Features Tales from the vault

December 2008 was a dark day for Honda F1 as the Japanese manufacture stopped its involvement in Formula One. It put 600 jobs at risk and nearly ended the careers of Jenson Button and Rubens Barrichello. But the team kept working with the engineers working on the cars while the management worked on a buyout of the team without being paid.

While the uncertainty of the future the engineers kept working away not known if they would race in the next season. But both drivers said you build us a car we will be there to drive it. It was really shocking for everyone fans, media and other teams when they hit the track for the Australian Grand Prix going to win pole and then a one two in the race.

This was the first time a team had won from pole since Mercedes in the 1954 French Grand Prix. A rain shortened race a week later in Malaysia gave the team the second win and broke a record that stood since Alfa Romeo won the first two races in 1950.

The magic resumed at round four in Bahrain where they took another followed by Spain, Monaco and Turkey. But, when the team got to Silverstone all their hard work looked to be coming undone with Red Bull leading the charge in the cool conditions. Red Bull also won in Germany.

Hungary Brawn GP made the headlines for the wrong reasons after a part fell of Rubens’s car hitting Felipe Massa in the head leaving him fighting for his life. He recovered to re-join the grid the next season. But, this laid the foundations for Michael Schumacher return has he offered to sit in for the Brazilian. He was unfit after an injury earlier in the year but didn’t stop him he would join what was Brawn GP for the following season.

European GP brawn bounced back with Rubens Barrichello taking his first win since 2004 Chinese GP. This proved that the team could only really perform in the warmer climate. But was a help for Rubens championships hopes.

After another setback for the team after a pile-up on the opening lap of the Belgian GP taking out the championship leader Jenson Button. But, this didn’t stop him he was still in control and he did bounce back in Monza finishing second to his team-mate. So this championship was swinging towards the team with the aid of McLaren holding of the Red Bulls in Singapore.

Suzuka was the chance of the team claiming the constructor’s championship if the team could score half a point they did after Nico Rosberg was given a penalty or not he was cleared after the final result.

So the championship could go down to Brazil a place where Lewis Hamilton, Kimi Raikkonen, Fernando Alonso settled it in the last four years. One year on from Lewis Hamilton’s dramatic last lap to steal the championship. Jenson fought through the field to claim fifth place that all he needed to secure the championship with Rubens Barrichello finishing first.

The dream for Jenson Button was done while team-boss Ross Brawn had won his eighth championship with a team. Breaking down this he said was special one team member said ‘I‘ve never seen so many men crying’. I remember the scene in Brazil team partying everyone was shocked with what happened that season.

Abu Dabhi was making its debut but it got everything right but the showdown between Button and Barrichello. It was a race where they would finish third and fourth. The team was sold to Mercedes for the next season with the Ross Brawn remaining a shareholder. Jenson went on to join McLaren and Rubens joined Williams.


Jack is responsible for the day-to-day running of Formula One Vault. He brings you all the brilliant content. Has an obsession with all things Formula One and anything with an engine.

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