Brawn: I too doubted Button talent

JENSON BUTTON finally silenced his doubters by clinching a maiden world championship on Sunday, but his boss Ross Brawn has admitted that he too needed to be convinced of the Englishman&rsquo;s ability.<br /><br />Button failed to realise youthful promise during his first nine years in F1, winning just a single grand prix from 155 attempts and being written off as a perennial also-ran. <br /><br />But this year the Somerset racer has been a revelation, claiming six of the first seven races as debutant team Brawn GP left their more established rivals trailing.<br /><br />Button&rsquo;s blistering start to the year laid the foundations for his title triumph, as well as Brawn GP&rsquo;s success in the constructors&rsquo; championship. <br /><br />Their achievement is the culmination of two years&rsquo; work together, as both were at Honda before the manufacturers withdrew their financial backing at the end of last season. <br /><br />But Brawn has confessed he did not know whether Button would be able to reach the very top when they first joined forces in 2008.<br /><br />&ldquo;You don&rsquo;t until you work with somebody,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;You have a superficial opinion of them and in 2004 he was giving us a hard time at Ferrari. We had a sensational season but he was always there nipping at our ankles. He impressed us then. But until you work with people it is difficult.&rdquo;<br /><br />Doubts remained even once the pair started collaborating at Honda, where Button finished a career-low 18th in the championship last year. <br /><br />The Japanese car giant&rsquo;s withdrawal proved a catalyst, however, with Brawn salvaging the core of the outfit, redesigning the car on a much lower budget, and rebranding the team &ndash; all with staggering results.<br /><br />&ldquo;Last year was very difficult for me to work with Jenson because of the poor equipment we had,&rdquo; he added. &ldquo;Lots of guys in the team who I respect said: &lsquo;Stick with it because he is exceptional&rsquo;. And I think going through this experience of the terrific first half and the very tough second half of the season is going to be quite a development in Jenson&rsquo;s character.&rdquo;<br /><br />Brawn was forced to slash Honda&rsquo;s workforce to keep the team going, and admits they face a struggle to defend their title against their more established, richer rivals. However the raft of cost cutting measures set to take effect in F1 provide hope.<br /><br />&ldquo;It is tough. Undoubtedly, this car was born with a greater resource than we have now,&rdquo; Brawn said. <br /><br />&ldquo;I cannot deny there might be a hiccup in that process when the other teams have more resource than we do for a while, but everyone is coming down to our size. So within a year or two, the size of Brawn GP will be the size of F1 teams.&rdquo;<br /><br /><strong>WHAT THEY SAID:<br /><br />JACKIE STEWART<br /></strong>&ldquo;Brawn have done an amazing job and Ross is a master. But it takes a driver to get the job done at the end of the day, and Jenson did it. Well done to him.&rdquo;<br /><br /><strong>DAMON HILL</strong><br />&ldquo;Jenson&rsquo;s the playboy champion with the winning smile. He got accused of not taking it seriously but I think he showed everyone how serious he is inside.&rdquo;<br /><br /><strong>LEWIS HAMILTON</strong><br />&ldquo;He did an incredible job this year. I&rsquo;m not going to take anything away from his championship but I definitely plan on taking it back from him at some stage.&rdquo;