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And he used to be such a nice, quiet boy

Now it’s official: Jenson Button is World F1 Champion

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Jenson world champion

After a lavish final Grand Prix in Abu Dhabi we can make it official:  Jenson Button is the 2009 F1 World Champion.  This is the high point of a career in F1 stretching back to 2000.  Jenson’s road to glory has been a long and hard one, starting with a year at Williams in 2000.

Several years with Renault followed, slowly gaining vital experience of the world of Formula 1.  In the early 2000’s he moved to what was then the Honda works team.

Jenson joined Honda at a funny time.  The Japanese company were busy experimenting with carbon neutral and earth friendly componants and fuels.  The end result was, unfortunately, a car that moved like a snail.  In spite of that Jenson won his first Grand Prix in 2007 in Hungary.

Apart from that brief break the dark clouds hung over Honda and the team eventually withdrew from Formula 1 at the end of 2008.  It was a shock for all involved in the Honda factory at Brackley, and it would have been all over if it had not been for one man.

Ross Brawn

Ross Brawn was a former Ferrari engineer, and a hugely experienced man.  He had joined Honda as team principle only a few years earlier.  In the middle of a dark recession he took the decision to find new backers and move the team forward.

His idea was not as crazy as it sounded.  He had a car design that he knew could win races, but he had been prevented from using it because of Honda’s fixation on carbon-neutral technology.  He found a few backers, and put a large sum of his own money into the new project.  Ross Brawn was very literally going for broke.

At the time Jenson was considered by many, including me, that he was a driver that was marking time.  He seemed to lack the fire that a winner needs.  But the vital experience he had gained would prove to tip the balance in his favour.  Rubens Barrachello stayed on as the second driver.  Barrachello was a veteran racer, but eternally the second fiddle.  Perhaps he was too easily cowed, or he lacked a certain edge.  But he was physically tough, resolute and he obeyed orders.

Brawn 001

At the start of 2009 a very surprised media reported that a new team would be racing in F1.  Hand-picked from the remains of the Honda team, the Brawn F1 team would race with a pristine white car broken up with flashed of lime green.  Nobody really expected them to be more than back-markers, there to make up numbers in a rapidly dwindling F1 grid.

In the first Grand Prix at Albert Park, to everybody’s amazement, they won.  Two weeks later, in a wet Malaysia, they won again.  In an even wetter Chinese Grand Prix, they came third.  Consecutive first places followed for Jenson in Bahrain, Spain, Monaco and Turkey.

Jenson @ Bahrain

From there they seemed to lose momentum a little bit.  The Red Bull team added new diffuser technology and soon caught up.  Other teams took wins also, Kimi Raikkonen for Ferrari and Lewis Hamilton for McLaren.  Even Rubens Barrachello took a win for Brawn.

Jenson, Helmet

But somehow Jenson managed to hold it together and finished the season with 11 points clear of his nearest rival, Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel.  He took the championship on a rain-soaked race Brazilian Grand Prix.  The final race of the season was more of an exhibition than a race, and it took place at the futuristic Abu Dhabi raceway.

So in all it is quite a season.  thrills, spills shocks and drama on and off the track.  I will write up a complete 2009 season review when I have a lot more time.  But for now let us be overjoyed that the F1 World Championship title has stayed in England.

Well done Jenson!


Written by Nick Gilmartin

November 2, 2009 at 12:14 pm

Posted in Motorsport

One Response

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  1. Found the photo of Piquet Jr. from your site. Nice to see other F1 bloggers out there. Check out my new blog “F1 Personality Viewpoint” where I focus solely on the players, not the stats and tech.


    January 6, 2010 at 11:47 pm

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