Button: World Champ?

How soon could Jenson Button win the World Drivers’ Championship this year? It could be in as little as five races time…

Everyone’s asking the question today – it’s the talk of our office – so I contracted my brother in to do some maths (he’s much better with numbers), and this is what we came up with…

You’ll need to sit down though, ‘cos this gets a bit complicated.

It’s obviously hard to calculate as there are many variables involved with who might finish where, so let’s talk through a few likely scenarios.

First, we’ll discount Jenson’s teammate Rubens Barrichello. Not because he doesn’t have a chance, but because Ross Brawn surely won’t let him challenge Jenson now.

So you have to look at Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel to be the main title rival.

If Jenson won every race from here on in, and Vettel came second, then the former would have the Championship wrapped up after winning the 13th race of the year, the Italian Grand Prix. He’d be 44 points clear of Vettel with four races to go.

If Vettel won every race and Jenson came in second at all of them, then the title wouldn’t be Jenson’s until after Brazil, with only the new Abu Dhabi GP left.

Although saying that, if Vettel won every remaining race then Button needs only five 3rds, and seven 2nds to take the title.

That in itself must be pretty comforting to the Brit, if he’s even thinking about the title yet.

But probably the best thing to do at this stage is to look at average points hauls from the year so far.

If you normalise Malaysia – discounting that it was shortened and look at it being worth full points – then Button has taken 9.43 points per race, whereas Sebastian has only taken 4.14.

If they continue at that rate for the next five races, then the title is Jenson’s after the Belgian GP, 12 races into the season.

Even if you discount Vettel’s first two races of the year – where he finished out of the points in 13th and 15th places – and if you knock out his DNF at Monaco, assuming he’ll find consistency and continue on his average points scoring for the rest of the year, then Button will take the title after the Italian GP.

Exactly the same as if he wins everything and Vettel comes second.

And if you include Barrichello in the averages – averaging five points a race – then Button still wins the WDC after Belgium.

Yet if Button keeps winning and no single, consistent challenger steps up, then he’ll have it even sooner than that.

At this stage of the game, you’d be somewhat foolish to bet against Button being World Drivers’ Champion in 2009.

Amusingly, if Bernie Ecclestone had gotten his way and the gold medal system had replaced the normal points scoring, then Jenson would be World Champ in three more wins’ time.

Which could’ve meant the season would have been over before August!

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