If Jenson Button doesn’t deserve the 2009 championship no-one else does

Will Jenson Button be number one at the end of the season?

Will Jenson Button be number one at the end of the season?

I’ve followed the debate about whether Jenson Button deserves to win the championship this year with great interest.

His lacklustre scoring rate in the second half of the season – compared to his brilliant beginning – has caused some to ask whether he really deserves to be champion.

But what I’m yet to read is a truly convincing argument why either of his rivals, Rubens Barrichello and Sebastian Vettel, deserve it more. The simple reason is that they don’t.

Rubens Barrichello

They case against Barrichello is pretty clear: he’s got the same car as Button yet he’s scored 14 fewer points and won four fewer races with it. Dig a little deeper into the stats and we also find Button has led more than twice as many laps as his team mate – 280 versus 105.

Barrichello has had a good run of results recently but he’s thrown points away too with poor starts at Melbourne, Istanbul and Spa.

As with his team mate, reliability has generally been kind to Barrichello. The spring he lost in qualifying at the Hungaroring doomed him to 12th on the grid, and an over-stressed gearbox (which was still good enough for a win at Monza) cost him five places on the grid at Singapore.

On at least two occasions Barrichello has complained that strategy cost him points to Button. His infamous outburst at the Nurburgring came after a fuel rig problem left him behind his team mate – unfortunate, but nothing sinister. Spain was the odd one, where Barrichello’s team chose not to cover Button’s switch to a two-stop strategy, leaving Barrichello vulnerable on a three-stopper.

Since Istanbul, Button has neither won a race nor out-qualified Barrichello (except in Hungary). Though it would be silly to pretend this is anything other than poor form on the championship leaders’ part, the bald facts are Barrichello has not done enough to overhaul him and that is largely down to his form in the first half of the season.

Sebastian Vettel

Vettel arguably has a stronger claim to championship worthiness than Barrichello – he is only two points behind the Brazilian driver despite having several engine failures including two at the European Grand Prix weekend.

But Vettel, too, has made the kind of mistakes Button has avoided. He will be ruing his tangle with Robert Kubica at Melbourne, where he could have settled for six points and not had a grid penalty for the following race. He crashed at Monaco and gave the lead away to Button at the start in Istanbul (he was probably never going to win that one anyway – but his error left him behind Mark Webber, and there went another two points).

Also, Vettel has not yet shown he can fight his way to a win. Dominating a race from pole position is all well and good, but Button’s most impressive wins this year came when he made critical passes early on. While he made short work of Lewis Hamilton at Bahrain, Vettel remained stuck behind the McLaren.

One of the greats?

Appropriately, Button’s route to the title reminds you of the champion whose driving style he closely imitates: Alain Prost. The modern points system was just made for Prost, who was unfailingly consistent, always there at the end of the race, collecting precious points.

It isn’t an exciting way to win a championship but it is the logical, tactical way to do it – and Button is doing it very well. It’s exactly what many people in the last two seasons criticised Hamilton for not doing: staying out of trouble and making sure he’s there when the chequered flag comes out.

Button may well go on to win the championship with no more than the two sixth places he now needs to do it. That’s the way championships are decided these days and you can hardly blame him for sticking to it.

But some championship victories are more impressive than others and, whoever wins this year’s title, for me it won’t be as impressive as Fernando Alonso’s defeat of Michael Schumacher in 2006, or Ayrton Senna holding back Nigel Mansell in 1991.

But by all means tell me if you think I’m wrong. Does anyone deserve this championship more than Jenson Button does? Leave a comment below.

The championship battle

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205 comments on If Jenson Button doesn’t deserve the 2009 championship no-one else does

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  1. clevo said on 14th October 2009, 15:10

    I was just speaking to Mp4-19b and he feels that Alonso definitely deserves the title more than Button. In his opinion Alonso has consistently been getting 0.6 secs more out of his Renault than anyone else could. Plus Alonso has always outscored his teammates despite not being favoured by the team in any way.
    /sarcasm
    Just kidding Mp4-19b

    • luigismen said on 14th October 2009, 15:25

      lol.
      Yeah, there’s no doubt Mp4-19b will be routing for Alonso this weekend, and hoping for many wins to his name with ferrari…
      It’s ok Mp4-19b, I don’t like Alonso either

      • mp4-19b said on 14th October 2009, 16:00

        The only way Button can put can end to this debate is by winning the next two races in style. His performance since turkey has been lackluster to say the least. He has to win these two races. Or else he’ll be considered a “Half-Champion” for years to come.

