What a difference a year makes. It seems strange that just 12 months ago it appeared that Jenson Button’s F1 career was over. With the global economic crisis forcing Honda to withdraw, it left Button with an ultimatum: try and find a team in F1 willing to take a gamble, or join the long list of drivers who had dropped out of the sport.
Fortunately for the Brit and teammate Rubens Barrichello, the Brawn team came to the rescue giving the 29-year-old a place for the 2009 season.
At the beginning of the year no-one could have predicted that the Brawn team would be a potent force in this year’s campaign, or that the Brawn and Red Bull teams would dominate.
Before the start of the Australian Grand Prix the money was already on the usual suspects of Ferrari, McLaren, or BMW to take the top prize. However, the win in Australia undoubtedly changed everyone’s opinion of the British driver.
The fact that Button only retired from the Belgium race this year proves that he has developed as a driver and as a personality in the sport. When he started in 2000 for the Williams team he was viewed as a playboy, more interested in partying than winning races, and despite having a competent debut season it wasn’t particularly eye-catching one.
For most of us the memories of Jenson’s career are from his time driving for BAR/Honda, for whom he had varied success as a driver. In terms of championships his third place in 2004 was probably his most successful, before his triumph in this year’s campaign.
His spirited drive at Interlagos proves that he is a worthy champion in the sport. He may have only been the tenth British driver to win the crown, but he has undoubtedly paved the way for future British champions in the sport.
We might still have the United Arab Emirates to conclude this year’s championship, but Button’s performance has ultimately silenced every doubter and every critic of the experienced racer. Despite his last win being in Turkey, Button has shown throughout the season that you can succeed, provided you have a degree of luck and determination.
All that remains now is the prediction for 2010. Can Jenson Button be the first British driver to win back-to-back Formula One world titles? Watch this space.Tweet