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Page last updated at 08:50 GMT, Friday, 30 October 2009

Brawn 'confident' of strong 2010

By Sarah Holt
BBC Sport in Abu Dhabi

Jenson Button and Ross Brawn
Ross Brawn celebrates his team's success with Jenson Button

Ross Brawn believes his championship-winning team can carry their form into 2010 and be the team to beat again.

Brawn won the constructors' title in their debut season, a record, while Jenson Button took the drivers' crown.

Brawn told BBC Sport in an exclusive interview: "It's going to be far more difficult next season as by the second half of this year the teams caught up.

"But we've got every reason to believe we can be competitive. We are quietly confident about next year."

Brawn arose from the ashes of the former Honda team and their survival was secured less than a month before the start of the season following the Japanese giant's decision to quit F1 last December.

But despite minimal pre-season testing, Button led team-mate Rubens Barrichello to a one-two in the first race of the season in Melbourne and won six of the first seven races to lay the foundation for his title success.

We agreed with Jenson that we would leave things until the season had finished

Nick Fry
Brawn chief executive

Barrichello also took two victories - in Valencia and Monza - to help Brawn clinch the team title ahead of rivals Red Bull.

"I hope this is the year that we've put Brawn GP on the map; that 2009 is remembered as the year Brawn was born," Brawn said.

"We couldn't have had better results in order to create a future for the team. We are in a good position for next year."

After their dominant start to the season, Brawn have been overtaken by a number of other teams in the second part of the year.

But Brawn says the team's late rescue meant the car's performance was compromised.

Brawn had to make several alterations to their car design, which had been drafted with a Honda engine in mind.

The team had to modify the chassis and the gearbox after Mercedes agreed to supply their engines.

Brawn is optimistic that, because they will not have similar problems this winter, the 2010 car will be fully formed when it hits the track during pre-season testing.

ANDREW BENSON BLOG

"There were some heavy compromises with our car," explained Brawn. "Fitting the engine so late in the day brought those compromises - even though the engine is probably the best in Formula 1.

"We won't have to make those compromises next year.

"But there is also no opportunity with the new regulations - we took that opportunity (this year)."

As well as the restrictions on car design, Brawn were also forced to reduce the workforce from 750 to 450 to cut costs.

Honda's estimated 2008 spend in F1 was at least £210m but Brawn are operating on a much smaller budget - believed to be about 155m Euros (£139m).

After a lengthy dispute with Max Mosley, former president of governing body the FIA, the teams agreed to cut spending to "mid-'90s" levels.

And Brawn believes that his team have put themselves in a good position for the future by already running a slimmed-down operation.

The Brawn F1 car
Brawn's car won the title despite major design compromises

"There is a change coming in Formula 1 - it's downsizing," he said.

"We have 450 people now and other teams are still at the level that Honda were at last year.

"There may have been a period when numbers counted but by 2011 grand prix teams will be our size and so we've got every reason to believe we can be competitive - I'm looking forward to it."

Button was a key element in Brawn's 2009 success but the driver is out of contract at the end of the season.

The Englishman took a pay cut to help Brawn's survival and is understood to want an improved deal as world champion.

Button said in Abu Dhabi he would sit down with the team at the end of the season and Brawn chief executive Nick Fry said he was optimistic the 29-year-old would extend his deal.

"We agreed with Jenson that we would leave things until the season had finished," Fry said.

"But I'm pretty confident he will stay with the team - I'm 80% certain."

The interview with Ross Brawn will be shown in BBC Sport's F1 review programme. This will be broadcast on Saturday 7 November on BBC One at 1300 and on Sunday 8 November on BBC Three at 1900



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see also
How good is Button?
18 Oct 09 |  Formula 1
'We pushed Brawn as hard as we could'
21 Oct 09 |  Formula 1
Why Button is a worthy champion
19 Oct 09 |  Formula 1
Button enjoys absence of pressure
29 Oct 09 |  Formula 1
Brawn '99% sure' Button will stay
25 Oct 09 |  Formula 1
Button in frame for McLaren drive
23 Oct 09 |  Formula 1


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