        And I’ll support Alonso when Hell freezes over ;)

        • mp4-19b said on 14th October 2009, 16:11

          Forgot to add. I still think Button deserves the title more than anyone else. But what saddens me most is that Button from being a lion at the start of the season is being perceived as a hen now. Nobody likes an exponentially decaying curve. We can sum up Button’s championship mathematically:

          (dN/dT)=-λN

          Doesn’t sound good, does it?

        • Jon Finn said on 14th October 2009, 17:14

          he’ll be considered a “Half-Champion” for years to come.

          not by many I expect. WDC is WDC simple as that.
          He’s probably going to take the title and if he does he has earned it and tbh anyone putting down a WDC like that never fails to come across as bitter.
          Most seasons the WDC gets criticised by some as being undeserving for one reason or another but it reflects more on those doing the criticising than it does on the WDC in the end.

          • I agree with Kieth and Jon Finn. If Button wins, people will quickly forget the “hen” style driving and many will say it was brilliant to sit back and score points, or that he learned from Lewis’ mistakes.

            However, if he doesn’t win, he will go down is F1 history as a joke (i hope this doesn’t happen). Lewis was able to say it was a rookie mistake in 2007….Jenson will have NO excuse.

            Rubens will avoid ridicule with his second half of the season performances and especially if he performs really well in the last 2 and almost catches Jenson….

            Vettel has nothing to worry about….other than learning how to pass….

    • sato113 said on 14th October 2009, 18:34

      yeah but Alonso isn’t anywhere near the amount of points the top three have! I htink keith is talking only about bar, vet and but.

      • I agree with the title. If Button doesn’t deserve, it, nobody does. Yes, whoever wins “deserves” it, but they won’t be on the same level as any of the recent champions (Hamilton, Raikkonen, Alonso, Schumacher, Hakkinen.)

        • Senor Paz said on 15th October 2009, 0:02

          Keith,

          I completely agree with everything, except the following statement:

          ‘As with his team mate, reliability has generally been kind to Barrichello’

          It is unfair to imply they have had a similar run with reliability. Button’s car has been near perfect all season, whereas Barrichello has had the two problems you mentioned… which definitely have cost him extremely valuable points. Plus the strategy happenings in Spain and Germany were just bad luck, unpredictable things that that come with racing. On the flip side of the coin, however, I don’t think anyone can disagree Jenson has had plenty of good fortune this season.

          This is not to take away his merits. He is undoubtedly the most deserving driver for this year’s title. His damage limitation exercises have been quite impressive in the second half of the season, with risky early overtaking manouvres (particularly against KERS cars) that made huge contributions to his current situation in the points. Hats off.

    • Martin said on 14th October 2009, 23:05

      Touche’

    • F2000 said on 18th October 2009, 7:03

      Button won more races but only when brawn was on top
      1-ºhe disappeared a third of season
      2º-Barrichello and all other drivers had more mechanical issues
      3º-Barrichello has been better throughout the season if he didnt had so many mechanical failures
      4º-Button doenst perform he is like Prost Boring

  2. lionfan99 said on 14th October 2009, 15:13

    The driver with the most points at the end of the season deserves to be the WDC. End of story.

    • James said on 14th October 2009, 15:21

      Spot on.

      Jenson has scored points in every race barring one, in which he was taken out by a newbie. Butotn probably wouldnt have scored in Belgium, perhaps a point or two at best, but the fact is, he has scored at every race possible.

      People need to remember that this season is a bit surreal for Button (and indeed the fans). Button hasnt won or lead a championship for a long time, before the start of the season, he would have been out on his arse and yet here he is on the brink of joining the greats.

      He deserves the championship. He stuck with the team in the winter when things looked bleak – despite having offers from other teams. He hasnt had what can be called a race winning, competitive car at all in his career (Ferrari, Mclaren and Renault buggered him there).

      I think the people that dont want Button to win are those that are disappointed it isnt one of the usual suspects!

      • Achilles said on 14th October 2009, 18:11

        Completely agree, James, this c’ship is like many others before it, cracking start, mediocre middle, crowd-pullin’ end….mmm seems a little contrived, but hey, when Mansell walked it, or schumi, the last races were less exciting, not to mention poor Bernie’s viewing figures….lol.

