asked around and my manager spoke to Christian Horner about a drive at his team and the junior team and they said: ‘No, all the contracts are done.’

“So then it’s like: ‘OK, well let’s work hard to make this happen.’”

Button went on to win six of the opening seven races of 2009 to take control of the title race, holding off a charge from Horner’s Red Bull in the second half of the season to beat Sebastian Vettel to the World Championship by 11 points.

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