F1 Flashback: Jenson Button becomes world champion

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Four years ago today, one of the greatest fairytales in the history of Formula One was completed as Jenson Button became world champion at the Brazilian Grand Prix.

The Briton may now be one of the best drivers in the sport, but his career had largely been a case of “close but not close enough” until 2009. Having finished third in the championship with BAR in 2004, Button claimed his maiden grand prix victory in 2006 when the team became Honda. However, the team’s formed nosedived in 2007 and 2008, prompting the Japanese manufacturer to withdraw ahead of the 2009 season.

The team was rescued by Ross Brawn and subsequently rebranded Brawn GP for the 2009 season. With a raft of regulation changes, the car had been in development for two years and was immediately a success. Button won six of the opening seven races to enjoy a healthy lead in the championship, but a downturn in fortunes meant that he was soon under pressure from teammate Rubens Barrichello and Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel (who had just four career victories to his name at this point).

However, come the Brazilian Grand Prix, Button had the chance to become the second successive British world champion following Lewis Hamilton’s success in 2008. Despite qualifying down in fourteenth, the Brawn driver managed to fight his way through the field to finish fifth and clinch the title.

Upon crossing the line, Button broke into a rather muffled rendition of Queen’s “We Are the Champions” as he capped off a memorable season.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tBtOt6RlmzQ&w=560&h=315]

In 2010, Brawn became Mercedes’ works team that still competes to this day, whilst Button secured a move to McLaren with whom he has won eight races and came second in the 2011 drivers’ championship.

Ken Roczen signs with HEP Progressive Ecstar Suzuki for 2023

Roczen Progressive Ecstar Suzuki
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ANAHEIM, California – Ken Roczen will make the move from HRC Honda to H.E.P. Motorsports with the Progressive Ecstar Suzuki team, ending a long and eventful offseason that saw his split from his longstanding team after he committed to running World Supercross (WSX).

“H.E.P. Motorsports is thrilled to announce that the team has signed Ken Roczen as its premier rider for the 2023 season,” the team announced on Instagram. “Former AMA Motocross champion Roczen will be aboard a Suzuki RM-Z450. Roczen, who won his most recent championship on a Suzuki, will be reunited with the brand and bring his exciting style, determination, and grit back to the RM Army.

“Ken Roczen will compete in the upcoming 2023 Supercross and Motocross Championship series which is set to start on January 7 at Anaheim Stadium in Southern California.”

For Roczen, it is a return to the bike of his youth and on which he had some of his greatest professional success.

“This thing has been going on for weeks and weeks and weeks in the making, but there was so much uncertainty,” Roczen told NBC Sports during Monster Energy Supercross Media Sessions. “It was a very unique situation. I just finally signed two nights ago, so it’s really only legit once the ink hits the paper. It’s been in the works for a long time, but there were just a lot of questions and a lot of input from a lot of other teams too.

“Good things take time, and I’m okay with that. I grew up riding Suzuki. Ot’s like a homecoming. It’s a special feeling”

Roczen won the 2016 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship on a Suzuki before making the move to Honda. That year he won nine of 12 Nationals and finished no worse than second as he easily outpaced Eli Tomac by 86 points. He finished third in his next Pro Motocross outing in 2018 after sitting out the outdoor season in 2017.

“I am beyond excited to reconnect with Suzuki for the 3rd time in my career. We’ve had a lot of success in the past and I’m looking forward to seeing what we can accomplish together in our future.” Roczen said in the Instagram post.