      • Martin said on 14th October 2009, 23:13

        It isnt like he had a real choice to go to another team as most considered him a mediocre driver. It was only after he took the first 6 of 7 races that everyone was licking his feet.
        I believe he has drove consistent, not great since monaco but consistent. He made a choice that when he couldnt compete at the front he drove for points, and that was a mark of maturity and what a champion does.

    • Mussolini's Pet Cat said on 14th October 2009, 16:35

      lion, it’s a simple statement, and totally true.

    • Tiomkin said on 14th October 2009, 17:30

      Couldn’t have said it better. The man with most points deserves to be the champ, because he has the most points.

      end of.

    • S Hughes said on 14th October 2009, 18:02

      That’s a very pedestrian, meaningless comment, but one I’ve seen many times.

      • No, not really S Hughes. The season is long and people tend to forget the early races. Button has outscored his opponents and if he wins, it’s because of the first 7 races, not the last.

        The reason people are saying obvious statements like “the one with the most points deserves to be WDC” is because of ridiculous statements like “he will be remembered as a Half-Champion”.

        You don’t get to be WDC by being a lousy driver…end of story.

      • Patrickl said on 14th October 2009, 18:54

        Indeed. It’s overly simplistic.

        It’s the reasons WHY a driver has the most points at the end of the season that determines if he’s worth it.

        The result of a race is for the most part determined by the car. So a far less competent driver can beat a WDC simply by driving a faster car.

        If for instance Barrichello was a much better driver than Button, but he had had a lot of mechanical problems then obviously Button would not really have deserved that title. It would have been handed to him by luck.

        I do think Button is worthy of the WDC, but to say that that would be true simply because he has more points is annoyingly oversimplifying things. It’s a lame copout to prevent having to explain your opinion.

        • But why did he have worse reliability? You could argue that an over aggressive driving style would dispose a driver to being more likely having problems. Something that was often levelled at Mansell. We know Button is very smooth and maybe this is why he has faired better than Barrichello.

          Conversely Newey cars are often seen as brittle, so maybe Vetall is better than he has shown.

          There are many other ways we could assess who is the best. However all of this is pointless as the chosen measure of almost all motorsport is points. After all if F1 were a popularity contest I doubt Schumacher would have won as many championships

        • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 14th October 2009, 21:54

          I do think Button is worthy of the WDC, but to say that that would be true simply because he has more points is annoyingly oversimplifying things. It’s a lame copout to prevent having to explain your opinion.

          Yep I agree. We get into the really meaty part of the question by asking when did a driver who didn’t score the most points deserve the title more than the person who did?

          • Senor Paz said on 15th October 2009, 0:14

            Easy.

            Senna 1989
            Hamilton 2007
            Massa 2008

            Just to name the most memorable ones I can remember watching…

  3. Steph90 said on 14th October 2009, 15:21

    Out of the 4 contenders? Maybe he won siz races so I won’t take that away from him, but engines blowing up and Rubens not liking the brakes in the first half of the season makes you wonder if Jenson is the god of luck. The way the points system is maybe he deserves it. But some, myself included, find it hard to swallow that this season has barely featured any greats (Vettel maybe in a few years time but far too errors this season) which means the most deserving out of the only 4 contenders given a chance is possibly Button, but the most deserving out of the grid? The one who has driven best all year?

    • markleeds89 said on 14th October 2009, 16:06

      if your saying driven the best all year then button obviously had. the most points and the most podiums. he should be world champion. racing shouldnt be about who has the most money (mclaren & ferrari) but about who is the best driver and this year button has shown that he is!

      • Button is not the best driver

        • Mussolini's Pet Cat said on 14th October 2009, 16:37

          Best? now that’s a subjective term in this situation….. Define ‘best’ please theo.

          • luigismen said on 14th October 2009, 17:28

            Best = better driver skills
            World Champion = most points

          • define better driving skills…..crashing into Sutil in Monaco, sliding off into a sand trap with shot tires and a 17 point lead, 5 spins at silverstone, having 2 wdc’s a getting out driven by your rookie teammate, ????

