I guess we can pack our marbles and chalk away for another year. Jenson Button has won the World Driverâ€™s Championship and Brawn GP has won the World Constructorâ€™s Championship. A noble and redemptive feat by anyone who is measuring such things in the world of F1.
While teammate Rubens Barrichello looked set to force the title battle to the last race in the season and thrill the local crowds with a Brazilian win from pole positionâ€”it was not to be. The native son found difficulties with the car during the second stint and eventually suffered a puncture from Lewis Hamiltonâ€™s front wing in the waning laps of the race. There is no secret that Barrichelloâ€™s 16 visits to Interlagos have not proven to be kind to him and this weekend was no exception.
But like a phoenix rising from the ashes of certain death; Brawn GP have claimed not only the driverâ€™s title for the long-suffering Jenson Button but also the constructorâ€™s title for a team who had no job as of January of this year. In some sense the two deserve each other. Jenson, it must be said, has paid his dues and was all but forgotten when McLarenâ€™s Lewis Hamilton burst on the scene with vim and vigor. Button was a lost son of his native England and even the British fans had begun to get weak in the knees when hoping for a resurgent Button swansong.
I must admit that as of 48 hours ago; I was not convinced that button actually deserved the title as it seemed he was merely nursing a points leads home after securing the title, in his mind, somewhere after the Turkish Grand Prix. He seemed to be phoning it in. When you juxtaposed his efforts with those of his teammate for the second half of the season; Button was clearly outclassed.
But todayâ€™s race changed my mind about Button. He drove like a champion. Iâ€™d argue that he made a better drive that Hamitlon did last year when he secured the title by cruising to a 5th place finish. While it is true, both drivers finished 5th at Brazil to secure their futures; Buttonâ€™s drive today looked very much like a champion. He was passing aggressively and taking no precautions as he diced with rookies and youngsters midfield all day. His drive was that of a motivated and inspired veteran and I couldnâ€™t be happier for him.
Spare a thought too for Rubens Barrichello who was Buttonâ€™s only real opposition for most of the season. Barrichello had it all to prove today and it just wasnâ€™t his day. While I would have liked to see the title chase go to the last race of the season and for Rubens to get his rewards for a lifetime in F1; it wasnâ€™t to be. That doesnâ€™t mean I begrudge Button his championship by any notion. It just means that Brawn GP have two drivers I could really get behind for the title and no matter how it finishedâ€”I was going to feel bad for one of them.
This victory and season ending race got me to thinking of how many congratulations I have and for whom. So a new feature that I will attempt to stay true to each year is my congratulatory list. The first annual congratulations list! So congratulations are in order to:
â€¢ All our British friends, readers, listeners, staff and fans. You have a worthy champion. Thatâ€™s two on the trot and Hamilton looking daunting for 2010â€¦not too mention Buttonâ€™s defense.
â€¢ Brawn GP
â€¢ BMW for building the â€œUltimate Quitting Machineâ€
â€¢ Jenson Button
â€¢ John Button
â€¢ Honda for quietly dolling out big dollars to Brawn GP to keep them afloat
â€¢ Herbie Blash
â€¢ Jean Todt for convincing Schumacher to stump for him.
â€¢ Richard Branson for trickling money into the series in a weaning fashion.
â€¢ Nick Fry and Ross Brawn
â€¢ The British Press, BBC and the MBâ€™s at Autosport
â€¢ FOTA for not accepting the gold medal scheme
â€¢ Outlandish oil money and Middle East racing fanaticism
â€¢ The Overtaking Working Group for not achieving what they set out to do. (shocked and surprised now Max?)
â€¢ Ecclestone for nothing
â€¢ CVC for showing us that Ecclestone may actually have a sell-by-date and it could be sooner than we thought given pause to a succession plan which Mosley tried to eliminate by getting rid of Briatore.
â€¢ Mosley for diluting a year of good racing with politics, scandals and ego-driven, narcissistic drivel.
â€¢ Schuberth helmets for saving Massaâ€™s life
â€¢ Simon Gillett for nothingâ€¦yet.
â€¢ 5 Live for great coverage and podcasts
â€¢ Charlie â€œchucklesâ€ Whiting
â€¢ Steve Nevey for liking Single maltâ€¦oh and being a Red Bull guru
â€¢ Goofy, narrow rear wings.
â€¢ Ari Vatanen for showing that a corrupt political system in the FIA may be victorious over you but the fans of the world know better and seek changeâ€¦big change at the FIA.
â€¢ DC for just being DC and EJ for just being EJâ€¦how easy is that for gratitude?
â€¢ Flavio for whatever it was he said that one day when we couldnâ€™t understand him
â€¢ All out British blogger friends, Vee8, Britâ€™s on pole, F1 Fanatic, Sidepodcast, redbullog, F1 Wolf, Crash.net and many more I am egregiously leaving out due to old age and lapse in reason and a heavily medicated head cold. Thanks for the terrific coverage, insight and fan-centric posts guys.
â€¢ Nelson Piquet Sr. and Jr. for their debacle and Renault, Flav and Pat for getting us in to this mess with these two oddities of motorsport.
â€¢ The F1 iPhone app
â€¢ Speed TVâ€™s Varsha, Hobbs, Matchett and Windsor for another great year of calling races.
â€¢ All our friends on Twitter and Facebook
â€¢ KERS for showing us how Mosley-lead pragmatism at the worst possible economic time can cost the sport millions and create a debacle that prevented passing and counteracted the OWGâ€™s efforts.
â€¢ Peter Windsor for all those terrific Press Releases
â€¢ Gareth Jones, Sniff Petrol and Midweek Motorsportâ€¦you all did a fantastic job all year.
â€¢ For the idiot who pretended to be Sebastian Vettel on Twitter and exposing himself for the human debris that he is.
â€¢ The dual-diffuser cheat and the FIAâ€™s endorsement of it to spice up the racing
â€¢ Fernando Alonso for not knowing anything about the Renault race-fix idea and moving to Ferrari
â€¢ Ted Kravitz for the loopy questions and oddball moments.
â€¢ James Allen for making himself relevant and quite insightful via Twitter and other social media. Many said he was finished but I must say he was terrific this year.
â€¢ To Rubens Barrichello and jenson Button for keeping us up to date via Twitter.
In summation? Well, letâ€™s face itâ€¦as an American I was supposed to be clinging on to Scott Speed for a F1 champion but I think we all know where that went. Could there one day be another American champ? Will USF1 deliver him/her to us? Who knows?
For now we cling to our British allies and co-celebrate the victory with you although we know weâ€™re like that horrible uncle that shows up to the party drunk, puking, stinky and always throwing out British witticisms and phrases to make himself relevant. Hey!! Give us a break! You guys canâ€™t do oval for crap! Although that is probably by design but thatâ€™s not the point now is it?
In all seriousness? Congratulation Britainâ€¦it was a champions drive and you have another worthy champion. We Yankees couldnâ€™t be more happy for you.