F1 2014 Driver Review: Jenson Button


Jenson Button

Team: McLaren-Mercedes
Car No.: 22
Races: 19
Wins: 0
Podiums (excluding wins): 1
Pole Positions: 0
Fastest Laps: 0
Points: 126
Laps Led: 1
Championship Position: 8th

Luke Smith (@LukeSmithF1)

2014 has been a difficult year for Jenson Button both on and off track, with the 2009 world champion losing his father, John Button, in January to a heart attack. Jenson did consider quitting motorsport altogether, but opted to race on and lead McLaren’s charge into the new season.

After a difficult 2013, 2014 started in far better fashion with a podium finish in Australia following Daniel Ricciardo’s disqualification, but that would be as good as it got for McLaren. Once again, the MP4-29 car was sub-standard despite running with a Mercedes engine, leaving the team scrambling in the lower echelons of the top ten.

Button proved he was made of sterner stuff once again, and claimed seven top-five finishes across the course of the year, finishing with over double the score of teammate Kevin Magnussen. However, he is still not sure of his place with McLaren for 2015, with the team still trying to decide between its two current drivers as a teammate for Fernando Alonso.

If Abu Dhabi did prove to be his final race, thanks for the memories, JB. You’re a class act that has given a human face to a sport that is hidden behind smoke and mirrors.

Tony DiZinno (@tonydizinno)

This year had a different and slightly sad feel for Jenson Button, in that it felt as though things were conspiring against him to make things unnecessarily complicated or difficult. But nonetheless, Button remained all class ‘til the end, assuming it is the end of his F1 career as is likely.

Things started brutally at the beginning of the year with the loss of his father John, one of the paddock’s favorites. Jenson frequently wore a pink helmet throughout the year in tribute. On a happier note, he did announce an engagement to longtime girlfriend Jessica Michibata, so that was good to see.

On track he remained tenacious and dedicated as ever. Some seriously strong drives occurred at several points – Silverstone stood out to me – and his final run of five races included four top-five finishes in a car that was, at best, the third best chassis in the field by the end of the year. He beat rookie Kevin Magnussen in both qualifying and results, which showed he was still at the top of his game.  The only shame was that his promotion to a Melbourne podium finish didn’t get to feature a podium celebration, as it came after Daniel Ricciardo’s disqualification.

McLaren has hung him – and Magnussen, for that matter – out to dry by delaying their driver announcement as long as they have. Overall, fans still want to see him with McLaren for one more year. But it may be in his best interest to leave with folks wanting more, rather than them being disappointed he held on too long.

Indianapolis Motor Speedway can have 10,000 fans for IndyCar races

Indianapolis Motor Speedway fans
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Indianapolis Motor Speedway will have crowds for its NTT IndyCar Series race weekend next month, the first time fans are allowed at the track this year.

The track announced Friday that up to 10,000 fans will be allowed in the grandstands daily from Oct. 1-4. The IndyCar Harvest GP race doubleheader will be held on the track’s road course Oct. 2-3.

IMS has played host to several events this year without fans, including the 104th Indianapolis 500 on Aug. 23 and a NASCAR-IndyCar weekend July 4-5 that included the Brickyard 400. Plans originally were made to have fans at the Indy 500 before reversing course a few weeks ahead of the race. In a letter last month, Roger Penske vowed that fans would return for the 2021 Indy 500.

“We can’t wait to see fans come through our gates for the first time in 2020,” IMS president Doug Boles said in a release. “They’ll be greeted by a vastly improved facility, featuring significant upgrades to the spectator experience. We’re also extremely grateful to have a presenting sponsor with the expertise and resources of GMR as we look to implement our detailed and comprehensive health and safety plan.”

Fans will undergo temperature screenings upon entry and also be required to wear face coverings at all times on property. The track said each attendee will receive a mask and bottle of hand sanitizer.

The Friday, Oct. 2 race will be shown at 3:30 p.m. ET on USA, and NBC will broadcast the Saturday, Oct. 3 race at 2:30 p.m. ET.

Here’s the release from Indianapolis Motor Speedway:

INDIANAPOLIS, Friday, Sept. 18, 2020 – For the first time in 2020, Indianapolis Motor Speedway will welcome fans to the Racing Capital of the World for the INDYCAR Harvest GP presented by GMR weekend. Up to 10,000 spectators can be in the grandstands each day of racing action Oct. 1-4, per approval from the Marion County Public Health Department.

Tickets are available now via IMS.com and will be sold on a first-come, first-served basis.

The massive facility, which holds more than 300,000 people, will provide two spectator zones with up to 5,000 fans in each. The zones will be located in Turns 1 and 4 of the oval, offering strong sightlines of the road course. Strict health and safety rules will be in place, including the following:

  • Face coverings must be worn throughout the property at all times;
  • All fans will receive temperature screenings before gate entry;
  • Grandstand seats will be marked for distancing;
  • Attendees must use pre-assigned gates and remain in their designated zones.

Global Medical Response, the world leader in compassionate, quality emergency medical and patient relocation services, will be the presenting sponsor of the penultimate weekend of INDYCAR racing this season.

“We can’t wait to see fans come through our gates for the first time in 2020,” IMS President J. Douglas Boles said. “They’ll be greeted by a vastly improved facility, featuring significant upgrades to the spectator experience. We’re also extremely grateful to have a presenting sponsor with the expertise and resources of GMR as we look to implement our detailed and comprehensive health and safety plan.”

The plan, which includes each attendee receiving a mask and a bottle of hand sanitizer upon entering the track, was developed in consultation with state and local health officials.

This event weekend is highlighted by an NTT INDYCAR SERIES doubleheader, with races Friday, Oct. 2 and Saturday, Oct. 3. It will be the penultimate event of the series’ season as the field pursues the champion’s prestigious Astor Challenge Cup to be awarded Sunday, Oct. 25 at the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.

The INDYCAR Harvest GP will pay tribute to a storied IMS event, the Harvest Classic in September 1916. The Harvest Classic was the only racing event held outside of May at IMS from 1911 through 1993. The event featured three races, all won by legendary driver Johnny Aitken.

Fans also will see a host of facility improvements during the event weekend, including more than 30 new LED video boards, refreshed concession stands and restrooms, and 5G wireless connectivity throughout the facility.

The first race will air at 3:30 p.m. (ET) Friday, Oct. 2 on the USA Network. NBC will broadcast the second race at 2:30 p.m. (ET) Saturday, Oct. 3, with WTHR-13 airing the action live in Central Indiana.

Also racing that weekend will be the first pairing of two major sports car series — the Intercontinental GT Challenge Powered by Pirelli and its North American counterpart, GT World Challenge America Powered by AWS. Former Indianapolis 500 pole winner Ryan Briscoe is among the drivers in the Indianapolis 8 Hour event held Sunday, Oct. 4.

The event also will showcase drivers in SRO America’s Pirelli GT4 America, GT Sports Club America and the TC America series.

The full on-track schedule is available at IMS.com.