Back in 2009 we saw one of Britain’s favourite sportsmen, Jenson Button, take the Formula One Championship; making him the last winner before Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel began his long reign as World Champion.
You’d assume that four years on, still with the same team, he’d be at the front of the grid fighting for a championship again.
Unfortunately though, it seems the last few years haven’t been as kind to the British driver as we’d hoped.
Discomfort in 2014
Button has always been one of the most impressive drivers on the track throughout his career. As a household name and a respected sportsman, it’s difficult to pinpoint where it started to go wrong for the talented driver.
The 2014 season has seen retirements, poor qualifying and pace issues all plaguing Button continuously. It appears though that his teammate Kevin Magnussen is avoiding the same bad luck.
The rookie began running rings around the experienced Brit from the very beginning of the season. Magnussen came 2nd in Australia ahead of Button, making the Danish driver’s chances of a McLaren contract in 2015 much higher than his teammate.
This didn’t go unnoticed either as the discrepancy between the two drivers continued well into the season.
Not long before the British Grand Prix, McLaren boss Ron Dennis urged Button to “try harder” compared to his teammate, displaying a certain displeasure in his poorer performances this year.
He responded to Ron Dennis’ comment however, by proving he still has that talent that won him the championship five years ago. Qualifying third at the British Grand Prix and narrowly missing out on the third step of the podium, he proved he was still able to put up a fight.
Two races later also saw a dream come true for the experienced driver – rain. Jenson has always been a strong performer in this weather, but after the unfortunate tyre strategy mistakes made by the team, his shot at victory was quickly jeopardised.
Situations such as this make us question whether the pairing of Button and McLaren has reached it’s breaking point. And with news surfacing about team changes for next year’s season, Button’s career is very much up in the air.
Back in September an optimistic Jenson explained “I’m pretty happy I’ll be here next year, and I feel I’m doing a good job right now. I just have to sort Saturdays a bit more,”.
The End of The Road?
However, with the news of Sebastian Vettel moving to Ferrari, there could be an old spot for Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso to re-join McLaren. There’s also no denying that Alonso is performing much better this year, driving a car with significantly less power; he sits 6th in the Championship, one place ahead of Button.
Disregarding the statistics, there is a clear fighting spirit in Button that is yet to be extinguished by his somewhat substandard finishes this year.
“I am just doing my job, enjoying my racing, and I think l am doing a great job – especially on Sundays, when it counts.” He told Sky Sports News. “Off the circuit, as normal, I do exactly what l am asked to do and a lot more.”
This weekend Jenson once again proved his skill, finishing a respectable fourth and fighting up front not far behind Mercedes for a large part of the race.
He has made it clear he believes McLaren are the “best option” for 2015, but if the team sign another driver in his place, will this be the last year we see Button behind the wheel in Formula 1?
What do you think? Have your say in the comments section below.