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Monday, 22 July, 2002, 17:04 GMT 18:04 UK
Has Button blown his chance?
British driver Jenson Button completes his move from Renault to British American Racing.

Has he taken a backward step?


This debate is now closed.


Button arrived on the Formula One scene in a blaze of excitement in 2000, scoring points in only his second race and finishing fifth at the British Grand Prix.

But he endured a disappointing 2001 season with Renault, who have dropped him in favour of test driver Fernando Alonso.

Although BAR's parnership with Honda is yet to deliver, Button will be partnering 1997 world champion Jaques Villeneuve, and the team have also appointed ex-Williams aerodynamicist Geoff Willis.

Has he missed his chance to shine with a bigger team? And will his switch to BAR be a success?



I think it is probably better than Jaguar or Sauber, but not much. The key is to have a team with a good strategy, rock solid funding and great people at the top. BAR doesn't look too bad on those criteria. Good luck Jensen!
David, UK

Button has great talent and deserves to be driving for one of the top three teams. If he is given a reasonably good car he will excel the way he did this year. I hope Richards turns BAR around, because it would be really sad to see Button becoming another Fisichella - talented but never lands a good drive!
Olatuke, Canada

Renault haven't been a big team since Schumacher raced for what was then known as the Benetton team, so Button hasn't left a big team to go to a small one.


I would have sacked Trulli, as I feel that Jenson has outraced the Italian all year
Phil, USA

BAR have had a couple of seasons now in F1 and they are learning fast. They have the potential to be a points scoring team and Button will surely help them to do that.
Ryan, UK

Jenson being sacked by Renault reminds me of 1996 when Williams sacked Damon Hill just as he was about to win the F1 World Championship (although Jenson isn't quite there - yet!). I have followed Jenson's career since joining Williams and truly believe that he will be world champion one day.

I have also followed Dave Richards' career from rally co-driver to rally team manager and now to F1 team principal, and firmly believe that Dave is the man to take BAR and Jenson to the very top of F1.
Graham, UK

I think Renault have made a poor choice in dropping Jenson for Alonso. Personally I would have sacked Trulli, as I feel that Jenson has outraced the Italian all year. I am not sure what his time at BAR will bring. I only hope that he can elevate the team. Something the far more talented JV has not been able to do. Good Luck Jenson!
Phil, USA


He can become one of the best drivers of all time as long as he learns from his mistakes
Matthew Fletcher, England

Bad teams can mask the talents of great drivers. That is what is happening in Villeneuve's case and I strongly feel that it is going to happen in Jensen's case too. This sport is losing its grace by shifting from a drivers' sport to a car-makers' sport.
RS, USA

Button is in his early stage of his career. He can become one of the best drivers of all time as long as he learns from his mistakes.

I think the move to BAR will help his chances but if he wants to become great he must use this chance to show his talent
Matthew Fletcher, England

I don't think it's a case of if BAR deliver the goods, but when. The team is very well funded and Honda certainly have the capability to produce race-winning engines. Let's just hope it all comes together during Jenson's time with the team.
Richard Atkins, UK

BAR look likely to have an "exclusive" Honda deal next year. With the backing of one of motorsport's major players, it's likely that JB can shine within the team and prove why he made it straight to F1 from F3.
George Duff, UK

Jenson Button is still 22. Michael Schumacher is 33, and he feels he can go on for another seven years. JB will develop into one of the best F1 drivers in the coming years and will be around for the next 20 years. I wonder what will happen to Mr Alonso in the same period.
Alastair Hallows, UK

Jenson has got the best option available. There was no way he could get into Ferrari, McLaren or Williams, and with Renault being more concerned about management contracts than points scoring BAR is the best he could have done.

Honda used to be a top engine supplier with Williams, and it's up to BAR and Honda together to regain that level of performance.
Andy, UK


Finding a firm seat for next season with an emerging team cannot be considered a backward move - being out of work would be
Paul, UK

Button is definitely a talent for the future, and why Renault let him go is anyone's guess. However, with BAR now under the direction of Dave Richards, I think Jenson has made the right choice. World Champion in 2006/2007 is my bet.
Phil Cunningham, UK

Maybe Jaques should take a cut in salary to enable BAR to spend more on car development. I'm sure that Honda will improve their engine, so Jenson should be in a good car in a couple of years.
Tim, UK

Good luck to Jenson. I'm happy to hear that he is free from obligation to Williams, as this allows him to be his own man. It will be interesting to compare performances with Jacques Villeneuve.

No matter what you think of his BAR experience (let alone his salary), as an ex-champion he clearly should have what it takes to win. But driving inadequate machinery doesn't help, so let's hope Dave Richards and Honda can provide a car that these talented chaps deserve!
Abi, Japan

Finding a firm seat for next season with an emerging team cannot be considered a backward move - being out of work would be.


