Jenson Button Sumar
At just 20 years of age, Jenson Button
was one of the youngest drivers to ever compete in a Grand Prix, but racing was nothing new to this youngster. Jenson Button began his racing career at the tender age of eight and as a raw novice he was required to start right at the back for his first event. In horrendous conditions he managed to get by the entire field to take victory. Jenson Button won the British Kart Super Prix in 1989, showing from
an early age that he was championship material.
From that moment on, Jenson Button continued to challenge and succeed and for the next four years he repeatedly won the British Cadet, British Open and British Junior TKM Kart Series'. In 1994 he was fourth in the British Junior Kart series as well as winning races in both the Junior Intercontinental A European and Junior Intercontinental A Italian Winter Kart series'. Then the following year, Jenson Button was not only the champion in the Senior ICA Italian Kart Series, he also became the youngest ever runner-up in the World Formula A Kart Series.
Jenson Button remained in the world of Karts, continuing to blitz his fellow competitors for glory, until 1998 when he made the switch to the British Formula Ford series and European Formula Ford. Driving for Haywood Racing, Jenson won the title in British Formula Ford, and came in second in the European series. Jenson Button
also won the Formula Ford Festival the same year. In 1999 he was third in the British Formula Three series, and earned the honour of top rookie.
Frank Williams, who was dissatisfied with his then driver, Alex Zanardi, decided that the young Button had the potential for greatness and decided to sign him to drive alongside Ralf Schumacher in the year 2000. Jenson Button
had a lot of pressure on his young shoulders and a lot to live up to, but Jenson proved his many critics wrong throughout his debut year in the series, scoring 12 points and finishing eighth in the championship.
Still under contract to Williams, Jenson moved across to Benetton for 2001 where he spent a dismal year in a constantly developing car. The team languished at the back of the grid throughout the majority of the season and although 2002 was better and he managed to secure a total of 15 points overall, that first ever podium finish continued to elude him.
Replaced by Fernando Alonso for the 2003 season, Jenson made the switch to British American Racing. Jenson had a positive first season at BAR in 2003. Jenson Button
was consistent all season, finishing the year with a strong fourth place in Japan. The Englishman was able to put his terrifying Monaco accident behind him and finished at a very respectable ninth place in the championship.
2004 proved to be a roller-coaster of a season for Jenson Button but come the final race of the season, the ride was complete and Button was third in the championship and BAR Honda were runner up to Ferrari. No one could have asked for more.
The 006 chassis was a big step for BAR as was the latest Honda V10 engine. This combined gave Button the equipment he had craved for so long. On track, everything was going well with a career first Pole Position at Imola and ten podium positions over the season. The only thing missing was that elusive first win.
Off track, Button's squeaky clean image took a pounding as he and his management team led by John Byfield got themselves embroiled in a contracts battle for the 2005 season. With Button performing, he and his management team touted services to BMW Williams who announced the deal shortly afterwards. What followed was a bitter war of words and it was down to the contracts recognition board to rule in favour of BAR just prior to the final race of the year. Byfield soon stood down at Essentially Sport, Team Principle Dave Richards was replaced by Nick Fry and Button prepared for a new season with the squad.
Any hopes of building on his impressive season were soon dashed in 2005 as three non-scores at the start of the season were followed by a three race ban for the team. Jenson Button
kept his head down and from the French Grand prix onwards, scored points in every round of the championship. Button would end the season ninth with two podium appearances but off track, he was yet again creating headlines for the wrong reasons.
After the dust had settled, Button signed a new BAR Honda contract for the 2006 season after he paid off Williams for the contract they held for his services. It was another messy episode and Button for one is secure in the knowledge that he now has a long-term deal with Honda as he and the team still chase that first win. With Rubens Barrichello joining the team for the 2006 season, Button faces his biggest challenge in recent years.
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