Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Button was born on January 19, 1980, in Frome, Somerset, England. He began karting at age eight, generally dominating every race in which he took part. In 1991, he won the British Cadet Kart Championship, taking first place in all 34 races. In 1997, he became the youngest driver ever to win the European Super A Championship. He switched from karts to cars in 1998, winning the British Formula Ford Championship that same year for Haywood Racing. Button entered Formula Three in 1999, winning two races and placing third in the British Championship.
McLaren awarded Button their Young Driver Award in 1999. He began testing in F1 in 2000, switching teams a bit, often outpacing Prost's regular driver Jean Alesi's times in testing at Barcelona. This auspicious debut caught the attention of Sir Frank Williams, of Williams F1 fame, who wanted Button as his testing driver; however, Button quickly began outpacing Williams's second driver, Bruno Junqueira , so Button was contracted as the team's junior driver. He finished eighth in the 2000 drivers championship, proving that he was genuinely fast by outscoring his teammate (the more experienced Ralf Schumacher) on many occasions. His best races of the season were a fourth place finish at the German Grand Prix and a fifth place showing in Belgium.
In 2001, although still under contract with Williams, Button drove for Benetton, but he had quite a dismal season; the car, which was constantly under development that year, was never fast, nor was Jenson. He did, however, place fifth at the German Grand Prix, but fell to a disappointing seventeenth in the drivers championship that year.
In 2002, Benetton was purchased by, and renamed as, Renault, and Button proved to the world that 2001 was just bad luck. Though his teammate Jarno Trulli routinely outpaced him in qualifying, Button had the superior race pace. He barely missed third place (and his first podium) at the Malaysian Grand Prix, being passed by Michael Schumacher in the last lap due to a suspension failure in his BAR, instead finishing the race fourth. The Brazilian Grand Prix gave him another fourth place; he would finish seventh in that year's drivers championship.
In 2003, Button joined the BAR team alongside former world champion Jacques Villeneuve. A bit of bad blood arose between them when Villeneuve spoilt a points-finish for Button in the first race of the year (at the Australian Grand Prix) by coming into the pits when it was Button's turn to pit. This resulted in an season-long "war of words" in the press between the two BAR teammates. However, as the season progressed, Button's times were consistently better than Villeneuve's, his best result being a fourth place in Austria. Unfortunately, Button crashed heavily during Friday practice at Monaco, causing him to miss both the race and the following testing session at Monza. He finished ninth in the drivers championship that year with 17 points, with teammate Villeneuve scoring 6.
In 2004, Button and BAR made a surprise jump to the top of the heap (beneath the ubiquitous Michael Schumacher and Ferrari). He finished the first race (Australian Grand Prix) in sixth place after a brilliant qualifying session, and in Malaysia Button landed his first ever podium finish with a third place, which he reprised at the inaugural Bahrain Grand Prix. His (and BAR's) first pole position came in April at the San Marino Grand Prix, in which he finished second. By clinching third place in the 2004 season with a total of 85 points, Button confirmed his position as a significant challenger to the F1 crown.
On August 5, 2004 Button announced that he had signed a two-year contract to return to Williams from the start of the 2005 season; an apparent loophole in his BAR contract permitted him to leave if Honda's commitment to the team was in any doubt. BAR boss David Richards promptly vowed to fight to keep his driver, though Sir Frank Williams maintained that the switch was entirely legal. The FIA Contract Recognition Board (CRB) held a hearing to determine Jenson's 2005 status on October 16 in Milan, Italy, concluding that he was contracted to BAR for the 2005 season.
Button has so far participated in 87 grands prix. He has achieved 10 podiums, and scored a total of 130 championship points.
Complete Formula One results
(Note: grands prix in bold denote points scoring races.)
The contents of this article is licensed from www.wikipedia.org under the GNU Free Documentation License. Click here to see the transparent copy and copyright details