Jenson Button life and biography

Jenson Button picture, image, poster

Jenson Button biography

Date of birth : 1980-01-19
Date of death : -
Birthplace : Frome, Somerset, England
Nationality : British
Category : Sports
Last modified : 2011-01-18
Credited as : Formula 1 driver, 2009 World Drivers' Champion,

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Jenson Button is a British Formula One driver currently signed to McLaren. He was the 2009 World Drivers' Champion.

Button began karting at age eight after his father bought him his first kart, and he made an extraordinarily successful start. He won all 34 races of the 1991 British Cadet Kart Championship and the title as well.

Further successes followed, including three triumphs in the British Open Kart Championship. In 1997 he became the youngest driver ever to win the European Super A Championship and won the Ayrton Senna Memorial Cup as well, precipitating a move into car racing.

Formula Ford
Aged 18, he contested the British Formula Ford Championship with Haywood Racing and won the title with nine race wins. He also triumphed in the Formula Ford Festival at Brands Hatch, ahead of future Indianapolis 500 winner Dan Wheldon.

At the end of 1998 he won the annual McLaren Autosport BRDC Young Driver Award. His prize included a test in a McLaren Formula One car, which he received at the end of the following year.

Formula Three
Button entered Formula Three in 1999 with the Promatecme team. He won three times - at Thruxton, Pembrey and Silverstone - and finished the season as top rookie driver.

He was third overall in the championship, behind Marc Hynes and Luciano Burti, and finished fifth and second respectively in the Marlboro Masters and Macau Grand Prix (0.035s behind winner Darren Manning in the latter).

Formula One
Williams


At the end of 1999 Button had his McLaren test prize at Silverstone, and also tested for the Prost team. A vacant race seat became available at Williams following the departure of Alessandro Zanardi, and team boss Frank Williams arranged a 'shoot-out' between Button and Formula 3000 racer Bruno Junqueira. Button won the seat.

He finished eighth in the 2000 Drivers' Championship, and proved his speed most notably with an impressive performance at the challenging Spa Francorchamps circuit, where he qualified 3rd and finished 4th. However, he made a number of rookie mistakes during the season, including crashing while under safety car conditions at Monza. Overall he showed great potential, but was outscored by his more experienced teammate, Ralf Schumacher.

Benetton and Renault


In 2001, although still under contract with Williams, Button drove for Benetton which had just been purchased by Renault. He had a dismal season; the car, which was constantly under development that year, was never fast, nor was Button. He did, however, place fifth at the German Grand Prix, but finished a disappointing seventeenth in the drivers championship.

In 2002 Renault renamed Benetton as Renault F1. Though his teammate Jarno Trulli routinely outpaced him in qualifying, Button had the superior race pace. He narrowly missed third place (and his first podium) at the Malaysian Grand Prix, being passed by Michael Schumacher in the last lap due to a suspension failure in his Renault, and ultimately finished the race in fourth. The Brazilian Grand Prix gave him another fourth place, and he finished seventh in that year's drivers championship.

For the 2003 season Renault team principal Flavio Briatore replaced Button with Fernando Alonso, previously test driver for the team. Despite a "huge outcry" Briatore stated "Time will tell if I am wrong." In 2005 Alonso won the Drivers' Championship with Renault, while Button had yet to win a race and was involved in his second contract dispute in two years. The Times quoted Briatore as saying "Jenson is a fine driver but there were too many contracts, too many things in the background."

BAR


After his replacement at Renault, in early 2003 Button joined the BAR team, alongside former World Champion Jacques Villeneuve. Contrary to press speculation, the two drivers had a good relationship, despite the former World Champion inadvertently spoiling a potential points finish during their first race together as teammates. However, as the season progressed, Button gained the upper hand in qualifying and also enjoyed better luck in races. Button's best result of the season was fourth place in Austria. However, he crashed heavily during Saturday practice in Monaco, causing him to miss both the race and the following testing session at Monza. By the end of the season, though, things were looking up, and at the 2003 United States Grand Prix Button led a lap for the first time. He finished ninth in the Drivers' Championship that year with 17 points.

In 2004, Button and BAR-Honda made significant progress and BAR finished the season second in the Constructors' Championship. Button scored his first ever podium finish with a third place in the Malaysian Grand Prix, and added more throughout the season.

Button and BAR's first pole position came in April at the 2004 San Marino Grand Prix, in which he finished second. He ended the season third overall, behind the two dominant Ferrari drivers, with 85 points.

Despite his success with BAR, on 5 August 2004 Button revealed he had signed for Williams for the next two years, sparking a controversial contract dispute. An apparent loophole in his BAR contract permitted him to leave if Honda's commitment to the team was in any doubt.

BAR boss David Richards fought to keep his driver, though Frank Williams maintained that the switch was entirely legal. The FIA Contract Recognition Board (CRB) held a hearing on October 16 in Milan, Italy, to determine Jenson's 2005 status, concluding that he was contracted to BAR-Honda for the 2005 season.

A poor start to the 2005 Formula One season included disqualification at the San Marino Grand Prix. Scrutinners found that the fuel system of the car 'hid' fuel, allowing the car to finish above minimum weight despite potentially being able to run lighter during the race. The ajudged contravention of the rules resulted in a two-race ban for the team, allowing him to make his television commentary debut, for ITV Sport in Monaco.

