The prestigious Autosport Awards are held annually in December at the Grosvenor House Hotel in London. Autosport readers vote for the winners, and the gala event is attended by prominent celebrities in the auto racing world. The 2011 event took place on Sunday 4 December, with Sebastian Vettel being awarded the title of International Racing Driver of the year for the second time in a row, making history for setting a new record of fifteen pole-positions during the season, as well as for being the youngest double Formula 1 champion.
At 24-years of age, Sebastian Vettel has shown remarkable talent and endurance on the racetrack. He flew in from Germany for the Autosport Awards, expressing his appreciation for the acknowledgement of his achievements. Following his 2010 victory, Vettel began the 2011 season as a favorite to win. After winning the opening Australian Grand Prix from pole position, fans were assured of an exciting season ahead – and were not disappointed, as Vettel finished the season with 392 points, being a full 122 points ahead of second-place winner, Jenson Button. Other award winners of the season included Alex Lynn as British Club Driver of the Year; Matt Neal as National Driver of the Year; Paul di Resta as Rookie of the Year; Sebastien Loeb as Rally Driver of the Year; and Jenson Button as British Competition Driver of the Year.
Because they are in the public eye, auto racing drivers garner plenty of attention, but there is a whole lot going on behind the scenes, and the Autosport Awards gives due recognition to these vital elements of the sport. Founder of Dallara Automobili, engineer Gian Paolo Dallara, was chosen to receive the John Bolster Award in recognition of his achievements in the sport. Dallara has a long history in the auto racing industry, having been a designer at Ferrari, Maserati and Lamborghini before founding his own design company and becoming one of the top designers in this field.
The Autosport Pioneering and Innovation Award was presented to Asif Kapadia and James Gay-Weeks for their movie tribute to Brazilian driver, Ayrton Senna. Entitled Senna the film has received critical acclaim as having revealed the human element behind the sport through the life story of the three-time F1 Champion who was killed at the San Marino Grand Prix in 1994.
As the 2011 racing season has drawn to a close, plans for 2012 are already underway, with the strong possibility of many changes in Formula 1 racing venues and the assurance of plenty of action in the New Year.
The 2011 Formula One Season started off on a high note for the Red Bull team, with Sebastian Vettel winning five of the first six events of the season. However, it seems that their luck is turning, as other teams begin to gain momentum and more races are eluding Vettel. The Hungarian Grand Prix took place on a wet track, but it did not interfere with Jenson Button’s winning his 200th grand prix start.
It was not a very good day for Lewis Hamilton, who not only got a drive through penalty but also spun out, giving Paul di Resta and Jenson Button the opportunity to pass him on the forty-seventh lap. Jenson Button had to fight for his position, as everyone was putting in their best performances, but Sebastian Vettel had to settle for watching Jenson Button cross the finish line in front of him. Vettel’s second place finish was followed by Fernando Alsono in third, Lewis Hamilton in fourth position, Mark Webber in fifth, Felipe Massa in sixth and Paul di Resta in seventh place.
The championship point standings still sees Vettel leading by eighty-five points, as he has now accumulated 234 points, followed by Mark Webber (Red Bull) with 149, Lewis Hamilton (McLaren) with 146, Fernando Alonso (Ferrari) with 145 and Jenson Button (McLaren) on 134 points. Speaking to press after the race, Vettel commented that he always focuses on securing a victory for his team, and after gaining pole position for the Hungarian Grand Prix they did have the opportunity to win, but it unfortunately did not pay off. He said that even though other drivers did increase their Championship Points, he did not feel too threatened as there are still eight races left for the season and he is hungry for another victory.
The next event will take place in Belgium on 28 August, followed by 11 September in Italy, 25 September in Singapore, 9 October in Japan, 16 October in Korea, 30 October in India, 13 November in Abu Dhabi and on 27 November in Brazil.
The weather conditions for the Canadian Grand Prix were anything less than ideal for the race, which took place on Sunday, 12 June 2011. The rain and eventual downpour led to the race being suspended for two hours, as well as a few nerve wrecking collisions, slides and loss of control for a number of drivers. And even though Vettel took pole position at the Canadian Grand Prix and led all the way, it was the last lap of the race that took an unexpected turn, as Jenson Button pulled of a dramatic pass and won the event, with Vettel taking second position.
This is Jenson Button’s first victory this season, and brings his career victories to ten. Vettel has now lost two of the seven events for the Grand Prix season, and Button is now positioned second in the champions’ log. Mark Webber, Vettel’s teammate, was able to secure third position, with Michael Schumacher in fourth, followed by Vitaly Petrov, Felippe Massa and Kamui Koyayashi. Fernando Alsonso’s race was cut short through a tussle with Button which left him on the curb. Lewis Hamilton again provided spectators with heart stopping moments as he first had a minor collision with Mark Webber, which was followed by a near miss with Schumacher, but unfortunately led to teammate Jenson Button not seeing Hamilton in his mirrors, and the two collided, sending Hamilton into the pit wall and leaving him with extensive damage to his rear wheel, ending his race. The race was also filled with numerous pit stops and after Koboayashi was run into by Heidfeld, the safety car once again made its appearance. But once the race was on again, Button began chasing down Vettel, and in a memorable moment was able to pass Vettel, holding on to first position to win the 2011 Canadian Grand Prix.
