F1 Driver Review: Jenson Button

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After talking about the big stories and ranking our Top 10 drivers from the 2013 FIA Formula One World Championship season, my colleague Chris Estrada and I are taking a look back on how each of the 23 Formula One drivers who took to the grid fared this past year.

Enduring a rough season to grab ninth place in the drivers’ championship was Jenson Button…

JENSON BUTTON

No. 5 McLaren-Mercedes
2013 Stats: 9th Place, 0 Wins, 0 Podiums, 2 Top-5s, 14 Top-10s, 8 Laps Led
Average Start: 10.5
Average Finish: 9.1
DNFs: 1

DiZinno says: There were some races Button made lemonade out of lemons – China and Brazil stand out – but perhaps the most frustrating item for the 2009 World Champion in 2013 was that he wasn’t able to overcome his one perceived slight of his long career, that he couldn’t exceed the machinery at his disposal. The two years McLaren has built one of the two or three best cars on the grid, Button has been able to maximize it, witness some of his performances in 2011 or 2012. But there didn’t seem a time when Button could do so in 2013. Coupled with the fact the tires were designed to go off early in the year, that also took away one of Button’s greatest assets, in terms of tire preservation over a stint. An altogether frustrating season.

Estrada says: McLaren celebrated its 50th anniversary this season but were unable to give Button a competitive car for the grand occasion. Forced to battle without the benefit of decent pace, Button was still able to squeeze a few impressive results from the MP4-28 such as his run from 14th to fourth in the season finale at Brazil. But the former World Champion could only do so much with a machine that has to be considered one of the bigger duds that McLaren’s put out in a long time. That said, he didn’t help himself with sub-par qualifying (one start in the first three rows all season) either.

IMSA: CJ Wilson Racing to enter WeatherTech Championship

Photo courtesy of IMSA
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CJ Wilson Racing, a championship winning team in IMSA’s Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge, is set to join the ranks of the WeatherTech SportsCar Championship. The team will make its IMSA debut during testing this week at Sebring International Raceway and will campaign an Acura NSX GT3 in the GT Daytona class.

Marc Miller and Till Bechtolsheimer are scheduled to handle the driving duties during the Sebring test, and a third driver, to be named at a later date, will join them for their debut race at the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring on March 17.

“As a young kid watching IMSA races, it was always my dream to race in the premier sports car series,” said team owner and former MLB all-star pitcher Wilson. “It looks like I still have some time before I race in (the) WeatherTech (Championship, as a driver) but I’m happy for Marc and Till to take on the toughest track in the country in the NSX.”

Wilson continued, “We have been aiming to get into this paddock for years but now the real fight begins to see what we can do against the much more experienced teams. So, we felt like, hey, if we’re going to go in and spend X-amount of dollars, maybe we’re better off spending that in GTD, getting our feet wet, and taking a real run at this and being where we want to be, which is having a chance to compete with the best teams in the Western Hemisphere.”
In addition to Sebring, the team will contest the other two rounds of the Tequila Patron North American Endurance Cup – the Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen and the Motul Petit Le Mans – with plans to add additional events, as team manager Andris Laivins explained.
“Right now, the plan is to run the remainder of the Patrón NAEC, and hopefully add on a couple other rounds as we go,” Laivins detailed. “Last fall, as we approached Thanksgiving, it became clear that putting a proper effort on track for the Roar and Daytona was going to be tough, and the last thing you want to do is show up to the biggest race of the year unprepared, so we made the tough choice to sit it out and keep working.”
CJ Wilson Racing’s IMSA efforts date back to 2010, when the team debuted in the Mazda MX-5 Cup as well as what is now called the Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge. The team went on to win a championship in 2015, in the Street Tuner class of the Continental Tire Challenge.
The team currently fields Porsches in the Continental Tire Challenge Grand Sport (GS) class. Wilson himself has also been an IMSA competitor as a driver, most recently competing in the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama series last year.