- Jenson Button
The highs and lows in the making of a champion
Jenson Button has had to fight for his Formula One world title... and not just this season, either. His entire F1 career has been framed by his determination to overcome the obstacles placed in his path, and as such it seems fitting that his ultimate championship success should come at the end of a season which had, at its start, seen the Englishman staring unemployment in the face.
"I suppose my second year in F1 was the toughest personally," he said following his championship win. "After my first year it wasn't enjoyable. It was enjoyable at Williams and we got great results, but I really didn't work hard enough. Basically I was too inexperienced and too young to be racing. The second and third years of my career were very difficult, especially my second. That is when I knew it wasn't just speed, you can't win races with just that. You need to work on many different areas and F1 becomes your life. That was the most difficult season.
"I didn't know where my career was going then. "The only other time was last year. During the season was tough; we could not get performance out of the car but I knew I could work that out. It was the winter that was very difficult.
"Don't feel sorry for me because it has all come good, but it was a tough winter. Tougher for the team than it was for me for sure. I didn't know if I would be racing in F1 this year, and that is the truth.
"I had a few options but nothing that would have furthered my career, so I was thinking about taking a year out. But if you do that you get forgotten as many drivers have so I am happy we were able to turn it around and get the car on the grid in Australia and this is the end of the fairy tale."
It is a fairy tale indeed. Brawn's story is one thing, but Jenson Button's history is something else altogether. From being the youngest driver to score points in the history of F1 on only his second outing for the Williams team in 2000, through his monster shunt in Monaco three years later, through the highs of his first race win to the lows of being handed two P45s in his first three seasons in F1...
Jenson Button's career has been a true rollercoaster of emotion. It's what has made him the man that he is, the driver he is, and the deserving champion that he now is. Rarely has there been another driver who has had to fight so hard for a championship over his career, and rarely has there been a champion who will be a better ambassador for the sport.
Congratulations JB, from all of us. It's been a long way to the top, but we're all delighted you've made it through the good times and bad, to take your place alongside the legends of this sport as Formula One World Champion.
This article originally appeared in GP Week on October 26, 2009. Click here to sign up to GP Week.