Vettel commented that he did go wide, giving Button the space he needed to pass, and admitted that he had lost the race due to a mistake that he made, and that he was not completely happy with his own performance. Button on the other hand is extremely proud of his victory, and commented that he had enjoyed every part of the race. The chase, and working through the field was challenging, but he enjoyed every minute, and winning the Canadian Grand Prix was the crowning moment for the 2009 champion.
Jenson Alexander Lyons Button is a British Formula One driver born in Frome on 19 January 1980. He hit the track at a young age, beginning with karting at eight years. In 1989, at 9 years of age, Jenson Button took first competed in the British Super Prix. He achieved many successes as a kart driver, including becoming the youngest driver to win the European Super A championship in 1997.
In 1998 Jenson Button began competing in the British Formula Ford championship, where you came in first with nine race wins. That same year he placed second in the European Formula Ford championship. At the end of the year he was awarded the McLaren Autosport BRDC Young Driver Award. 1999 was another successful year for Jenson Button as he entered the world of Formula Three racing. Coming in third overall, he ended the season as the top rookie driver.
Jenson Button entered the Formula One scene in 2000, racing for the Williams team. He ended his debut season with 12 points and came in eighth in the Drivers’ Championship. During the 2001 F1 season, Button drove for Benetton. It was a trying season, and Button only managed to rack up 2 points and came in 17th in the Drivers’ Championship. 2002 was a much better season for the talented driver. Benetton was now named Renault F1 and Jenson Button was racing alongside teammate Jarno Trulli. He certainly improved his standings, taking seventh place at the end of the season.
In 2003, Jenson Button moved to the BAR team, to race beside Jacques Villeneuve. It was a great season for Button, despite a bad crash at Monaco, and he took ninth in the standings with 17 points. Button met with great success in the 2004 F1 season, gaining 10 podium placings and finishing third overall with 85 points. The 2005 season started off dismally, but Button fought back in the second half of the season to come in ninth in the Drivers’ Championship, scoring 36 of 37 points for his team. He continued racing for BAR in 2006, which was now known as Honda Racing F1 Team. A great season, he outperformed his teammate Rubens Barrichello, gaining his first win at the Hungary Grand Prix and finishing sixth overall. Button described his 2007 F1 season as “a total disaster”, though he did manage to show off his talents in China, placing fifth in mixed conditions. The uncompetitive Honda RA 108, meant Button had another unsuccessful season in 2008.
Honda was bought out by Ross Brawn in 2009 and team renamed Brawn GP. Jenson Button and Rubens Barrichello were to continue racing together. 2009 was Jenson Button’s year. He hit the ground running, winning six of his first seven races. Scoring throughout the season, Button took home the championship title.
In November 2009, Jenson Button announced that he would be moving to the McLaren team for the 2010 season, after signing a three-year contract with them. He stated that he was looking forward to competing head-to-head with teammate Lewis Hamilton.
Sunday, 29 March 2009, was a very important day for the Brawn GP racing team, as it was to be their debut as a Formula One racing team, and the stakes were high. After Honda decided that they no longer wanted to be a part of F1, Ross Brawn, the team principle took the chance to take over the team and see how far they could go. It is obvious that the change is exactly what the team needed, as they exploded on the Melbourne track for the Australian Grand Prix.
In 1950, the Alfa Romeo F1 team won their debut race, followed by the Mercedes team in 1954, who managed to pull of the same feat. And on Sunday, the Brawn GP team became the first team since 1977, to win their debut
It seems that the other teams were constantly running into trouble, with Felipe Massa (Ferarri) losing his steering and an unfortunate Kimi Raikkonen spinning out on the 48th lap. Two crashes also sent drivers out of contention, with Robert Kubica (BMW) and Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull) crashing into each other a mere four laps before the end of the race and the collision between Nick Heidfeld (BMW) and Heikki Kovalainen (McLaren) also effecting Adrian Sutil (Force India) and Mark Webber (Red Bull). Lewis Hamilton (McLaren) finished in fourth position, followed by Timo Glock (Toyota), Fernando Alonso (Renault), Nico Rosberg (Williams) and Sebastien Buemi (Red Bull).
But the day undoubtedly belonged to Brawn GP, with Button commenting after the race: “This is where we deserve to be, after the difficult times we have had. Roll on the season, I am so excited about this year.” When asked about the finish, Jenson Button had this to say, “This is a fairytale ending for the first race. Some people may say it’s a pity the race finished under the safety car but I don’t care, I won the race and that’s all I care about.”