Jenson Button is to miss the final test of the year at Jerez later this week, it has been reported. Jenson has missed the two previous sessions because he sustained a rib injury while karting during the off-season. In order for his injury to fully heal, it has been advised that Jenson sit out of the tests, instead handing reigns over to team mate and Grand Prix winner Rubens Barrichello and newbie test driver James Rossiter.
Both Honda drivers have been doing well, and it appears (from the outside at least) that the Japanese teams’ winter programme is going okay. Obviously the teams are running slightly modified 2006 cars while they wait for their 2007 spec cars to be finalised and produced, but in the last day at the most recent test session, Barrichello and Rossiter posted first and second fastest laps. But this isn’t what I’m really blogging about today.
I’m blogging about the apparent super attitude of the Briton and how he seems to be looking more and more like a champion in the making. I recently had a small dig at Jenson, putting him in a similar camp as Renault’s Giancarlo Fisichella and saying that he isn’t a complete driver. Fast, oh yes, but not outright champion material. But when I saw pictures of Jenson in Jerez recently, and when I read of the Honda driver going to the next test to ensure he is kept up to speed and to sit in on meetings, I was actually quite impressed. Most drivers would have seen the opportunity to skive off on a secluded beach somewhere. But Jenson’s dedication has taken me aback, especially when it wasn’t too long ago that he didn’t want to be a part of Honda and tried to move back to Williams.
All I can picture at the moment is a fantastic image I saw in a recent edition of F1 Racing. The image was of a Ferrari pit garage, and there were members of the team all sitting on chairs listening to (I’m guessing) a superior. And at the back, separated from the engineers, but there none-the-less, was Michael Schumacher – slouched in a chair and quietly listening. Whether he was there because he felt he needed to hear something, or because he wanted his presence known I cannot be sure. But he was there, absorbing all that he could. The image was quite powerful, and while I disagree with some of the things Schumacher has done, you cannot take the majority of his success away from him. Unfortunately, Jenson’s age is prohibiting him slightly of conquering Schumacher’s successes, but I’m starting to think his maiden win may have changed him for the better. Am I really talking about Britain’s next Formula One world champion?
I don’t think Jenson’s rib-injury will harm his 2007 campaign, and as long as he is able to keep in the loop, he should be able to bring himself back up to speed come the new year. Here’s (for first time) wishing Button luck for next year…