Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Jenson Button: A True World Champion

Jenson Button finally won his first F1 World Championship in his 10th season and his perseverance with the then Honda team finally paid off as Brawn dominated the season and helped him win the crown in style. Though there were lot of criticism that he was helped by driving a car which was better than any other car on the grid but unlike Hill’s win in 1996, the Brawn during the 2nd half of the season was not the best car on the grid. The likes of Red Bull and McLaren had improved a lot and at times even better than Brawn. Also the likes of Ferrari, Toyota and even Williams were nearly matching and in some circuits better than Brawn.

Rubens Barrichello his teammate who clearly was the better driver among the 2 in the 2nd half of the season should once again be unlucky to finish either 2nd or 3rd which used to be a norm during Schumacher and Ferrari’s dominance during the first half of this decade. Barrichello had the same car as Button, but he did not capitalize on the superiority of the car during the first half of the season and this result was key in Button winning the championship. Keke Rosberg won the title in 1982 by winning one race but he was consistent through the season and so far Button till the Brazilian GP has scored points in all races expect for the Belgian GP where he had to retire. You may not need to win the most races to win the championship but Button actually has won 6 out of the 16 races held so far and at one stage had won 6 out of the 7 possible races.

Thanks to a superlative first half where he had capitalized on the performance of Brawn, Jenson did not have to pull off a dare devil drive for the championship and all he had to do was to keep scoring points while his rivals took points off each other and he also benefitted from the revival of notable McLaren and to an lesser extend of that of Ferrari. Button has been in F1 long enough and though he started as a hot-shot rookie in Williams, he had been through a string of teams which includes Benetton, Renault, BAR, Honda and finally Brawn. The thing about Button was that he stuck around with BAR/Honda/Brawn for long enough and he had faith in them and it did pay off this year.

He won his first race during the 2006 season at the rain infested Hungarian GP and at one stage before that had the distinction of being the driver with most points without a win but now Nick Heidfeld has this distinction. Though he is a sort of playboy outside the track and does manage to attract some unwanted media attention, the wisest decision he made was to get off a Williams contract and he spend an estimated $30 million to buy off it and well to look back at things now, it could be one the best decisions he took in his career as Brawn looks all set to become a Mercedes backed works team post the 2012 season while Williams continues to languish in the mid-card since BMW pulled off its backing for the team.

Button has already said that he does not want to be a one hit champion and though his future for 2010 looks uncertain, he is most likely to continue in the Brawn team but don’t be too shocked or surprised if he drives for McLaren or even Toyota. Jenson Button has transformed himself from a rookie playboy racer to an elder statesman on the grid and though winning the title again may not be an easy task as both Ferrari and McLaren will be strong next season while Red Bull seems to get better every year. Also we just cannot discount either Renault or even Williams who can cause some trouble for the big teams. Button is a worthy champion and unlike his predecessor Jacques Villeneuve, Button should not blindly go after money and should drive for a team which can provide him with a car to fight for World Championships.

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