No more Mr nice guy
Jenson Button deserves better than to be scrabbling for points with the midfielders. So perhaps, argues Peter Windsor, it's time for JB to take charge of his - and McLaren's destiny...
Watching Jenson Button drive has always been a pleasure. There's something neat and tidy about his style, something relentlessly repeatable. He makes it look easy. He's a driver of F1 cars. He works with simulators, data engineers and telemetry. He's triathlon-fit. He's quick when the car is quick, slow when the car is slow - but you'd never know the difference unless you looked at the lap times. He's rarely out of line. He rarely locks inside fronts. Everything makes sense with Jenson. Almost everything seems to be reduced to a science.
And then there's that other thing, when race day dawns grey and damp and you know there's going to be a lot of talk about wets and inters and the best tyres on which to start. Everyone looks to Jenson. What's Jenson on? When will Jenson change? Nobody does it better. Ask Lewis Hamilton about Brazil 2012. Both of them were out there on used Pirelli mediums when the rain began to fall... and it was Jenson who won the day. Lewis, or his guys, got the pressures wrong. Jenson, or his guys, got them right.
So on the face of it, Jenson is the appropriate driver to be at McLaren right now. He's great with the sponsors; he's a world champion. He's available at just the right degree - when required, but only sparingly. And the board know that all they have to do is give Jenson a good car. If they do that, undoubtedly he will win with it. If they don't, he won't. Simple. He's a plug-in guarantee. He's the sort of driver that boards love to love. Fernando Alonso or Juan-Pablo Montoya - irascible, political, divisive - he is not.