That sure looks like a 2022 Formula 1 car, halo and all.
Formula 1's most successful team - with a 100% championship win rate - may return to the sport in 2026. Brawn GP, which won both the Driver's and Constructor's Championships in 2009, posted a cryptic, blurry photo to its official Twitter account suggesting a return to the sport is imminent.
Formula 1 appears to be at a new peak. F1-derived road cars like the AMG One are hitting the streets, new manufacturers are coming in, and new movies are coming from both Keanu Reeves and Brad Pitt. Reeves' movie is of relevance here, too, as his film will tell the story of Brawn GP, which holds the record of being the only team to have won every F1 Championship it has competed in.
The tweet, from a verified account that is the official Brawn GP account, showcases a blurry car in Brawn's green and white livery. But, if you look carefully, you'll see it's not the old car, but rather one that resembles the 2022 Red Bull Racing entry and even features a halo safety device. It's accompanied by the caption, "On this day in 2009 [Nov. 16], Brawn GP changed forever." November 16, 2009, was the day it was announced that Mercedes had bought a 75.1% stake in the team.
The account previously tweeted, "2026? See you there Audi," but that was before Audi announced a partnership with Sauber, putting paid to the concept of Audi partnering with Brawn.
So, the question remains, will Brawn return to the sport? Alternatively, is this merely a teaser for the Keanu Reeves film telling the story of the 2009 season?
To be honest, we're not sure. The blurry photo looks an awful lot more like the Red Bull of Max Verstappen (pictured above) than it does the original Brawn F1 entry, the 2009 BGP 001. Let's start with the sidepods, which look totally different from the car pictured above. They're also narrower, shaped differently, and placed inboard and above the wheels, like on the 2022 F1 cars. Other hints include front and rear wings that differ greatly from the 2009 car and what appears to be the halo safety device we mentioned earlier.
These are all grainy details on a photo that was originally just 300px wide. Perhaps the image is so distorted we're wrong. Perhaps not. But Porsche is still searching for an F1 partner, while sister company Audi has entered F1. Something's cooking.
But, there are a few reasons to doubt Brawn's return. For one, former team boss, majority stakeholder, and namesake of Brawn GP, Ross Brawn, is currently Managing Director of F1, having re-signed a contract with Liberty Media in 2021 to continue in his role indefinitely. It would be a massive conflict of interest for Brawn to field a team while in such a role, and one we're certain Liberty Media would not allow.
The possibility exists that Brawn could resign from his F1 role to restart the team, or that someone else might have bought the naming rights from him. Or, and we'll circle back to where we started here, maybe this is just a teaser for a documentary film. What are your theories?