Palmer: the next Jenson Button?
You have to go back 14 years to find the last Brit to race for the F1 team based in Enstone – and that was when Renault took over Benetton. Jenson Button raced for them in 2001-02, but struggled due to the horsepower deficiencies of the wide-angle engine. In his second race, in Malaysia, he finished a distant 11th – two laps down. Button described that year as his “most difficult season in motor racing.”
Things barely improved for his second year. Jenson was all set for a podium at Sepang until suspension failure dropped him to fourth, and by Monaco he had been informed by team boss Flavio Briatore that his services would not be required for the following season.
Despite fallow years at Renault and Honda, Jenson’s resilience paid off when he became world champion with Brawn in 2009. There’s a message there for Jolyon Palmer, the next British racer heading for Enstone…