You will rarely hear a bad word said about Jenson Button. This is because, contrary to a lot of top-level competitive sportsmen, he is actually a nice guy. He is competitive and passionate but fair and composed, well-spoken and easy on the eyes. He does not indulge in public temper tantrums (for reference, see Fernando Alonso) and he is by many considered one of the best ambassadors the sport has had in decades. Yet, his professional Formula 1 career is probably nearing its end. He is currently the oldest and the most experienced driver on the grid, and when McLaren made the surprise decision to sign Fernando Alonso for their 2015 Honda powered season, this F1 fan was holding her breath in tense anticipation hoping the best but fearing the worst. Thankfully, Button was signed on for another year and if you aren’t excited about it yet, here are 5 reasons why you should be!
He is a former World Champion. You don’t get to be World Champion because you get lucky, you have to be good and Button won the World Championship while driving for Brawn GP in 2009. He brings a lot of experience to the grid, and along with other seasoned world champions such as Raikkönnen, fans are frequently treated to outstanding wheel-to-wheel action on this account.
He is the best in changing conditions. There is no arguing about his. Since his debut with Williams F1 back in 2000 he has out-smarted his fellow drivers with his superb skills in assessing the track during changing conditions. A shining example of this is found in Brazil 2013 and it is a given that when conditions are changing from wet to dry and back again, Button is the one to watch.
He is big in Japan. The Japanese Grand Prix is always quite an affair and the local fans tend to go all-out in showing their support, including wearing model F1 cars as hats and dressing up as drivers. Think “Luna Lovegood” at a Gryffindor quidditch match and you’re not far off. Sadly there’s no Japanese drivers on this year’s F1 grid and Button is, on account of his part-Japanese wife and long time spent in the country the closest thing to a local driver at this event. He has named his triathlon team “Ichiban” which means “first” in Japanese and have admitted to being inspired by the discipline and dedication he witnessed among professional sumo wrestlers.
He scores points. Consistently. One of the main discussion points which Button fans consistently pointed out in the post Alonso appointment kerfuffle was that despite Kevin Magnussen’s impressive first year in the sport he had not managed to outscore Button. True, Kevin did cash in a very important, not to mention impressive, podium but winning takes more than good results on the podium, it takes consistency. You cannot be successfully in Formula 1 unless you score points consistently, and as such landing on the podium once but retiring next races because of accidents/contact is much less valuable in the big picture than finishing in 5th or 6th position every race.
He looks like this.