Should I stay or should I go? New world champion Jenson Button has hinted that he will remain with Brawn GP next season Photo: PA
IF the plan is to leave the audience wanting more, then at least new world champion Jenson Button did that by providing two laps of entertainment here.
The problem for the best drivers in the world was whether they could outshine the most spectacular F1 venue on the planet.
The £800 million venue won the contest as Red Bull took the one-two with Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber, as Button finished third in the Brawn.
That was apt, as those two teams have battled at the front from day one in Australia. Yet it was all a bit of an anti-climax – and not just because Button and Brawn had won the titles two weeks earlier in Brazil.
Surely it is possible in days of computerised planning and fluid dynamics, particularly when money is no object in this desert kingdom, for designer Hermann Tilke to scientifically create a circuit with half-a-dozen real overtaking areas.
Button had been concerned about overtaking from his first drive round and said turn 11 was about it before the race.
He was right. In the magnificent setting of the Yas Island, the cars were strung out like necklace beads.
It is a pity, because it is an interesting 3.4-mile track – thanks to the marina, the traditional feel of the sand-coloured circuit buildings and the centrepiece – in layout and adverse camber corners which move the cars around the spectacular Yas Hotel, draped in a lighting curtain which flashed the biggest-ever chequered flag at the end.
But, in truth, little happened in 55 laps.
There was a comedy moment from Jaime Alguersuari, whose car had a gearbox problem. He missed the Toro Rosso pitbox, stopped at Red Bull and was briskly told to drive on as one of their cars was just behind.
The world champion, who finished third in the inaugural Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, said it was inevitable that the two powerhouses of Formula One would be back after slow starts killed their respective seasons this year.
McLaren prised third in the constructors’ championship from Ferrari by a single point, despite Lewis Hamilton’s early retirement and have looked very strong in the latter part of the season.
“They have the resources, they have the experience and they have competitive drivers,” said Button, whose future at Brawn remains uncertain pending Mercedes’ anticipated takeover.
Button’s camp are demanding a huge rise in their man’s wages after he took a voluntary cut this year to stay on at the team in the wake of Honda’s departure.
The world champion has been linked with a move to McLaren, whose sponsors have already made it clear they would be delighted with his acquisition.
However, former driver-turned pundit Martin Brundle said on Sunday he thought Button would prefer to stay at the Brackley-based team.
And Button repeated his assertion that Brawn will be competitive next year, despite the uncertainty surrounding the team’s finances and Mercedes’ involvement.