        • Xanathos said on 14th October 2009, 20:19

          Maybe not generally, but this season he was.
          While his rivals were busy screwing up he has not done a single mistake worth mentioning. He might be a driver who needs a good car to be really quick, but when he had it this year he’s been mostly unbeatable and in all the other races he’s been good enough to manage his championship lead. Of course, he’s been lucky at times, but you need to be lucky as well to win a championship (Ask poor Mark Webber…)

      • Barrichello has performed better than Button for the majority of races, but Button happened to be on form when his team had the dominant car. Hence his lead.

        • Nitpicker said on 15th October 2009, 10:51

          Right on. He exploited his advantage when he could, what past champion hasn’t done that?

        • Patrickl said on 15th October 2009, 19:44

          Performed better how? Button has beaten Barrichello in 9 races. Barrichello only beat Button in 4 races. Button won 6, Barrichello only 2.

          Honestly, what kind of weird criteria are you using to determine that Barrichello actually performed better than Button?

  4. ajokay said on 14th October 2009, 15:23

    I think Button would be perfectly worthy. All champions are worthy. They did the best they could with what they had, which in the end turned out to be better than what everyone else did with what they had.

    You wouldn’t begrudge Usain Bolt an Olympic Gold Medal just because, after a blistering start out of the blocks where he gained a 10 metre lead over the other 7 sprinters, he was a bit puffed out and so struggled to the line, winning by only a head.

    Sure, the guys who came second and third had brilliant last 50 metres, but it still doesn’t make up for the fact that they bogged themselves down at the start. That doesn’t make Bolt any less worthy, it just shows that their best wasn’t as good as his best.

    Same applies here. Button’s best (aka, the first half of the season), was better than Rubens’ and Seb’s best (latter and middle parts of the season).

    Similarly, Button’s run of poor results (aka, constant, yet lowly points finishes) have been better than the other’s low points (engine failures, silly crashes within sight of the checkers, over-revving off the start line)

    Go Button! is all I can say.

    • Ned Flanders said on 15th October 2009, 16:59

      I hate to be a smarty pants, but I believe that Usain Bolt is in fact a slow starter, and only really gets going towards the end of the race. He finishes in style- unlike Jenson Button…

  5. Setroc said on 14th October 2009, 15:25

    Out of the 3 remaining championship contenders, no one is more deserving than Button at this point. But if Button is crowned champion in two races time, and it looks almost certain that he will, I think he will be the weakest champion since Jacques Villeneuve.

    • Thandi said on 14th October 2009, 16:40

      I agree with you

    • mp4-19b said on 14th October 2009, 16:59

      Setroc,

      Did you follow the 1997 championship? I did! And I can tell you for certain that it was the most exciting championship of the 90’s. He championship win is worthier than most cuz he had to fend off a cheating Schumi who was prepared to do anything to win.

      • Marcus said on 14th October 2009, 17:53

        Sorry have to voice my disagreement here Villeneuve had the better car by a large margin and just barely squeaked out a championship.

        I’m Canadian so not being bias, and I certainly not a Schumi fan. Other than to recognize his incredible talent. Which made his cheating seem more sinister.

        • Marcus is right, what did Villy do in the years following????? – 0 -

        • Joshy said on 14th October 2009, 21:00

          True, if Schumacher was such a great driver, there was no reason for him to cheat. And that goes for any driver, regardless if you are good or not, cheating is for losers.

  6. Daniel said on 14th October 2009, 15:34

    On Button x Barrichello there is a clear turning point: once the braking system was changed in Barrichello’s car (i think it was in Silverstone, correct me if I’m wrong), he began to outperform Button, because he is clearly faster than his english team-mate, but, on the other hand, he is clearly harder on the car than Jenson is…

    The thing is: Brawn was much more dominant when Jenson was at his best, while, in the second half of the season, when Rubens dominated, the other teams were not only closer, but sometimes faster than them, so it was harder for Barrichello to win or score podium finishes…

    I think Button deserves to win the championship, but the case against Barrichello is, once again, he is far from being a lucky guy…

  7. HounslowBusGarage said on 14th October 2009, 15:41

    I think this entire concept of someone ‘deserving’ a competitive, sporting championship is a bit daft. How do you get to be ‘deserving’? Help old ladies across roads, save kittens from trees? Oh, and win a race or two?
    Like lionfan 99 says, it’s the driver who gets the most points that gets the chapionship.

