Welcome back to another edition of the Slipstream. So after four races it seems we have a new world order in F1, for the time being at least. Brawn GP and the team formerly known as Jaguar and Stewart Grand Prix have managed to secure wins. As the F1 circus flies back to Europe to begin the prep work for their European assaults, the mighty teams of Ferrari, McLaren, and Renault are left behind a very large eight ball.
The world championship may already be lost to their drivers and hopes of a constructors title. As was predicted in the Slipstream and in may other articles in this forum, the tide has in fact changed and I am sure there are a few mechanics installing panic buttons in the Renaults, McLarens, and Ferraris. Oh wait, they already have that. It's just called KERS.
The headline of this article is to elaborate a point that has been made several times by the Speed commentary team, and what seems like a general view of F1 pundits. The point being, that up until today, Button's victories have never really been seen as legitimate wins.
Up until today's duel in the desert, Jenson's winning record has always been marred by people claiming that his win in Hungary was a complete fluke. Yes, Button has admitted in a tongue in cheek fashion that the race became easier to win by not having a resurgent Michael Schumacher and pressured Fernando Alonso on track. He still managed to bring his car home in varied conditions and still managed to fend off the rest of the cars still on track. But that "win" was seen as just a victory.
He has also joked that even in this season of suprises, he had only won behind the saftey car. To take this kind of an approach to a career that has had almost as many critics as Lewis Hamilton (myself included) I commend the Englishman. The fact still remains, Jenson brought his car home in Melbourne while taking on difficult lighting conditions and enough on track action to make even Steve McQueen shaky.
In his other win before today, he managed to combat the near impossible traction quality of the Sepang circuit. Driving in monsoon like conditions in a Formula One car must be like trying to follow an M.Knight Shamalyan film....darn near impossible.
Today, was the day even the cynical of cynics were proved wrong. Button wrestled the win from a hard charging Vettel, and took advantage of a Toyota meltdown more akin to a popsicle in humid July weather. In two weeks time the bulk of the season gets under way. In two weeks time, we will see if the teams of old can match the offensive mounted by this new order. A new dawn in Formula 1 has arrived and it is now up to the old guard to escape the eclipse, or be caught in the sunset.
So until then, give Jenson his due. Give him his four victories and enjoy the time off. Coming later this week, a more philosophical view of motor sports.
See you in Barcelona!