Brawn: Red Bull, Mercedes could fall ‘flat on their faces’

Michelle Foster
Red Bull reflection on the Mercedes truck. Italy, September 2021.

The logo of Red Bull Racing reflects onto the Mercedes truck. Italy, September 2021.

Red Bull and Mercedes could fall “flat on their faces” this season having invested heavily in the 2021 championship fight, says Ross Brawn.

And they wouldn’t be the first to do so.

Back in 2008 McLaren and Ferrari went wheel-to-wheel for the Drivers’ title, Lewis Hamilton taking it with a last-lap-of-the-season pass on Timo Glock at the Brazilian Grand Prix to pip Felipe Massa by a single point.

Such was the intense between the two teams that for 28 seconds Massa was the World Champion, and then Hamilton made that crucial overtake.

The battle had a knock-on effect as, with new technical regulations in the play for 2009, Brawn GP, who had been able to commit their full resources to the changes, stole a march on their rivals with their double diffuser.

Brawn GP won the title, McLaren finishing third with just two wins and Ferrari P4 with only one race victory.

Brawn recalled: “In 2008, there was a big battle between two of the big teams and they rather fell flat on their faces when they got to 2009.

“I don’t think it will be that severe [this year]. I’m not predicting that but it is a very good point.

“And this is what’s going to happen going forward because you are going to have to balance your financial resource in each season against the following season.”

Lewis Hamilton and Felipe Massa at the title deciding 2008 Brazilian GP. Brazil November 2008

History that has the F1 managing director admitting the same could happen to Red Bull and Mercedes.

Both teams committed a lot of their resources to the 2021 championship fight, Max Verstappen claiming the Drivers’ title and Mercedes retaining the Constructors’.

Brawn reckons that could put both teams on the back foot this season as Formula 1 enters a new era with brand new technical regulations, billed as the biggest change in some 30 years.

“They could be impacted,” he said, but added that he suspects “both of them were very sensible in balancing their approach between ’21 and ’22.

“Some of the cost spend can be allocated from one year to the next, so some of the tooling and things you’re doing for ’22 which may be made in ’21 can be transferred.

“So there are various things that help in that respect but it’s also your people and the fact you’ve got your human resource devoted to fighting a very intense World Championship.


“Some of the teams further back haven’t had that consideration.

“I know there was a bit of a battle between McLaren and Ferrari but if I’d been Ferrari and McLaren, very early in the year I’d have been putting everything I could into ’22.”


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Mercedes and Red Bull could ‘fall flat on their faces’

Ross Brawn believes that Mercedes and Red Bull could fall flat on their faces this season after an intense battle in 2021