With just four rounds remaining and a 14 point lead over Brawn GP
team-mate Rubens Barrichello, Martin Brundle believes the 2009 F1 World Championship is firmly Jenson Button's to lose.
“Barrichello may have won the Italian Grand Prix
but second-place man and team-mate Button went to the race with a new mindset,” Brundle wrote in his BBC
“Some solid sports psychology obviously worked when he decided to view himself in a five-race season in which he was gifted a 16-point head start.
“That approach works just as well now, with four races remaining and a 14-point advantage.
“All he has to do to stop the erosion of his lead is beat his team-mate in one or two of the remaining races, and follow him home in the rest. It's his to lose.”
But Barrichello has outscored Button in the last three events, two of which he has won, while Button has now gone six races without a victory.
However Brundle - a former team-mate to Barrichello at Jordan - believes the Brazilian is simply running out of races.
“[Barrichello] now has to take three-and-a-half points per race off Button in the same car. So realistically he's going to need his team-mate to crash or have a reliability issue.”
The all-Brawn title fight marks the high point in an incredible season for the former Honda squad, whose very presence on the 2009 F1 grid was a real doubt.
The team's biggest challenge will now be to ensure that both drivers are given a fair crack at the crown.
“The championship battle will have to be well managed at Brawn GP,” confirmed Brundle. “They say both drivers will receive the same development parts, service and opportunities; and providing they don't take each other off the track they will be free to race.
“Team boss Ross Brawn is a calm hand at the helm but he's only used to having one dominant driver up for the championship, namely Michael Schumacher.