Will Jenson Button ever recapture his form? Inevitably, the answer I see is "no."
I remember watching Button complete 96 laps on a testing day at Silverstone earlier this summer, and he failed to impress me. I saw the Brit trying to push his Honda as hard as he could, but he achieved nothing. He completed the most laps of the field, and still he remained the second slowest.
This season he has not done anything of note; it's been another wasted season. The Brit that promised so much has let down so many. If it were not for the emergence of fellow Brit Lewis Hamilton taking his thunder, the British public would have been left to ponder more disappointment.
Button’s 2008 car simply had to run its course. Maybe the newly installed Team Principal Ross Brawn will be able to set a flamethrower to it, destroy any remains, and bury them deep into the ground. Concentration on next season must be the key.
Once again, Button saw out another season in which he faded massively. His car was "complained" about as the reason, but you have to start questioning his ability.
His solitary win at Hungary in August 2006 seems a distant memory. It took him 113 races to win just one and it will probably take another 113 for him to come even close again. This season he failed to better his 15 podiums and that may always be the case.
Button’s 2008 teammate Rubens Barrichello has been achieving the better results—a third place finish at Silverstone was majestic—and it was with the same car. Again, Button remained disappointing.
His next contract extension for Honda Racing is a question mark. His current deal expires at the end of next season. Will another disappointing campaign mean the end of his love affair with Honda?
Nigel Mansell came out to criticise Button especially as the preeminent British drive in F1 was taken by newbie Lewis Hamilton. Mansell claimed, “He (Button) had the opportunity and he didn’t take it—there won’t be any more.”
I believe that is the case also. His time in the sun is well and truly over. I am not even convinced that Honda will offer him a drive after next season. His high wages and failure to reach his potential have come under scrutiny.
When Button joined Williams Formula One team in 2000 at age 20, he wowed fans with electrifying driving and scored points all season. Unlike Hamilton, Button did not win a race in his season.
However, he was the youngest man ever to score points in Formula One when he finished sixth at the Brazilian Grand Prix before Sebastian Vettel took that title off him with an eighth placed finish at the United States Grand Prix.
From then on Button spent several seasons in eclipse, before rising briefly to score a few podiums and a race victory. He has now disappeared once again. And who knows when he may rise again?