Bernie Ecclestone has urged Jenson Button to secure the 2009 F1 drivers' title in style – even if that means blowing his chances of wrapping up the crown this weekend in Brazil.
Button goes into the Brazilian GP knowing that a podium finish would secure the crown, while Brawn GP team-mate and Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel will hope to keep their title hopes alive by outscoring the Briton at Interlagos.
Despite his stunning start to the season, which saw him win six of the first seven races, Button has failed to take to the top step of the podium since Turkey in June – and indeed has only secured on top-three finish since the Istanbul race.
That run of results have led to some people suggesting that Button is now simply stuttering towards the title, and Ecclestone said the ideal way for the Brawn driver to silence his critics would be to secure the title in style in Abu Dhabi – rather than by simply picking up a few points in Brazil.
"If Jenson gets points here and wins the title by finishing fourth or fifth, no one's going to remember that," Ecclestone told the Daily Mirror
. "I'd like to see him win it in style - not score any points in Brazil and win in Abu Dhabi. That would be doing it in style. People would remember that.
"People have criticised him for being cautious so he could prove them wrong by winning in Abu Dhabi when everything's on the line. He deserves to win the championship."
Team boss Ross Brawn meanwhile insisted that Button was the 'complete' driver, even if he conceded that his driver's approach has changed in recent races.
"He's aggressive when he needs to be, but he's not a hooligan,” he said in an interview the Guardian
. “Look at some of his moves this year – that one on Robert Kubica in Japan was classic. His moves are very clean, almost like a surgeon's knife. He's not the sort of guy to go charging up the inside with all the wheels locked. And equally he's very good at accepting pressure when someone's climbing all over him. His track craft is very good. He knows where he's got to hold the line and look after things. And he doesn't get overtaken very often, particularly now he's got a good car. He's a thinking driver with a good analytical brain and he pays a lot of attention to strategy and to what's needed. He's very complete.
"I've seen signs of where he's probably been a little bit more conservative in his approach than he would have been in the first half of the season, when he could think, 'There's nothing to lose, let's go for it'. He wouldn't agree, and I don't think there's any way for me to try and force it. That would be futile. It's human nature. Someone said to me the other day that if you're playing a football match and you go in at half-time 3–0 ahead, you don't play the second half the same way. I can understand that. I wish it weren't the case. But it creeps in.
“For me the interesting thing would be if Jenson were able to win it here, what would the race in Abu Dhabi be like? I'd love to see him in Abu Dhabi with no pressure, to see if it's any different. Maybe it's not."