Briatore: Button has been lucky

Flavio Briatore has fired a broadside at his former employee and current F1 2010 World Championship leader Jenson Button, claiming the driver’s successes this season have been achieved through ‘luck’ and contending that the defending world champion is ‘not among the five quickest drivers’ in the top flight.

Briatore was Button’s boss at Benetton/Renault in 2001 and 2002, campaigns during which the Briton struggled with generally uncompetitive machinery and was more often than not outperformed by more experienced team-mates Giancarlo Fisichella and Jarno Trulli – and during which the Enstone-based outfit’s now disgraced ex-managing director was rarely slow to criticise his young charge.

The pair split on acrimonious terms, and prior to the Frome-born ace’s title run last year, Briatore uncharitably likened him to a paracarro – a concrete bollard. Despite Button having defied the cynics by showing the way to highly-rated team-mate and compatriot Lewis Hamilton this year and triumphing in two of the opening four grands prix – demonstrating speed, tactical guile and excellent judgement to take the chequered flag first in both Melbourne and Sepang – it seems the Italian is still far from convinced he is the real deal.

“We’ll see how it ends up between Button and Hamilton at the end of the season,” he is quoted in the Daily Mail. “Jenson has done well – he’s won two races and we know why. He was able to manage things and had luck on his side. I don’t speak badly of him; I just say he is not among the five quickest drivers in F1.”

The famously outspoken and acerbic Briatore similarly had something to say on the subject of F1 returnee Michael Schumacher, who has to-date found it difficult to re-adapt and has been roundly outshone by his young team-mate Nico Rosberg at Mercedes Grand Prix, notching up just ten points so far to his countryman’s excellent tally of 50.

The recently-turned 60-year-old was in charge as Schumi sped to the first two of his record-breaking seven world championship crowns at the highest level with Benetton in 1994 and 1995, but he now agrees with those who suggest it was a mistake for the most successful driver in the sport’s long history to come back and try to rule the world for a second time.

“I think it will be harder and harder for him,” he told Italian magazine Autosprint, when asked if things might get easier for the 41-year-old now the F1 circus is back on European soil. “I don’t know how he can recover. The competition is fierce. He made the decision to return without thinking that, in four years, the cars and the tyres have changed massively.

“I’ve always said it would be difficult for him to stay ahead of Rosberg. You can’t come back in such a competitive sport after four or five years. [Alain] Prost did, but only one season had gone by. Instead, he’s found some tough customers because in F1 there have never been drivers as good as this year – Hamilton, Fernando [Alonso], [Sebastian] Vettel, Rosberg…”

As to the likelihood of a comeback of his own, Briatore re-iterated his assertion that he will never again manage an F1 team even once the ‘Singapore-gate’ ban imposed upon him by governing body the FIA – for having presided over one of the most explosive scandals in recent sporting memory – expires at the end of 2012.

“After winning seven titles with two different teams, to add an eighth wouldn’t change anything,” he explained. “Winning with Renault in 2005/06 was a miracle, and you can’t do miracles all the time. Seeing the way it is now, I don’t enjoy it and the adrenaline to do it is not there anymore. This is something I don’t miss at all.”

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To be fair to Briatore, he didn’t ACTUALLY say Button’s wins were solely down to luck, as suggested here (“claiming the driver’s successes this season have been achieved through ‘luck’” ). He said, as quoted in the article, ‘He was able to manage things and had luck on his side’. If anything that’s a compliment, and who doesn’t win a GP without luck on their side?

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It anyone is lucky it’s Briatore’s previous drivers who havn’t been told to crash.

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Hmm it seems the writer of the article walked into the story with his/her mind already made up to back Jensen and go hard against Briatore.

I agree with the writer (and Briatore as Podge 90 pointed out) that Jensen’s wins haven’t been down solely to luck but some sort of fairness would be great!

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either way, luck is always a part of racing isn’t it?

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I remember an Irish F1 commentator years ago saying if as an F1 driver you could choose to be born fast or born lucky you would pick born lucky. If you have the talent to get you to formula one then the car, tyre management, weather can all help but you do need luck too.

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Jenson’s championship in 2009 was not mentioned. By the power of deduction, he did not win that one by luck. Thus, JB is a good enough driver to win the F1 again.

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It sounds like Briatore misses the sport quite a bit, especiallt yo be talking about it so much.

Most of his comments sound like sour grapes that he can’t be involved in something he likes due to his own cheating ways. Hope he learns his lesson and moves on.

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F*** off, Briatore. I don’t care what you bloody well think, keep your stupid opinions to yourself. GRRR

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he couldnt even play by the rules and got the sack.
he’s just jealous that button wasnt winning races when he was at renault
and i agree he should F**k off

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To be fair i reckon vettel, webber, lewis, massa and alonso all have more outright speed than jenson. He’s only won this year from good calls to do with the weather, not that this is a bad thing it shows he is more complete as a driver. But briatore is right he isn’t, never has been and never will be the fastest driver in f1.

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