Button predicts a great season

2003 saw some much-needed competition and entertainment in Formula One and Jenson Button predicts 2004 will continue the same way. While it seems likely that Ferrari, Williams and McLaren will still be the teams at the front of the grid, Button believes the midfield, such as his own team BAR, Jaguar and Toyota will be making progress.

Jenson Button.
Photo by Brousseau Photo.
"It's going to be so competitive," he told the BBC. "There's not one team you could pick out which is going to be above the rest. We're going to be a lot stronger, and Renault will still be around that area. Toyota will be strong and Jaguar are going to make a good step forward. It's going to be a great season and it will be good to see the field bunch up a bit more and have some competitive racing."

Button admitted that the glamour and money of F1 was something he took advantage of when he started in the series, but he was quickly criticized for his playboy image. Now, however, he said he has grown up and left all that behind him. 2003 was Button's first season with BAR and he was pleased with his performance.

"I didn't go into the year to prove myself, but I was so happy after Suzuka about the season," he said. "I just think I've done a great job, given everything and proved that I have the ability to be at the front. I'm not just a driver who is quick -- I can work with the team very well. My time will come at the front and I think it's very near."

Former F1 champion Jackie Stewart was one who thought Button would not make the grade earlier in his career but he has since revised his opinion. "I thought Jenson improved significantly towards the end of last season," Stewart told the British press. "He had some outstanding races and only mechanical problems prevented him from getting on to the podium. I questioned Jenson's attitude earlier in his career, but he's got it right now."

Button has moved around in his four years in F1; Williams, then Benetton, which evolved into Renault, and now BAR. Speculation is rife concerning who will take the race seat at Williams in 2005 vacated by Juan Pablo Montoya and Button's name has been mentioned. For now, Jenson is only concentrating on next season.

"If I don't perform next year nothing will happen, so I've just got to focus on that," he said "I want to be in the best car, one that can give me the world championship. But I think we're moving in the right direction, and I want to be in a team that I've built around me."