Button took the second pole position of his career at Montreal. However he started the race poorly, and crashed on lap 46 while in third place. Despite having to wait until the halfway point of the season to score his first World Championship point, things improved considerably towards the end of the year. After a fourth place finish at the 2005 French Grand Prix, Button placed himself second on the grid for his home grand prix at Silverstone. Unfortunately, another slow start saw him lose position, and poor race pace dropped him through the field to finish fifth

Button has always gone well at the Hockenheim circuit, and 2005 was no exception. He qualified his BAR-Honda in second place for the 2005 German Grand Prix, and then went on to finish third, his first podium finish of the season.

In 2005 Button again found himself the subject of contractual controversy. Despite having signed a contract to drive for the Williams team for 2006 he judged the likely prospects for that team to have declined, as their engine suppliers BMW had purchased the Sauber team and were to stop supplying engines to Williams. Frank Williams was adamant that the contract must be honoured despite Button claiming that circumstances had changed and he had a right to remain at BAR.

On 21 September 2005, BAR confirmed that Button would once again drive for them in 2006 (having bought out his contract from Williams for a reported $30m), where he would partner ex-Ferrari driver Rubens Barrichello .

Honda F1


At the start of the 2006 Formula One season, BAR Honda were fully purchased by Honda and became a full works team, changing its name to the Honda Racing F1 Team.

The 2006 season had both highs and lows - Button had a dismal race at home but took his first ever Grand Prix win in Hungary.

At the first round he scored five points with 4th place and finished on the podium in Malaysia. But in Australia his engine blew while running third, having started from pole position. He purposefully stopped short of the finish line to avoid an engine penalty.

The early part of the season proved difficult. At Monaco he qualified 14th and finished 11th. At his home race at Silverstone he qualified 19th after he lost time being weighed and his team failed to get him on track quickly enough. He spun off on lap eight due to an engine failure. At the 2006 Canadian Grand Prix, Button managed to out-qualify his teammate for the first time since Imola. However, after battling with David Coulthard in 8th, Button got passed by him and lost his chance for a point. Another retirement occurred at the 2006 United States Grand Prix when Jenson was one of several drivers eliminated in a first lap collision.

At the French Grand Prix, Button retired once more due to an engine failure. Qualifying for the German Grand Prix, however, brought a ray of sunshine into the bleak performance of qualifying this season. After a slightly shaky Q1, where he, once again, got pulled into the weighbridge - Jenson managed to get onto the second row of the grid with P4. After running for a while during the race in a strong P3, Jenson eventually finished back in P4.

Button took the first win of his career in 2006 at a chaotic Hungarian Grand Prix - the 113th Grand Prix start of his career. In doing so he overcame a 10-grid slot penalty for changing his engine (the second driver after Räikkönen to win a race despite this penalty), which meant he started 14th. The race was badly affected by heavy rain. Button passed a number of drivers in the early laps - including championship contender Michael Schumacher - and was up to fourth by lap 10. Following the retirement of leading drivers Kimi Räikkönen (accident) and Fernando Alonso (driveshaft failure) he went on to win the race by over 40 seconds from Pedro de la Rosa and Nick Heidfeld. Alonso was behind Button on the racetrack when he retired, although Button still had one pitstop to make. Button's win beats Nigel Mansell's 1989 win from 12th on the grid at the Hungaroring. Jenson Button was the first British driver to win since David Coulthard in March 2003 and the first English F1 driver to win since Johnny Herbert won the European Grand Prix in 1999. His victory came 13 years after Damon Hill won his first F1 race at the same circuit.

The Turkish Grand Prix held many expectations due to the previous race, and Jenson ended a strong 4th. The next three races, in Italy, China, and Japan all gave Jenson strong points positions with 4ths and 5ths. Over the last six races of the season, Button scored more points (35) than any other driver.

In 2007, Jenson again competed with the Honda Racing F1 team alongside Rubens Barrichello.

In late 2006, Jenson sustained two hairline fractures to his ribs, following a karting incident. This resulted in him not being able to take part in winter testing, prior to the 2007 season.

Former British world champion Damon Hill aired doubts over Button's hopes to be a championship contender at Honda over the coming season, saying, "if he is serious... he has to get himself in a car that is a championship contender." Alan Henry writing in The Guardian 2007 F1 season guide, predicted: "Button will win a couple more races but is not a title contender." He was proved to be wrong as the Honda car proved to be aerodynamically poor.

At the first race of the season in Australia Button only managed to qualify 14th after handling problems. The race was no better as he endured considerable understeer throughout, was given a drive-through penalty for speeding in the pit lane and finished 15th. The next two races in Malaysia and Bahrain were just as unsuccessful, Button finishing 12th behind team-mate Rubens Barrichello in Malaysia, and not even completing a lap in Bahrain after colliding with Red Bull Racing driver David Coulthard at the first corner. At the French Grand Prix Button finished eighth, earning his and Honda's first point of 2007.

Following the British Grand Prix, it was announced that he will remain with Honda for .

As Button's place as the pre-eminent British driver in F1 was usurped by Lewis Hamilton, former champion Nigel Mansell criticised Button, saying: "Jenson should have won more races, he has under-performed and that is down to him. He had the opportunity and he didn’t take it - there won’t be any more." Honda team boss Nick Fry defended his driver saying: "I would refute everything Nigel has said, and particularly I think his comments about Jenson’s reputation for partying are about five years out of date. People forget that Jenson made his F1 debut at the age of 20 - but he’s now 27. I’ve worked with him now for five years, and his increasing maturing and the way he changed his lifestyle is extremely noticeable."

In 2008 Jenson Button has been confirmed to stay with Honda for .


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