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Jenson Button: 2009 F1 World Champion

By

Jenson Button Photo (c) Honda Racing F1 Team

Name:

Jenson Button

Born:

January 19, 1980 in Frome, England

Team:

McLaren Mercedes

Height:

6'

Weight:

151 lbs.

Hobbies:

Water sports, cycling, cars, music and skiing

Previous F1 Teams:

  • 2000 Williams
  • 2001 Benetton
  • 2002 Renault
  • 2003 - 2005 BAR Honda
  • 2006 - 2008 Honda
  • 2009 Brawn

Victories:

7

Background:

Jenson started go-karting at age eight and won several British national and international championships. He moved to cars at 18 and won the British Formula Ford series and the Formula Ford Festival, in his first year. In 1999 he raced in British Formula 3 and took third place, and was the rookie of the year.

His Career Thus Far:

Jenson was such a sensation in both karts and cars, that at 20 years old he was signed up for a season at the Williams team in Formula 1, then one of the top teams in the sport. He was the youngest British driver ever to race in F1. In only his second race, he finished sixth, at the Brazilian Grand Prix, to become the youngest driver ever to score a point. He finished the season in eighth position in the drivers' series.

After a year at Williams, Jenson joined the Benetton team in 2001 and stayed there for two seasons. Unfortunately, the team was in transition after being bought out by Renault, which it would be called in 2002, and Jenson scored only two points in his first season there. He then joined BAR Honda, with Jacques Villeneuve, the former world champion, as a teammate. In 2004 Jenson finally found his stride, as did the BAR team, and he scored 11 podiums and finished third in the championship. But his first victory still eluded him.

The Williams Scandal:

During the summer of that same 2004 season Jenson stunned his BAR Honda team by announcing that he would rejoin the Williams team for the following two years. Then Jenson decided he would not join Williams. In the end, Jenson paid his way out of Williams and signed a four year deal to race for Honda at $45 million per year.

Button Wins the World Championship:

The 2009 season began with Jenson having taken a gamble over the winter to stay with the team he had been at for several years, despite having offers from elsewhere. The team had suddenly lost the backing of the Honda car manufacturer as the company pulled out of Formula 1, citing the financial crisis. The team was now called Brawn, after the name of the team director, Ross Brawn, and a management buyout that saved the team from folding. But in an era of car manufacturer teams, the prospects for an independent on the verge of collapse looked very thin. Jenson made the right choice, however, as Brawn had produced a winning car. It looked to most like a miracle, but suddenly from a virtual has-been, Jenson went on to win six of the first races of the 2009 season. He then rode out the rest of the season with a commanding lead, to take the title one race before the end of the season.

Character:

Although Jenson gives off the impression of having a cool, laid back attitude to life and racing, the incident with Williams showed not only his level of ruthlessness to achieve what he wants, but also a certain acumen.

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