The reinvention of Jenson

Galahad

Not a Moderator
Valued Member
I don't think many would suggest BAR was the second best car in 2004 which was the other point I was making. Jenson had a great year and hauled BAR to 2nd in the constructors championship without a great deal of help from his teammate.

I don't want to labour the point, because much of what you say I agree with completely, but I didn't see 2004 as being such a fantastic season as all that. He was outqualified by Sato seven times for a start. He undoubtedly got some good results and showed impressive consistency, but no better than other apparent midfielders suddenly presented with a good car - e.g. Frentzen at Jordan in 1999 - and while many doubtless disagreed, my impression then was that many thought that (Frentzen) was about Jenson's level.

Certainly it was uncharacteristic of BAR to produce a good car, but that was more down to the tribulations of Williams with their walrus nose and McLaren with their dreadfully unreliable and slow car evolved from the unraced MP4-18. He was more often in front of than behind Alonso's Renault on the grid, and Button is not a noted qualifier.
 

teabagyokel

#dejavu
Valued Member
2004 was a weird season. Ferrari brought the only really decent car to the table, and their 2003 rivals McLaren and Williams simultaneously bombed. That left BAR and Renault at the head of a congested midfield.


Button was 29 points behind Barrichello and 26 points ahead of Alonso in the Championship, which on the surface of it is excellent, especially since that Ferrari is the fastest and most consistent Grand Prix car ever produced. He scored 10 podiums, which is again impressive since there was so often only one podium place available. However, there are some things to take into account, as Galahad says.

The first is that his team-mate, Takuma Sato, was somewhat of a dead duck. The second is the inconsistency of the Renault challenge. Trulli started the season like a train - up to the French Grand Prix he remained only 2 points behind Button with the only non-Schumacher Grand Prix victory under his belt. However, due to his disputes with Briatore contractually etc., he didn't score another point.

Thus Renault had only run one car for the last half of the season, points-wise. That car was driven by Fernando Alonso, but this was not the consistent points scoring metronome we would see develop that winter. He hadn't overhauled Trulli's score 5 races after his last point, when the Italian was sacked.

For those who know football, I'd say that Button was in the Valencia position (in La Liga). He could not be expected to catch the two who were escaping him ahead, but also was not vulnerable to the mob below. That he achieved third, which that year was both the least and the most expected of him, was unremarkable and thus it is difficult to know how to place Button's season within any context.

Of course, it could be said that the legwork required to get into the Valencia position had been done the previous year, with his crushing of Jacques Villeneuve's opposition to ensure that when Honda parachuted in Sato, it was the Canadian who was replaced.
 

Kewee

Race Winner
I don't want to labour the point, because much of what you say I agree with completely, but I didn't see 2004 as being such a fantastic season as all that. He was outqualified by Sato seven times for a start. He undoubtedly got some good results and showed impressive consistency, but no better than other apparent midfielders suddenly presented with a good car - e.g. Frentzen at Jordan in 1999 - and while many doubtless disagreed, my impression then was that many thought that (Frentzen) was about Jenson's level.

Certainly it was uncharacteristic of BAR to produce a good car, but that was more down to the tribulations of Williams with their walrus nose and McLaren with their dreadfully unreliable and slow car evolved from the unraced MP4-18. He was more often in front of than behind Alonso's Renault on the grid, and Button is not a noted qualifier.

I don't think the comparison with Frentzen carries an weight at all. Frentzen's results were flattered by the fact Coulthard had seven retirements and Schumacher missed a large part of the season after his accident, undoubtably adding significantly to Frentzen's podium tally. It certainly wouldn't have been a stand out season without those two factors. Button had three retirements and of the remaining fifteen races he finished, he had ten podiums. I really think those results speak for themselves. Without comparing Jenson to anyone, I've always considered him to be top draw and I'm thrilled things finally came together allowing him to shine. I think there's more than one team principle that has looked back and recognized a missed opportunity. :thinking: :)
 

Il_leone

World Champion
And if Flavio had shown a little faith in his driver.

The only faith Flavio will show to his driver is if they will offer 25% of their salary to him by signing up to his management

That is why he's had a fall out with many drivers over contract issues

Also he expects the No 2 driver to be as fast as the No 1 driver with no support and left isolated without any guarantee of job security
 

Il_leone

World Champion
That's exactly what I was saying when I referred to a couple of team principles showing faith.


Frank Williams had him under contract but that was because they decided to drop Zanardi early from his contract whilst loaning out Montoya who was guaranteed a seat in F1 when his contract was up in INdy car

Flavio - see previous posts he's a money grabbing bee stud and will kiss the rear end of any driver who makes him filthy rich

Dave Richards did show faith in Button and encouraged him to perform and basically ignored what JV wanted but was replaced way too early by Honda

Nick Fry - one word USELESS

Ron Dennis - did not want to get into the contract mess that Button landed himself in

Thiessen - Being BMW they wanted at least one german driver

Toyota - ala BMW being based in Germany

Todt / Ferrari - they did speak about it but I don;t think Button wanted to be seen as No 2 to Schumacher
 

teabagyokel

#dejavu
Valued Member
There has been some debate about 2004, so I hereby present to you the 2004 Drivers Championship had Ferrari been chucked out รก la Tyrrell in 1984:

TBY.jpg
 

Bill Boddy

Professional layabout
Contributor
.... Of course, JB belonged to Williams while Trulli belonged to Flav.

Then the moment Trulli was out of contract with Flab he was for the high jump.

I still think that one of the main reasons that Button was viewed as a playboy first and a racer second was because he was not under contract to Flab ; he did not like the idea of having a driver in his team that he was not getting a cut from.
 
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