British racing fans have a new reason to watch Formula One this season, despite the low point that was reached when last year’s champion got caught up in an embarrassing scandal with the rest of the McLaren team, putting a cloud over the capital of motor racing. Well out with the new and in with the old, because Great Britain has a new favorite son. Jensen Button, the driver who couldn’t buy a win, and took a pay cut to ride in the Brawn GP chassis for 2009 has just set a record winning 6 of the first 7 races of the season after finishing first at the Turkish Grand Prix this past Sunday.
This is quite a turnaround for Button, who has driven Benettons, Renaults and quite a few Hondas. His previous highlights included finishing 3rd in the points behind the wheel of a BAR in 2004 before he had to wait until 2006 for his first win, also coming in a Honda this time at the Hungaroring. Until the start of this season, Jensen just wasn’t as fast as the rest of the Formula 1 field. So where did all this speed suddenly come from?
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However credit must also be given to the great racing strategist, Ross Brawn. Since taking full control of the ex-Honda F1 team, the Brawn GP squad has been unstoppable. Although we found out not invulnerable, with Rubens Barichello parking his Brawn GP car before all 58 laps were run. At the end of the race you could hear Brawn GP’s number 1 driver thanking the team for their efforts, and thanking the man for building this race winning car.
The combination of Button and Brawn has been around since 2007 after Ross Brawn joined Honda from Ferrari. Over the past two years the duo just couldn’t find the right combination of power and agility to make Button a race winning driver, but Brawn was so sure about the team’s 2009 entry that when Honda announced that they were leaving the sport, Ross Brawn personally took the reigns and hasn’t had to look back yet. This kind of instantaneous success is enough to make any race fan reconsider whether Ferrari’s F1 dominance in the 1990s was due more to the man behind the wheel, or the man sitting in the pit box.