    • Pengo said on 14th October 2009, 18:18

      Like Lion says, who ever gets the most points deserves it. But then, in that case what is there to debate about? Who is most “Deserving” here must mean something else otherwise what is there to talk about.

      Though I am unapologeticly a Vettel fan, I would say Barrichello is the most deserving. He’s the elder driver who during his Ferrari years played second fiddle to Schumacher. The two stop/three stop issue in Spain showed that he would sooner catch the next flight back home to Brazil rather than go through that again with Button. Even if he wins the WDC, I think this will be his final year.

      As for Button, you take away the diffuser advantage early in the race and there goes his winning streak at the start of the season. I guess if anything its Ross Brawn that deserves the championship more than anyone.

  8. F1Outsider said on 14th October 2009, 15:45

    He’s won 6 races and has scored in all but one race up to this point. Nobody else has come close to doing this. So he deserves it alright.

    But I’d rather see Barrichello win it. hehehe

  9. Prisoner Monkeys said on 14th October 2009, 15:46

    I want Button to win, and I have to admit that I like things better this way. People complain that he isn’t worthy because he’s only scraped a fraction of the points he cored at the beginning of the year since Turkey, but if he’d won in Britain and Germany and Hungary and basically had the title at the earliest possible juncture, those same people woulds till be complaining about how boring the 2009 season was.

    I head a really stupid argument the other day: that Button doesn’t deserve the title because he hasn’t had to fight for it. He took advantage of the other drivers when they weren’t as fast, and so he doesn’t deserve it because he has made the worst of his situation. Like I said: a stupid, stupid argument.

    The problem faced by Button’s rivals isn’t that he’s too good, it’s that thy are their own worst enemies. Sebastian Vettel has more DNFs to his name than victories this season. Rubens Barrichello has tripped over his own feet on the start line too many times. Mark Webber and Red Bull have made too many mistakes in the pits wih their unsafe releases. Lewis Hamilton has binned it on four separate occasions – Australia, Monaco, Germany and Monza – when he was expected to be fast or was threatening for a seriously good result. And Kimi Raikkonen needed a fire under his belly to start getting results.

    The thing about Button’s campaign is that he’s smart. He’s going to let the title come to him and strke at the opportune moment. If it were Lewis Hamilton, he’d be gunning for it at the earliest possible opportunity, but Button knows that pushing counts for nothing if it all ends in tears. Consistency is more important here; at the very least, he will walk away from Brazil with a four-point lead. He’s said that he’d like a win, but if he was put in a position where he had to score a single point in Abu Dhabi to take it, he’ll do that, too.

    Te thing that you have to bear in mind is that Button is no longer in the best car on the grid. The Brawn is probably about third or fourth on the road, behind the McLarens, the Red Bulls an possibly the Ferraris. As Kovalainen is useless and Fisichella is haing a hell of a time, that means the best Button can hope for is fifth by default. But the advantage is still his, because I honestly do thinkg Barrichello and Vettel need some serious results to go their way if they want to stand a chance of catching him.

    • explosiva said on 14th October 2009, 18:17

      Great point about the car. I’d argue that Brawn hasn’t been the best car since the first race. Remember what Christian Horner said about his Red Bulls at Turkey? The car is brilliant in clear air, but a dog when behind another? This means Vettel knows exactly what he must do – get pole every race – but hasn’t been able to. Moreover, I would argue Button has done more with a highly above average car vs. Vettel who hasn’t come close to wringing the best out of arguably the best car from China on (at least in clear air).

      If the argument is that Jenson isn’t “worthy” because he’s “limping” home, I wouldn’t consider Vettel” worthy” until he wins a race he doesn’t start from pole – or throws away those that he does.

    • Well said Prisoner Monkey….the great thing about F1 is that it is complex and for a driver to be ‘smart’ is a huge advantage.

    • Some good and sensible points here Prisoner Monkeys

    • steph90 said on 14th October 2009, 20:57

      I don’t think it is behind the Ferraris, well not at some tracks. The RBRs again at some tracks haven’t been particularly strong. It just all varies, we go from one track saying this will suit whatever team and the next track it is the opposite.

