Whilst Bernie Ecclestone has tipped Jenson Button as a potential Formula 1 World Champion in 2009, such has been the scintillating pre-season testing pace of the new Brawn GP [see separate story – click here
], former title-winner John Surtees has suggested that the 2006 Hungarian Grand Prix winner was lucky to keep his seat at the Brackley-based outfit at all.
The new BGP 001 has been tearing up the test tracks since its launch last month, to such an extent that both Button and hugely experienced team-mate Rubens Barrichello are now being considered front-runners for victory in the curtain-raising Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne this coming weekend.
Despite being on a considerably greater retainer than his Brazilian colleague, however, Button was largely shown the way by Barrichello in 2008, being out-qualified ten times to eight and out-scored by the margin of eleven points to just three. Surtees reckons the 29-year-old should also have been shown the door.
“Sebastian Vettel is a good example of a real driver,” the 1964 F1 World Champion told the Daily Mirror
. “Look at Button instead – frankly, I wouldn't have confirmed him with the team.
“If you don't give 100 per cent even when the car is not so good, you have to be sacked. You can't be good just when you have a good car – but even when you don't.”