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After Austria
Championship Standings:
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2 Ferrari 192
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10 Marussia 0
 
Button has something to prove with move to McLaren

by Scott Morris
Thursday, November 19, 2009

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Jenson Button may be out to prove his critics wrong
So...here we go. For the second time in history, McLaren will have in it's stable the two most recent World Champions, both British mind you. I don't see the potency here that we saw when Prost and Senna were corralled together, but this will be quite interesting. I think it has a unique element to the deal that is quite rare these days.

I might be making a bit of an assumption here, but I think Jenson Button decided he still has a statement to make, and going up against the previous World Champion in the same equipment, is really the only way to answer that question and silence the naysayers and innuendo.

I can almost hear the conversation as Jenson and Ron Dennis strolled through the glitzy halls of the equivalent of racing's Buckingham Palace. Ron would stop by the Wall of McLaren Champions that the facility certainly must feature. I can only imagine that it is a gallery with crisp shiny walls and giant Randy Owens commissioned artwork of Emerson Fittipaldi, James Hunt, Niki Lauda, Alain Prost, Ayrton Senna, Mika Hakkinen, and of course his new teammate. How could he not want to see his name on that wall? Who can blame him.

For once it seems that there are things that mean more than money. I had some issue with Jeff Gordon, who I think might have had the talent to win in bigger series than NASCAR, but decided to stay there for his career. Personally, I would have liked to see this sort of spirit in him; seeking out new challenges and higher highs.

All along, the press and rumors told the story as if it were about money, but here it seems like it was more about principle and pride, and money was simply the measure. Jensen gave up a huge portion of his salary to stay on with Brawn and deliver their championship. As far as I have deduced, he simply wanted his previously agreed salary back. Especially when Mercedes ensured the financial stability of the team, they should have rewarded him for his sacrifice without his asking. When that did not happen, I have to think that he lost respect for Ross brawn and Nick Fry.

It now also seems obvious that there is some bad blood now, with the Brawn announcement today that they will not me making any goodwill gesture to release Button from his current contract for the remainder of 2009.

This of course opened the door for McLaren to appeal to Jensen's pride and emotions.

For once we are seeing a driver accept a challenge that will test his mettle. He knows everyone hails Hamilton, Kimi and Alonso and Vettel, as the paddock's premier drivers. I think he made this decision knowing that his championship is somewhat clouded by the huge advantage they had with the Brawn car and its miracle diffuser for the first half of the season. Once things evened out, Button did not seem to have much for the hot-shoe quartet.

He would be blind to think that people did not take notice of this. Most people, and especially a driver, all love to say they don't care what people think, but it is rarely true. I am sure Jensen would love to replace the asterisk on his name in the public's mental record book, with an exclamation point.

I think he is going to McLaren to prove something to himself and to the world.  Candidly, I doubt he will best Hamilton even if they both draw straws for their car on any given weekend. But I certainly respect what appears to be a competitor taking on a bigger challenge, and seeking to push himself yet higher.

One thing is for sure...it will be interesting to watch.

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