h1

The Curious Case of Jenson Button

May 26, 2009

He’s done it again for the 5th time this season and was only a whisker away from the trifecta, losing out on the fastest lap to Massa by a mere few hundredths of a second.

Image courtesy of the telegraph.co.uk

Image courtesy of the telegraph.co.uk

Not only did Button stake his firm claim over the rights to the 2009 championship in Monaco, he even managed to sprint 400 metres in joyful exuberance to meet with Prince Albert after enduring what was 2 hours of the toughest racing on the planet – and all because he parked in the wrong spot.

Button thoroughly deserves everything he is winning and no one – least of all me, begrudges him any of the success he is obtaining.

Button’s pole to win in Monaco had WDC stamped all over it and has all but surely sealed everyone apart from his teammate Barrichello’s chances of spoiling the party. Somehow, I highly doubt the Brazilian has the motivation or the mindset to challenge for wins let alone championships and sadly, Rubens looks set to see out the rest of his distinguished F1 career as a rear gunner.

Say goodbye to the lovable Brazilian. I met him twice in 2006 over beers in Suzuka and both times he was quite annoyed at playing second fiddle to a certain German. Nothing but the nationality of his team mate has changed.

Next year Rubens will not be renewed and his place in the team will be taken by Bruno Senna who was given a year in the wings while the other three B’s sorted out the 2009 chassis. No doubt the 2010 chassis will be a cracker too.

In the race, Rubens claimed dirty air was to blame for the graining of his first set of options but Button went on ahead calmly and methodically staved out a gap that was never to be headed. Both Brawns, surprisingly, had started on the option super softs while the majority of the paddock were out on the prime tyre. I have noticed the 2009 Honda (Brawn F1) is surprisingly gentle on its tyres, not to mention very fast and very reliable and that is an ominous sign for the rest of the paddock.

4 wins from 5 races and 3 1-2’s is hugely significant.

This type of domination hasn’t been seen since the Ferrari F2002 and is miraculousness in action considering Brawn GP was nothing but a failed Honda dream that lost all power in 2008. Remember the F2002 took 16 from 20 wins in 2002/03.

The BGP-01 is already 4 from 5 and that is a simply massive thing to contemplate.

The “Power of dreams” in different more capable hands shall we say?

Toyota would do well to take a long hard look at Brawn GP and then sit down and think deeply about why they have failed, time and time and time again.

I have no doubt in my mind that freeing up Brawn from all the beauraucratic idiosyncracies that encapsulate the Japanese auto giant and it’s hard headed, honour and family bound managerial styles counted in a heavy way towards their success this year.

The best thing Honda could have done was to walk away from F1 as a manufacturer and support Brawn with the resurrection.

Honda were not of the mind set to win in F1 because they were stuck in the old ways of doing things and “old ways”, in F1 speak, equal the words slow and failure. The old ways have no business being in the cutting edge of F1.

Old people, yes – just take a look at Bernie Ecclestone and Sir Frank Williams. But not old ideas and old ways of thinking.

If you look into F1 history and reflect upon all of the achievements throughout it you will see F1 champions old and new who drove cars built by a certain team but powered by a Japanese manufacturer. Senna is a perfect example. Chassis by McLaren – Powerplant by Honda.

And it worked. Astonishingly well. The MP4-5, for example, was a revelation that nothing, not even the threat of mechanical failure, could prevent from winning almost every race.

McLaren chassis. Honda power.

This was the way it should be – just like the modern McLaren and Mercedes relationship is.

Mercedes doesn’t tell McLaren how to build a chassis and McLaren doesn’t tell Mercedes how to build an engine!

Someone, somewhere along the lines, forgot to translate this work ethos and idealogy into English for these boys and girls to behold.

Tragically, somewhere along the line, Japan forgot about where its place in F1 was and is now cursing the Gods and themselves…after fluishing billions of dollars down the drain and are now leaving the sport becuase they still cant figure out why they arent winning!

Utter madness.

Aguri Suzukis biggest hurdle and biggest paradox to success in F1 was down to one thing.

Honda.

With them things could be done. Without them, Aguri was toast and he couldnt bite the hands that fed him. When I bumped into him on his way to Melbourne in 2007, he seemed upbeat and resolute but I sensed something wasnt right. That may or may not have been down to me interupting his lunch to say hello!

Nevertheless, the point is clear. Japan cant succeed in F1 as a manufacturer.

Toyota is going to pull out and this has all but been confirmed by Max Mosley and Honda and Super Aguri are already yesterday’s news.

The sport will miss them but not for lack of trying – more for a lack of serious intent.

To sum up, the point is very clear.

Japan can never and will never succeed in any great way in F1 as a manufacturer.

History has shown that their greatest victories have always been won as a partner towards the greater cause.

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