    • Harv's said on 14th October 2009, 23:12

      he didnt bin it in aus, he knew what was that he was right in third and the team f****d it (he probably drove the best out of the feild that race). Monaco, he had to push the car so hard to get the performance out of the car, as compared to button or barachello who would had to have just cruised around the track to get the same lap times. Germany, you cant blame him for someone behind him giving him a punture. Monza, would rather try to get 2nd when it seemed almost imposible than just settle for 3rd (never give up attitude, always try to get one better until the checkered flag), something that alot of drivers lack.

      Who do you think would be the champion if everyone was in the same car?

      I think you are being a bit harsh on hamilton saying he “binned it”. I just think that its sad that he did not get a proper chance to defend his champioship.

      • Derek said on 16th October 2009, 16:16

        Well said Harv’s
        I think Lewis hit the Kers button exiting the corner to try and get 2nd, afterall he’s not fighting for the championship. He thought I’ll keep it on the black stuff and get past or I’ll hit the wall!! Unfortunatley it was the later!!

  10. Last year, whenever Vettel was asked who would win the championship he’d reply, “Whoever has the most points at the end.” Similarly, the driver with the most points is by definition the driver that “deserved” to win the championship. How the points are earned has nothing to do with it.

  11. muckymuck said on 14th October 2009, 15:52

    I don’t think Button derserves to be champion, but I agree that no one else does either. All depends on how you define “deserves”.

    End of the day, I’m all for the points system and whoever gets the most points wins – simple enough. If Button has the most points then he should be champion. Personally, I’m just not impressed by his driving. He had a great car for the first few races of the year, so he dominated. Fair to say he capitalized on the good car so I give him credit for that. But the flip side of the coin is he needed Rubens to give him the setup and was quite lucky on a few of those wins. When so many external factors contribute to his wins, it’s hard not to say that someone else in the same car could have done the job (Rubens notwithstanding).

  12. esbeone said on 14th October 2009, 15:54

    I think what is important to look at is how a pilot developped the car with its engineers through the season. And what kind of car he was given at the start.

    Remember Alonso last year, starting with a bad renault and ending with podiums( crashgate lol). He almost did the same this year. He’s good at tuning.
    Alonso maybe always outperformed his teammate at renault but his team mates werent that good.

    Otherwise Hamilton outperformed Heikki which is lot better than piquet or grosjean. He also started with acrap car. The car is now competitive.

    In my opinion hamilton deserves the title this year despite i’m a big fan of alonso.

    • Tarzan said on 14th October 2009, 17:40

      I believe Hamilton is the best driver out there (meaning, the one who will hop in the car and beat anyone else), but he has done too many errors to be a worthy champion this year. However I’ll bet my shirt he will end up having one or two additional WDC before he retires. This season must’ve toutgh him a LOT

  13. Hakka said on 14th October 2009, 15:56

    The question of “who deserves to be champion?” is ill-formed. There is no “deserve” there is only “is.”

    Anybody who doesn’t realize this has a long way to go.

    • muckymuck said on 14th October 2009, 16:20

      I beg to differ. If it’s only about who “is” champion then we would just stare at the points table and would not have to watch any grand prix’s. I watch the grand prix’s because I want to see who “deserves” to be champion!

      • DomPrez said on 14th October 2009, 17:05

        why does it have to be so black and white? why must everyone be on opposite sides of the fence. I’m not on a peace mission here, but lets be a little more realistic.
        who ‘is’ the champion is often a result of luck, hard work and a number of other outside factors (not all of which a driver can say he deserves). and not all drivers who do well durring a race (or several races) are anymore deserving then the driver infront and behind. We’ve enter an era of capitalism in F1, and im not speaking of money. Drivers must be oportunists to do any overtaking essentially. praying on others misfortunes as opposed to excelling on their own accord.

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 14th October 2009, 22:11

      The question of “who deserves to be champion?” is ill-formed. There is no “deserve” there is only “is.”

      By that reasoning you could use any system you like to decide a championship and there would never be any grounds to question it. I think the situation is a little more nuanced than that.

      Whether you watch F1 or football or any other sport, asking whether the champion deserved the title raises useful questions about the sportsmen and the sport.

      • Hakka said on 15th October 2009, 4:59

        Yes, the reasoning is conditional on the system being as it is. As long as all the participants were fully informed about the system, the question of “deserving” is ill-formed.

        Whether or not the system is fair, representative, and incentivizes the right things is a separate question and needs to be addressed directly – not by bringing up the “deserves” question.

