Jenson Button: 300 GP and the Magic Formula

This weekend sees Formula One’s most experienced current driver celebrate a big milestone in his career. Jenson Button – who recently announced he would be taking a sabbatical next year – will start his 300th Grand Prix this weekend in Malaysia. It was the race where he took his first F1 podium, way back in 2004. Here’s a look at the numbers which make up his magic formula.

16 full seasons

Jenson Button made his debut back in 2000, driving for Williams. Since then he has enjoyed relationships with Benetton, Renault, BAR, Honda, Brawn, and now McLaren. He is currently competing in his 17th season of Formula One – his 7th for McLaren, the longest he has spent driving for any one team.

15 wins

While the past few years have been barren in terms of winning in Formula One, JB has wracked up 15 wins over the years. His first was of course the memorable 2006 Hungarian Grand Prix in mixed conditions. JB’s most recent win came at the season ending 2012 Brazilian Grand Prix, bookending his season having won the season opener in Australia that same year.

Winner at 12 tracks

JB’s 15 wins have come at 12 tracks, his most successful being Australia. He has won the Australian Grand Prix on three occasions – 2009, 2010 and 2012. He has also won in Malaysia, Bahrain, Spain, Monaco, Turkey, China, Canada, Hungary, Japan, Belgium, and Brazil.

50 podiums

There have also been a number of podium finishes for JB over his years competing in Formula One. His first podium was at the 2004 Malaysian Grand Prix and his most recent podium finish was the 2014 Australian Grand Prix. His most frequented podium spot is third – where he has stood 20 times – in relation to 15 times in first and 15 times in second.

Podiums at 16 races

JB has stood on the podium at 16 tracks over the course of his Formula One career. He has enjoyed more than one podium in Malaysia, the European Grand Prix, Canada, Germany, Italy, China, and Abu Dhabi. He has also stood on the podium in Bahrain, San Marino, Monaco, Japan, Belgium, Brazil, Turkey, Singapore and Australia. He has had three podiums – his most at any one race – in Germany, Italy and China.

8 pole positions

Most of JB’s victories have come from not starting on pole position, but he has qualified on top on eight occasions. Five of his pole positions have been converted into victories. His first pole position came at the 2004 San Marino Grand Prix while his most recent was the 2012 Belgian Grand Prix which he also won.

8 fastest laps

As well as pole positions, wins, and podiums, JB also has had eight fastest laps. His first was at the 2009 Malaysian Grand Prix – a race he started from pole and also won – while his most recent was at the 2012 Indian Grand Prix.

Average 8th in championship

JB has finished an average 8th position in the championship over 16 full seasons. His best finish was 1st in 2009 while his lowest finish was 17th in 2001. He currently lies 15th in the 2016 championship with one more point than he had at the end of the season last year.

11 consecutive points finishes in one season

JB’s longest streak of points finishes in a season came in his championship winning year of 2009. He won six of the first seven races, finished third in one of them, and then went on to pick up points in the next four races too. His longest consecutive points finish run overall was 12 which happened between 2005 and 2006. Scoring points in the last ten races of 2005 – including two podiums – he then scored at the first two races of the 2006 season.

6 wins in one season

There were six wins in 2009 for JB when Brawn took over the Honda Racing team after the Japanese manufacturers pulled out of F1 at the end of 2008. JB won six of the first seven races of the season and that remains his record of most wins in a year.

80% classified finishes records

Despite having some difficult years in Formula One with cars not quite performing as they should, JB still has a 80% classified finishing record. Of the 299 races he has started to date he has been classified as a finisher in 240 of them. 13 of these have been retirements but with him having completed over 90% of the race distance.

66% points finishes

Of his 240 classified finishes, 160 of them – or 66% – have been in the points.

3rd most experienced driver of all time

JB lies in third in the all time list of both entries and starts. He has entered 302 races to date and started 299 of them. Rubens Barrichello is the most experienced F1 driver of all time with 326 entries to his name (322 starts) while Michael Schumacher has 308 entries (306 starts). With five races still to come after Malaysia – JB’s 303rd entry – he will end 2016 tied on entries with Schumacher.

1 World Championship

And saving the best ’til last, JB is a world champion. After years of ups and downs he finally won the championship in 2009 with Brawn GP. His best championship finish before that had been 3rd in 2004 and he went on to finish second in 2011.

So there we have it. 16 full seasons + 15 wins + winner at 12 tracks + 50 podiums + podiums at 16 races +8 pole positions + 8 fastest laps + average 8th in championship + 11 consecutive points finishes + 6 wins in one season + 80% classified finishes + 66% finishes in points + 3rd most experienced driver of all time +  1 world championship = 300 GP!

