Following the withdrawal of Honda from Formula One at the end of 2008, Britain’s Jenson Button was left without a drive until former Honda technical director Ross Brawn stepped in and engineered a management buyout of the team.
Button then found himself in a highly competitive Mercedes-Benz powered car for the 2009 season. He won six of the first seven races of the year, equalling the record of Michael Schumacher and Jim Clark and clinched the World Championship at the Brazilian Grand Prix in Sao Paulo with a race to spare. Button’s wins were in Australia, Malaysia, Bahrain, Spain, Monaco and Turkey.
With 169 starts, Button had made the second-highest number of race starts before making his breakthrough and becoming World Champion. Only Nigel Mansell, with 176 starts, has taken part in more Grand Prix before winning the title.
He and his team-mate Rubens Barrichello also secured the Constructors World Championship for Brawn.
Button clinched his first World Championship in a very exciting Brazilian Grand Prix. He was hampered in qualifying by a poor choice of tyres in the wet weather and could only start 14th on the grid. But, driving as well as he did all year, Button made up five positions on the opening lap, aided by a first-lap incident, and was up to seventh by lap seven. He ran as high as second place by the halfway mark, but ultimately finished fifth, taking enough points to secure his first world title.
He has now signed for Vodafone McLaren Mercedes for the 2010 season.
Jenson Button was also nominated for the 2001 Laureus World Newcomer of the Year Award.