        The problem with the “deserves” question is that everyone overlays their own imaginary half-baked points system on the current races which has two problems:
        1. Their imaginary points system is rarely explicitly stated
        2. The drivers didn’t know about it, so they couldn’t adjust their driving to suit it

        Whether you watch F1 or football or any other sport, asking whether the champion deserved the title raises useful questions about the sportsmen and the sport.

        Sure. But you can generate a much better informed debate on those very same questions by asking what sort of points system incentivizes the right things and rewards the right set of properties in a driver. That will go around the two problems I raise above.

  14. lewis' right foot said on 14th October 2009, 15:57

    try telling button he’s the weakest champ since j.V he wont care one bit. Excellent comparison between usain bolt and button. I think he deserves it on his start alone_he was superb.

  15. PCarvalho said on 14th October 2009, 15:59

    Hello Keith, good analysis, by the way, but I beg to differ. I’ll present my case (;)):

    1-Unlike other people I don’t believe the guy with more points at the end is necessarily the worthy champion. It would be so if not for engine failures, bad strategy, safety cars, FIA BLUNDERS, etc, which clearly help to turn tides at some point.

    2- Only Vettel, Button and Webber can win the title right now, so I’ll refrain from even trying to point out other drivers who would be more deserving of the WDC.

    3-Now, my opinion is that Button is a decent driver, particularly smooth, not the worst at overtaking, and generally ok. However, I don’t think he ever was, or ever will, be championship material. The same can be said about Barrichello, but I believe Vettel has done his share to deserve the title this year. How so, you ask?

    4-Until Silvertsone, the Brawn was clearly the best car, and no one can challenge that, in my opinion, seeing as they made short work of mostly anyone. From that point on, it became a bit track and weather dependent, with Red Bull coming out better than the JB/RB team. However, while it may seem balanced, with each team being better on each half, you cannot forget that Ferrari and especially McLaren have ascended on the 2nd half, thereby directly challenging Red Bull, whereas Brawn pretty much dominated the beginning.

    5-Jenson Button has not had any issue with his car or engine since the beggining of the season. The only time he suffered a bit was when he couldn’t qualify properly in Hungary as the engineers were checking if his car had any defective parts as Rubens’ had. Barrichello, and particularly Vettel, had significant ones: he lost out at the very least 3 points for Button in Hungary, at least 4 in Valencia.

    6-Vettel, to make things worse, had some bad decisions thrown against him: in Singapore, FIA wrongly penalized him, costing him at least 3 points, and in Australia, I don’t think it was correct to give him a grid penalty over the incident with Robert.

    7-Yes, he crashed out quite some times, but if you notice carefully, all his significant blunders were made in the beginning (Aus, Mal, Mon and Turkey), when his car was not top notch and he was overdriving it. Lately he’s been consistent, and that’s when the engines have been letting him down – also, there’s no doubt right now that Merc have the best engine in town, not just in reliability, but also speed and smoothness.

    8-The one time Button had to retire he was starting from a lowly 14th on the grid, just his luck ;)

    9-All in all, Vettel could easily have 10 more points right now, while Button has had likely the least possible failures and misfortunes of any driver this year (even his pitstops are flawless!).

    10-So, in conclusion, I do believe that luck plays a part, and while Vettel has shortcomings, and Button is a good driver, the WDC should go to the jolly german.

    (Obviously some, if not most of you will disagree with me, feel free to say so, and why!

    • James said on 14th October 2009, 16:12

      If full points were awarded in Malayasia, Button would need just one point now, and if Rosberg has been penalised in Suzuka, Button would be champ now. There are plenty of ifs and buts, but the fact of the matter is, luck has been on Button’s side and he has driven the best he can, even when the car is against him (like Alonso you could say?)

      • DanThorn said on 14th October 2009, 17:23

        Precisely, and Vettel overdriving the car was his own fault. Has Button been overdriving now that he doesn’t have the quickest car? No, because he doesn’t need to.

        Also when Button was on song at the start of the year his driving was absolutely immaculate. Brawn may have had the best car, but it wasn’t unbeatable. Jenson Button in that car was unbeatable, particularly with the tyre rules. Critical overtakes and fast laps at important points in race weekends gave him the huge lead in the championship in the first place. He’s driving the same now as he was back then, only difference is it’s for 7th and 8th place rather than 1st.

        At the end of the day, the driver with the most points does deserve the championship.

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