How the titles can be won in Brazil

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Third place will make Jenson Button champion this weekend

For the second year the Interlagos crowd will watch a home driver try to stop a British rival from winning the championship.

Last year it was Felipe Massa and Lewis Hamilton – this time it’s between Rubens Barrichello and Jenson Button.

Sebastian Vettel could also have a say, but his chances of stopping Button are even slimmer than Barrichello’s. Here’s how the drivers’ and constructors’ championships could be decided on Sunday.

Drivers’ championship

However well Barrichello and Vettel do this weekend, they need Button to have a bad race if they’re going to keep the championship alive until the last round.

Here’s the drivers’ championship situation ahead of the Brazilian Grand Prix:

Jenson Button 85
Rubens Barrichello 71
Sebastian Vettel 69

Points remaining: 20
In the event of a tie, Jenson Button is the champion
Full championship points before Brazil

Whatever happens, Button will end the season with more race wins than anyone else – so he is guaranteed the title if he is tied for the championship lead with one of his rivals at the end of the year (which has never happened before).

Here’s how the championship can be decided this weekend at Interlagos:

  • Button is champion if he finishes third or higher, regardless of where his rivals finish
  • Button is champion if he finishes fourth or fifth and Barrichello doesn’t win
  • Button is champion if he finishes sixth or seventh and Barrichello finishes third or lower and Vettel doesn’t win
  • Button is champion if he finishes eighth and Barrichello finishes fourth or lower and Vettel finishes third or lower
  • Button is champion if he doesn’t score and Barrichello finishes fifth or lower and Vettel finishes third or lower

It’s worth remembering that Button is automatically champion if both his title rivals retire.

Constructors’ championship

Brawn 156
Red Bull 120.5

Points remaining: 36
This championship cannot end in a tie
Full championship points before Brazil

Brawn are going to have to work very hard to lose this one.

The only way Red Bull can stay in the championship at Abu Dhabi is if they finish one-two at Interlagos, with neither Brawn finishing.

Red Bull have had one-twos this year, but Brawn’s reliability has been second to none.

That said, reliability streaks have an irritating habit of ending when it’s most inconvenient – which is what Red Bull will be hoping happens to their rivals in Brazil.

Read more: Barrichello needs a big result on home ground (Brazilian Grand Prix preview)

Author information

Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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55 comments on “How the titles can be won in Brazil”

  1. Vettel’s chances of winning the championshp are much better than Barrichelo’s. Barrichelo depends totally on Button having problems. For Vettel there is a possibility if the Brawn are simply two slow in the last two races.

    1. Agreed. I was going to point that out. It looks slimmer on points alone, but I think Vettel is more likely that Barichello to take the title (although I WANT Rubens to win it).

      1. But isn’t Vettel running on used engines now? If one of them blows up then he’ll get a grid penalty (correct me if i’m wrong) and his title challenge will likely be over.

        Personally I’d like to see Rubens win the title but I think Button will seal it.

        1. I think your analysis is correct. I would love for vettel and button to take each other out and Barrichello walk away with the race. Then it would be a great fight in a land where we shouldnt be racing for the wdc. Maybe Reubens can pull it would be epic.

          1. I want Fisi to take out Kovi & Kimi to take out Hammi. Webbo should bump of button. Rubens wins, with vettel second :)

  2. I want Vettel to win the championship, but that requires him to essentially win both at Brazil and Abu Dahabi. I think he can do it, but I’m wondering if his engines can last for to more races.

    1. Even if Vettel does win the next two races he needs Button to not score at both to take the championship.

    2. Paige Michael-Shetley
      14th October 2009, 8:26

      The problem for Vettel will be winning Abu Dhabi. It doesn’t play to the RB5’s strengths. It’s going to be very hot, which will bring the RB5’s tendency to overheat the tires into play. It’s also a point-and-squirt circuit, which isn’t the car’s forte.

      If Button finishes 5th or better this weekend, it’s over. Personally, I see him doing at least that.

  3. I find it absolutely astonishing that Button has let things go down to the wire! I would have never believed anyone if they told me after turkey that the WDC will be decided in either Interlagos or Abu Dubai. Real tribute to Button’s clumsiness.

    Button is totally opposite to Our Nige.

    1. Obviously, there’s nothing at all in common between winning six of the first seven races before fading as other teams catch up to your dominant car and winning eight of the first ten races before fading as other teams catch up to your dominant car.

      Well, except that the Williams FW14B was still the fastest car all 1992, unlike the BGP001 this year.

      1. It’s not Button who has been poor in the second half of the season, it’s the car. Why else would Barrichello and Button finish right next to eachother in Singapore and Japan? They’re fighting for the championship and pushing that car to it’s absolute limit but it’s still only good enough for 1, 2 or 3 points.