 

Stoffel Vandoorne to partner Fernando Alonso at McLaren in 2017

After months of increased speculation, McLaren have confirmed their driver line-up for 2017.

The Woking team has announced an “innovative three-driver strategy for the 2017 and 2018 Formula 1 seasons” which will see current reserve driver Stoffel Vandoorne promoted to a race seat alongside Fernando Alonso.

While Jenson Button – who has raced with McLaren since 2010 – has signed a new two year deal with the team, he will take a backseat in 2017.

“As a race driver for our team these past seven seasons, he’s been superb, both on and off the track,” Ron Dennis said of Button. “And, as we’re seeing this season, he remains superb – not only fast and fit but also experienced and expert. He’ll start his 298th Grand Prix tomorrow; as such, he’s the most experienced driver on the grid. Having extended his contract to include 2017 and 2018, he’ll continue to be a senior, influential and committed member of the team, and will remain centrally involved in the development of our cars. He’ll also be available to race for us if circumstances require it.”

As expected, Alonso will continue as a race driver into 2017 and will be partnered by Vandoorne. Vandoorne deputised for the Spaniard at this year’s Bahrain Grand Prix and scored McLaren’s first point of the season with an impressive drive to tenth. He has been waiting in the wings for a couple of years and won the GP2 championship in 2015. This year has seen him race in Super Formula.

For Button, he does not view the news as a retirement. “I’m delighted that I’ll be staying on as a key member of the McLaren-Honda team,” he revealed. “I’m massively excited about my new role [and] specifically I’m looking forward to becoming even more deeply involved in the team’s efforts to bring about the success we’ve all been striving to deliver.”

“I love McLaren-Honda – I firmly believe it’s made up of the best bunch of people I’ve ever worked with and I have no intention of ever driving for another Formula 1 team,” he continued. It had been suggested that he might be on his way to Williams – with whom he made his Formula One debut back in 2000 – to replace the retiring Felipe Massa. “To be clear, I’m very definitely not retiring. I’m contracted for both 2017 and 2018, I intend to work hard on car-development, and I’m sure I’ll get behind the wheel of the new car at some point.”

 

Button has enjoyed eight victories with McLaren to date along with 18 further podiums. His best finish in the championship with the team was 2nd in 2011. 201

 

 

F1 2016: Belgian GP – Qualifying Times & Laps

Qualifying

Times

  1. Nico Rosberg – Mercedes – 1:46.744
  2. Max Verstappen – Red Bull – 1:46.893
  3. Kimi Raikkonen – Ferrari – 1:46.910
  4. Sebastian Vettel – Ferrari – 1:47.108
  5. Daniel Ricciardo – Red Bull – 1:47.216
  6. Sergio Perez – Force India – 1:47.407
  7. Nico Hulkenberg – Force India – 1:47.543
  8. Valtteri Bottas – Williams – 1:47.612
  9. Jenson Button – McLaren – 1:48.114
  10. Felipe Massa – Williams – 1:48.263
  11. Romain Grosjean – Haas – 1:48.316
  12. Kevin Magnussen – Renault  – 1:48.485
  13. Esteban Gutierrez – Haas – 1:48.598
  14. Jolyon Palmer – Renault – 1:48.888
  15. Carlos Sainz – Toro Rosso – 1:49.038
  16. Pascal Wehrlein – 1:49.320
  17. Felipe Nasr – Sauber – 1:48.949
  18. Esteban Ocon – Manor – 1:49.050
  19. Daniil Kvyat – Toro Rosso – 1:49.058
  20. Marcus Ericsson – Sauber – 1:49.071
  21. Lewis Hamilton – Mercedes – 1:50.033
  22. Fernando Alonso – McLaren – No Time Set

Laps

  1. Jenson Button – McLaren – 15
  2. Sebastian Vettel – Ferrari – 14
  3. Kimi Raikkonen – Ferrari – 13
  4. Nico Rosberg – Mercedes – 12
  5. Max Verstappen – Red Bull – 12
  6. Daniel Ricciardo – Red Bull – 12
  7. Sergio Perez – Force India – 12
  8. Nico Hulkenberg – Force India – 12
  9. Valtteri Bottas – Williams- 12
  10. Felipe Massa – Williams – 12
  11. Romain Grosjean – Haas – 12
  12. Kevin Magnussen – Renault – 12
  13. Esteban Gutierrez – Haas – 12
  14. Jolyon Palmer – Renault – 12
  15. Pascal Wehrlein – Manor – 11
  16. Carlos Sainz – Toro Rosso – 9
  17. Felipe Nasr – Sauber – 6
  18. Daniil Kvyat – Toro Rosso – 6
  19. Marcus Ericsson – Sauber – 6
  20. Lewis Hamilton – Mercedes – 4
  21. Fernando Alonso – McLaren – 1

F1 2016: Hungarian Grand Prix Preview

The Hungarian Grand Prix has been on the Formula One calendar since 1986, with the circuit having been purpose built for the sport.

