Jenson Button and Honda
Having made my somewhat optimistic prediction that Jenson Button will be World Champion next year (hope springs eternal…), I see that Autosport magazine has a report on Jenson’s thoughts regarding the Brazilian race. He says the usual things, bullish as all drivers are before a race, but one astounding fact caught my eye as I read the article:
The British driver has enjoyed a strong second end of the season, and has been the highest points scorer since the Hungarian Grand Prix. He has taken 29 points from Budapest onwards – compared to Fernando Alonso’s 26 and Michael Schumacher’s 27.
I admit that I would not have guessed at that fact and that it had nothing to do with my prediction. As a reflection of Honda’s improvement, it speaks volumes and suddenly my wild guess for next year does not seem quite so impossible. Perhaps I should listen to my instincts more often.
Of course, I realize that form at the end of a season does not necessarily indicate anything for the following year – witness my expectation that McLaren will have a very good season in 2007. But sometimes things do continue into a new season. Consider the Williams FW07 that was so good when introduced halfway through 1979 and then won the championship the following year.
Honda do not have quite the same perfect solution as was the FW07 but what they do have is experience of racing in many forms, a car that is beginning to attain its potential and that Japanese willingness to do anything and spend fortunes in the quest for success. I have the feeling that their time has come.
And then there’s Button. I know many Brits have despaired of him, their optimism worn thin through years of disappointment, but he has never had as good a chance as next year looks to be. He has proved that he can win races; now we shall see whether he has the stamina to win a championship.
Barrichello could be the fly in his ointment, it’s true. The battle to be fastest has swung like a pendulum between the two Honda drivers this year but it looks as though Button is beginning to ease ahead. Certainly he has better luck in the races and that’s where it counts.
So I’ll stick by my prediction and say, “Button for next year!”