Alan Henry looks back at Jenson Button's maiden F1 title win - full hi-res gallery
26 December 2009

Jenson Button spent the first half of the 2009 F1 world championship season making sure he won the title. And then spent the second half struggling to make sure he didn't lose it.

The record books, sure enough, show that he led from the very first race, winning six of the first seven grands prix to build up what turned out to be an unassailable lead. But from Turkey onwards he failed to win another race, his Brawn BGP001 forced to fend off an increasingly formidable challenge not only from the Red Bulls of Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber but also his own team-mate, Rubens Barrichello.

Assessing the magnitude of the Brawn team’s achievement depends to a very large extent on how you regard their Phoenix-like emergence from the ashes of Honda Racing. Barely a month before the start of the season, it was not certain that Button and the Brackley brigade would even be taking part in any racing.

On the other hand, you could say that Honda sacrificed the second half of 2008 to make sure they had a winning car in 2009. And then bequeathed that design and its aerodynamic excellence to new owners Ross Brawn and Nick Fry.

The Brawn-Mercedes – along with rivals Williams and Toyota – opted to use the big aero tweak of the season: the controversial ‘double diffuser’. This aerodynamic appendage was given the green light by the FIA at a court of appeal hearing early in the year, leaving most of the other teams – McLaren included – playing catch-up.

In a sense the team most disadvantaged by the FIA’s judgement was Red Bull, whose tech chief, Adrian Newey, had configured his latest Renault-engined contender with pullrod rear suspension, a choice he admits he would not have made had he believed the double diffuser option would be deemed in conformity with the rules by the powers that be.

So Jenson had a brilliant car – the best – at the wheel of which to demonstrate his Prost/Schumacher-style shimmering precision at the wheel during the first half of the season. He then went through a phase when he tried to drive tactically and tentatively, which didn’t really work. But the final two races – Brazil and the multi-million-dollar Abu Dhabi extravaganza – saw Button back on his brilliant original form.

Button’s title success meant that we were celebrating back-to-back British world champions, although outgoing title-holder Lewis Hamilton struggled with a very difficult McLaren-Mercedes for the first part of the year. Once that was rectified, he was back to his old form again, but if you had to pick a future world champion from those who have yet to win the title, you couldn't look past Sebastian Vettel. He surely will become ranked as among the great ones.

Final driver standings:

1. Jenson Button Brawn-Mercedes 952. Sebastian Vettel RBR-Renault 843. Rubens Barrichello Brawn-Mercedes 774. Mark Webber RBR-Renault 69.55. Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 496. Kimi Räikkönen Ferrari 487. Nico Rosberg Williams-Toyota 34.58. Jarno Trulli Toyota 32.59. Fernando Alonso Renault 2610. Timo Glock Toyota 2411. Felipe Massa Ferrari 2212. Heikki Kovalainen McLaren-Mercedes 2213. Nick Heidfeld BMW Sauber 1914. Robert Kubica BMW Sauber 1715. Giancarlo Fisichella Ferrari 816. Sebastien Buemi STR-Ferrari 617. Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 518. Kamui Kobayashi Toyota 319. Sebastien Bourdais STR-Ferrari 220. Kazuki Nakajima Williams-Toyota 021. Nelson Piquet Renault 022. Vitantonio Liuzzi Force India-Mercedes 023. Romain Grosjean Renault 024. Jaime Alguersuari STR-Ferrari 025. Luca Badoer Ferrari 0

Final constructor standings

1. Brawn-Mercedes 1722. RBR-Renault 153.53. McLaren-Mercedes 714. Ferrari 705. Toyota 59.56. BMW Sauber 367. Williams-Toyota 34.58. Renault 269. Force India-Mercedes 1310. STR-Ferrari 8

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Comments
3

26 December 2009

MUTTON won the 2009 title because he was VERY lucky.

June 2008 Honda virtually stopped ALL DEVELOPMENT of the woeful RA108 to fully concentrate on the radical 2009 spec machine when the top teams resources where tied up in the 08 campaign. This gave Brawn a huge advantage going into the new season.

Brawn then purchases the team after Honda pulls out. Using the guaranteed financial support from Honda he took the rebadged ready built 2009 car and added a customer Mercedes engine plus extras such as the diffusers and voila brawn looks like a genius dominating the first half of the season with his "new" team. Until silverstone that is when the other teams finally caught up.

order is restored after the britishGP but its to late for the other teams to challenge for the titles. Hamilton scored more points with 2 wins and 2 podiums during the 2nd half of the season whilst mutton only managed 1 podium in abudhabi proved that.

You claim that buttons great driving skill won him the wdc but i disagree. He was humiliated by a rookie driver named Kamui Kobayashi who has NEVER raced F1 machinery competitively, in his first ever F1 race he managed to keep the overachieving Brit behind him for numerous laps in Brazil and overtook him fair and square in abu dhabi.

HONDAS MILLIONS PLUS ROSS BRAWN'S DIFFUSER WON THE TITLE. NOT LAZY MUTTON who should publicly thank Honda for his trophy girlfriend and the continued technical and financial support they gave to his team .

26 December 2009

You're very bitter. He was lucky that the team survived. Button won because he scored the most points. He did it in a car that was declared legal. Early on in the development Ross Brawn had said to FOTA there was a grey area in the rules on diffusers and was ignored. He took advantage of the headstart the car had and made no mistakes in the races all year. Brwan failed to develop the car and the other teams caught up. If the car suits him, Button is quick, it did and he won. Button won more races, scored the most points, end off

26 December 2009

Nimmier you obviously know nothing about F1. I don't even know where to start. The Honda/Brawn was developed early, but so was the BMW the Renaults and the Red Bull's in fact it was only McLaren and Ferrari that compromised '09 to develop the '08 cars. The double diffuser was also thought of by Williams and Toyota, did they win? In fact the front wing proved to be one of the biggest performance areas and Brawn realised this before most, they now admit that the diffuser was a nice red herring that kept teams from prying into other areas of the car.

The switch to the Mercedes engine was a huge challenge, they had to cut the chassis and add a lot of weight on both the monocoque and gearbox to accept it. They fact is that the car was a brilliant design and the team happened to find the engineering solutions that worked when others around with a lot more money didn't.

As for Button he is a worthy champion, he won as many races as most others have in thier championship year. He made some amazing overtaking moves all year long. Button made the least mistakes and scored the most points, simples!

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