Brackley, Friday: Almost-new Formula One team Brawn GP have announced a partnership with Welsh brewery Brains, as the team’s car made its first foray onto the track today.
The team, run by former Ferrari technical director Ross Brawn and resurrected from the remains of the departing Honda outfit, announced its survival earlier in the week and today revealed its 2009 driver line-up, new car and title sponsor.
As expected, Jenson Button and Rubens Barrichello will drive the BGP 001 this season, but the revelation of the team’s name: “Brains Brawn GP,” has come as a surprise to some. The Cardiff beer manufacturer has long sponsored the Welsh Rugby Union with its SA brand (we asked a man in Brynmawr what SA stood for and he said “Skull Attack”), but this represents their first involvement in motorsports.
The surprising choice of title sponsor has led some to believe that a purported deal with Emirates, supposedly close to completion when Honda announced their withdrawal from F1 in November, was fabricated just like most of the rest of the stories surrounding the team over the winter. Some sceptics have even expressed doubts that the BGP 001 even exists, with rumours circulating that elaborate use of Photoshop has replaced actual work in the team’s Brackley factory.
In a statement to the media today, a spokesman for Brawn GP revealed that Brains was not the squad’s first choice of title sponsor: “We were trying to do a deal with razor manufacturers Braun, but unfortunately it fell through. In any case, the joke would have been lost on our German-speaking backers and fans, as they pronounce the word braun properly.”
This is not the first time that potentially amusing team names have been scuppered by failed sponsorship deals – Renault was on the verge of announcing fashion company French Connection as a sponsor alongside Dutch bank ING at the beginning of 2007 before the retail group withdrew its support. The FCUK ING Renault of 2007 never raced, though the actual car was often described in a similar way by its drivers.