If Jenson has the hunger and desire he can be as good as he wants to be
Fred, UK

I think Jenson has a great opportunity, and being alongside an ex-champion of the world's two premier motor racing series will improve his skill immeasurably. All he needs to do now is get a win or a podium to show Renault the error of their ways. Go for it Jensen!
Paul, UK

Best wishes to Jenson - I hope he does well at BAR. Give him time and the right package and we'll have another British World Champion.
Andrew Holloway, England

Good luck to Jenson with BAR. They are still developing the team, and this is the best time for him to join. I expected better from Williams, but if Jenson has the hunger and desire he can be as good as he wants to be.
Fred, UK

I don't believe Jenson has blown his chances, I think they were blown by luck - first with Williams and now with Renault. His dismissals were made regardless of his performances, but he is still very young. Who knows what another five years may bring?
Jonathan, UK

I am concerned that Jenson is not being given the chance to prove that he has what it takes to become world champion. Renault must be mad to let him go in favour of Alonso. I just hope that David Richards and BAR can develop the car so that JB can deliver. He's proved this season that he is up to it, so please don't let him down guys!
Karen Corbridge, Wilts, UK


What Jenson needs now is the one thing F1 bosses are notorious for not giving their drivers - time
Nick Barber, England

This is a great move for Jenson, which will help him on his way to becoming the next British world champion. Renault were stupid to let him go, but then when you see who Trulli's and Alonso's manager is it is no surprise!
Simon Hutchings, England

Jenson has the chance to measure himself alongside a former World Champion in the same team. He may not be challenging for the wins next year, but he is in the perfect position to show all the other teams what he is capable of.

Furthermore, Dave Richards is no fool, and has what it takes to move the team forward to a more competitive standing.
Paul, UK

I do not think that this is a step back, as it was not his choice to leave. Instead this is the best move available to him under the circumstances. I hope for his own sake, he beats the Renault boys next year!
Fraser MacDougall, Scotland

What Jenson needs now is the one thing F1 bosses are notorious for not giving their drivers - time. With Dave Richards at the helm and the full backing of Honda, Jenson has made the best move open to him. If he can last the full four years he will be World Champion.
Nick Barber, England


BAR and Honda do not have what it takes to challenge the established order
David, UK

Jenson Button has proved this year that he is the 'best of the rest' driver in F1, having the highest points total outside BMW, McLaren and Ferrari drivers. So I am saddened that he hasn't been given the chance at a more successful team than BAR.

However I hope he can prove to his critics what a good driver he is by doing for BAR what he's done for Renault this year. Good luck Jenson!
Tim, UK

From now on I can only see him going from one uncompetitive team to another. BAR and Honda do not have what it takes to challenge the established order.

The Honda engine is not good enough, and even with Geoff Willis at BAR now, the car will not be that much better. It is a team effort and that's what Geoff had at Williams. I hope I'm wrong, but it doesn't look like a World Championship winning team to me.
David, UK

Michael Schumacher didn't inherit a great team, he helped create it. It's now time for Jenson to prove he is up to the same task, and do what Jacques Villenueve has failed to do at BAR so far.


Good luck to Jenson and BAR for next year
Adrian Rothery, England

This is a fantastic opportunity for Jenson to show whether he's just a flash-in-the-pan pin-up boy, or a committed, tenacious F1 driver. Top drivers shine no matter what team they're in. Look at Mark Webber's performance this season! Jenson, it's time to put up or shut up - there are plenty of others bashing at F1's door.
Brendan Delfino, Hong Kong

Jensen, prove Renault wrong by achieving better results from now on. I strongly believe you can do better than just getting 15 points. Make Renault regret what they did.
Andrew, Malaysia

One only has to look at Villeneuve's career to have an answer. Poor Jacques got the big money, (and there certainly is no harm in that), but his career has stalled since he signed for BAR. Certainly not a 'Lucky' Strike!
Joe Rinehart, San Francisco, Ca, USA

I couldn't be more pleased for Jenson. There will be quite a few F1 fans that will have a new team to support in the 2003 season. Good luck to Jenson and BAR for next year.
Adrian Rothery, England


The thought of another good young driver messing up his career there is a saddening one
Tim, England

I think the real loser in this situation is the Renault team. To choose an inexperienced rookie over Jenson - clearly one of the most talented drivers around - is a bizarre decision. I think BAR are getting a great driver, and if they can finally progress and give Jacques and Jenson the car they keep promising then Jenson should do well.
Joel Hockley, UK

Button is Britain's best chance of a world champion. He has experience and there is still potential left to fulfil. Unfortunately he chose BAR. The thought of another good young driver messing up his career there is a saddening one. Villeneuve was like Montoya when he entered F1, but now he is thrilled just to finish a race.
Tim, England

Prior to F1, Jenson raced in F3 where he fought wheel to wheel with Mark Webber, who's now driving for Minardi. Driving for BAR next year may not bring him closer to race wins, but he's still better off than Mark! Both drivers are obviously talented, and will no doubt get their chances in the best machinery when the opportunities arrive.
Jon, UK

Jenson is an outstanding talent that has been victim to some rather manipulative people and bad timing. Even before he got his eye in at Williams the writing was on the wall for him.

The Williams hierarchy set on getting Montoya over from the US, and this is despite the fact that he frequently out-qualified and out-raced Ralf Schumacher. Just think what he could achieve in the Williams now that they are finding form!

Let's hope that under Dave Richards we can see the same thing that developed between Richards and McCrae at Prodrive, and the development of a World Champion!
Ed, England

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21 Jul 02 | Formula One
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