Lewis Hamilton goes into the weekend having won his home race at Silverstone where he reduced the championship gap to just a point. Nico Rosberg has led from the start of the season but the momentum is currently with Hamilton. The three leading teams at the minute – Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull – have all won at the circuit at the Hungaroring in the past.

Circuit: Hungaroring
Number of Laps: 70
Circuit Length:4.381km
Number of Corners: 14
Lap Record: 1:19.071 Michael Schumacher (2004)
Previous Hungarian Grand Prix winners still on the grid: 6
Most Successful Team: McLaren (11 wins)
DRS Zones: 2    
Pirelli Tyres: Medium, Soft and Supersoft

The circuit has been resurfaced for the 2016 event and Pirelli have brought the Medium, Soft and Supersoft compound tyres. Thermal degradation can be an issue due to the high temperatures normally experienced. The Hungaroring requires an emphasis on mechanical grip with a number of low speed corners. It has a low average speed while brake wear is medium.

It is often compared to Monaco due to being a tight and twisty track, although obviously there is a lot more run off. This means that drivers normally place a lot of emphasis on qualifying as track position can be key.

The championship is finely poised at the top with just a point separating Hamilton and Rosberg. Kimi Raikkonen is third, six points ahead of Daniel Ricciardo with Sebastian Vettel just eight points ahead of Max Verstappen. Last year saw the Mercedes duo suffer a number of misfortunes allowing Vettel to win. He had been leading a Ferrari 1-2 before Raikkonen unfortunately retired. Daniil Kvyat and Ricciardo were second and third respectively. Ricciardo has previously won the race in 2014.

A number of drivers in Formula One history took their first wins in the sport at the Hungaroring including Jenson Button and Fernando Alonso. Following Button’s highs in Austria, the team were disappointed to finish 12th and 13th in tricky conditions at Silverstone. They scored their best results of the season last year in Hungary so will no doubt be trying to repeat their form this year.

Both Williams drivers finished outside the points at the British Grand Prix while both Force India drivers finished in the points. There are 19 points between the two teams and Force India are aiming to close the gap and claim fourth in the constructors championship. Ferrari are just six points ahead of Red Bull while Mercedes are well clear at the top.

Hamilton wins in Austria despite Rosberg collision

Lewis Hamilton won the Austrian Grand Prix despite a last lap incident with his team-mate.

It was the British driver who started from pole position with Nico Rosberg starting sixth following a gearbox penalty. Hamilton maintained his lead at the start with Nico Hulkenberg, who also started on the front row, dropping down the order. Jenson Button – starting a season best third for McLaren – slotted into second and was able to keep Kimi Raikkonen behind him for seven laps of the race.

Ferrari were looking strong, having started the race on a different tyre compound to the Mercedes duo. Following pit-stops it was Sebastian Vettel who led but a tyre blow-out on lap 27 put him out of the race. Raikkonen’s own stop had dropped him behind the Red Bull pairing of Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen which compromised his afternoon.

Hamilton lost out to team-mate Rosberg, who pitted first, and from there on in it looked like Rosberg’s race to lose. Having won on the previous two occasions Formula One has visited the Red Bull Ring – since its return to the calendar in 2014 – it looked like the German driver could be making it a hat-trick, despite losing out in qualifying. Hamilton closed the gap and on the last lap it became apparent that he was close enough to make a pass.

The pair collided after Rosberg failed to leave Hamilton enough space – not the first time the two of them have come to blows on the race track. Hamilton emerged unscathed after being forced wide while Rosberg’s front wing came loose. He was subsequently given a ten second penalty and a reprimand for causing a collision and not pitting an unsafe car.

Hamilton continued to win the race while Rosberg limped home in fourth – his penalty not affecting his finishing position. Joining Hamilton on the podium were Verstappen and Raikkonen. Ricciardo finished fifth ahead of McLaren’s Jenson Button who finished a credible sixth having started third. Romain Grosjean returned to points with Haas in seventh ahead of Carlos Sainz and Valtteri Bottas. Pascal Wehrlein picked up his first ever points in Formula One with a tenth place finish – Manor’s first point since Monaco 2014. Sergio Perez had been running in tenth before brake failure caused his retirement in the closing stages of the race.

Joining Perez on the sidelines were team-mate Nico Hulkenberg, Fernando Alonso, Felipe Massa, Daniil Kvyat and Vettel.

The next race is the British Grand Prix which will take place at Silverstone this weekend.

 

F1 2016: Monaco Grand Prix Preview

Formula One heads to the streets of Monte Carlo for the next round of the Formula One world championship.

The talking point after the Spanish Grand Prix was of course Formula One’s brand new race winner – Max Verstappen. He drove a faultless drive and capitalised when the Mercedes duo broke the cardinal rule of F1 – don’t crash into your team-mate. The Silver Arrows’ race came to a very premature end when Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton made contact at the fourth corner, spearing them both into the gravel trap and into early retirement from the race.

The prestigious Monaco Grand Prix is like no other on the calendar and is considered the jewel in the Formula One crown. Taking place on the tight and twisty streets of Monte Carlo, with Armco barriers just inches away, it is a race drivers particularly want to win. Like the Spanish Grand Prix qualifying is crucial around here although, while difficult, overtaking is not completely impossible.

Circuit: Circuit de Monaco
Number of Laps: 78
Circuit Length: 3.337km
Number of Corners: 19
Lap Record: 1:14.439 Michael Schumacher 2004
Previous Monaco winners still on the grid: 6
Most Successful Team: McLaren (15 wins)
DRS Zones: 1
Pirelli Tyres: Soft, Supersoft and Ultrasoft

As Jenson Button explains Monaco requires a unique set-up like no other. The track requires “more traction, high downforce, more steering angle [and] softer suspension” for the cars. With the close nature of the barriers drivers require 100% focus because one little mistake could cost a retirement.

Pirelli are bringing their new Ultrasoft tyre compound to this race and it has been favoured by all teams and drivers in their selections.

Nico Rosberg is the form man in Monaco winning the past three events there. He also won the first four races of the year and could have made it five last time out in Spain. While Lewis Hamilton had sat in second place in the championship, that spot is currently filled by Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen who finished second in Spain. Rosberg leads on 100 points with Raikkonen on 61 and Hamilton on 57. Last year in Monaco Hamilton had built up a significant lead before a pit-stop gaffe cost him the victory as well as second place.

Monaco is a race which can see the order mixed up moreso than at any other circuit during the year. This means there is an opportunity for points for teams who may not necessarily always be fighting for them. Sauber and Renault are the only two teams yet to score any points so far this year.

 

 

F1 2016: Monaco Grand Prix Tyre Choices

Tyre choices for the Monaco Grand Prix are as follows:

DRIVER Soft Supersoft Ultrasoft
Lewis Hamilton 1 2 10
Nico Rosberg 1 2 10
Sebastian Vettel 2 2 9
Kimi Raikkonen 2 2 9
Valtteri Bottas 2 4 7
Felipe Massa 2 4 7
Daniel Ricciardo 1 2 10
Max Verstappen 1 2 10
Kevin Magnussen 1 2 10
Jolyon Palmer 1 3 9
Nico Hulkenberg 3 3 7
Sergio Perez 3 3 7
Daniil Kvyat 3 3 7
Carlos Sainz 3 3 7
Fernando Alonso 1 5 7
Jenson Button 1 5 7
Marcus Ericsson 1 4 8
Felipe Nasr 1 4 8
Pascal Wehrlein 2 5 6
Rio Haryanto 2 5 6
Romain Grosjean 1 3 9
Esteban Gutierrez 1 3 9

Following the hard compound debuting for the year at the Spanish Grand Prix, another tyre compound gets its debut at the Monaco Grand Prix.

The Ultrasoft tyre is an all new compound from Pirelli and has been favoured heavily by most teams on the grid. While the Ultrasoft tyre is the compound with the most sets for all teams, the split between the other compounds vary.

Mercedes, Red Bull and Kevin Magnussen have all opted for 10 sets of Ultrasofts, two Supersoft sets and just one set of the Soft tyre. Ferrari have gone for two, two, nine for Soft, Supersoft and Ultrasoft. Jolyon Palmer and the Haas drivers have chosen just one set of Softs but three Supersofts and nine Ultrasofts. Both Williams drivers have selected four sets of the Supersofts with two Softs and seven Ultrasofts.

Force India and Toro Rosso have gone three, three, seven in terms of Softs, Supersofts and Ultrasofts, leaving just McLaren, Manor and Sauber with different strategies.

At McLaren their drivers have chosen to bring one set of Soft, five of the Supersoft and seven sets of Ultrasoft. Sauber also have one set of softs for each driver but four Supersoft and eight Ultrasoft.

The Manor team have split their choices between Supersoft and Ultrasoft a bit more evenly. Each driver will have two sets of Softs available, five Supersoft and six Ultrasoft.