        1. Rubens was 3rd at Silverstone and Jenson…

          Rubens was 1st at Valencia and Jenson…

  4. I’m presuming half points apply to the whole field.

    But if it only applied to those who have finished less than 75% of the race when a race is stopped then the constructors championship could be tied.

    If less than 8 cars finish I understand cars get points even if they haven’t finished – however if someone who did not finish 75% of the race finished in the top 8 – would they get half points??? Has this ever happened?

    I’m presuming the rule of 75% is based on the race leader, but the only rules I can find say “If less than 75% of the race has been completed” which is open to quite a bit of interpretation.

    1. If less than 8 cars finish, then a non finisher can only score by completing 90% race distance. If not, then no one gets the point.
      Half points can only be awarded if the race does not go to 75% race distance.
      Basically you can’t score if you don’t finish 90% of the race, unless the is abandoned before 75% race distance, therefore half points are awarded.

      1. If fewer than 8 cars finish, then a non finisher can only score by completing 90% race distance. If not, then no one gets the point.

        Correct – that’s why only six cars got points at Indianapolis in 2005. Before that I think the last comparable situation was at Imola in 198, when there were only five classified finishers following Manfred Winkelhock’s disqualification. Points went down to sixth in those days, but only the top five scored a that race.

    2. But if it only applied to those who have finished less than 75% of the race when a race is stopped then the constructors championship could be tied.

      Even if Red Bull and Brawn finish on equal points, surely Brawn have won way more races than any other team? I don’t call that a tie.

  5. what I miss about: “Points remaining: 38”?

  6. There are actually 36 points remaining boss in the constructors championship, meaning Brawn need only half a point to nail it ;)

    1. That’s right – have fixed it in the text. The points calculation was correct, however.

      You’re right in pointing out that Brawn only need half a point but because Red Bull need 18 from both races, but if we find ourselves in a half points situation Brawn are automatically champions anyway because Red Bull would only be able to score nine!

      1. So if Red Bull are to win the construtors, Vettel will be champion? asuming that if Webber is leading he will move over to give Vettel the lead.

        1. More or less. Vettel would need a win and a secound place to win the title.

          Fact of the matter is, reliability is on Brawn’s side and not particuarly on Red Bull’s. I’m sure Ross Brawn has already had a cheeky pint to celebrate winning the constructors! I know I would!

          1. i wonder what the odds for red bull winning the constructors are? expecially that there are more than 4 cars capable of winning,unlike in 2007 when it was only ferrari and mclaren really challenging for wins.

            dont expect any of the other teams to move aside and let brawn and red bull fight it out, they will be going for the win just as much as red bull and brawn.

          2. I dont think Brawn will ever celebrate until it is a done deal. Then watch out.

  7. A part of me wants it over this weekend, as the Abu Dhabi track doesn’t strike me as a track worthy of deciding championships.

    1. I wish they could end the season in Montreal. But the weather wouldn’t be all that great. Unless they could race between the snowflakes.
      Has there ever been an F1 race while it was snowing?

  8. I can see all 3 title rivals retiring this weekend. Part of me wanted it over a long time ago because it’s inevitable that Button will win it and the more it drags the more I hope Vettel can take the title more and mroe

    1. If all three retire then Button gets it. I would hate to see it won that way. Although Button could take vettel out this week and then take out Reubens next race and win it that way like in the days of senna and prost.

  9. Terry Fabulous
    13th October 2009, 21:24

    I predict that a Ferrari or McLaren will win, SebV will get on the podium, Jenson will score points in 6th or 7th and we will have a new champion.

    And I for one, could not be happier for him. This is not only richly deserved, but fitting for a driver who is such a fast and clever F1 driver.

    I may have to take a week off work to argue on this site with each and every person who thinks he is unworthy!

    1. I think Button is very worthy. I have no doubt that Vettel will win championships in the future. As for Barrichello, JYS told him not to go to Ferrari, where he had to play backup to Schumacher. Had he gone to McLaren or Renault instead he could have had a championship already.

  10. I predict that Brawn wins the constructors championship this weekend, but the drivers title is left undecided. However with Button having a VERY strong lead going into the final round (something like a 9 or 8 point lead).

  11. Im surprised there is talk of button not deserving the title yet lots of people wanting Vettel wanting to win it.

    For me he has not been all that impressive with a seriously impressive car. Im still waiting to see him make some important overtakes….actually any overtakes!! Button has made some early important impressive moves in my opinion, not to mention many more wins. Go Button! (mclaren lewis fan)

    1. I’m with Thestig on this. I’m getting pretty fed up with people saying Jenson doesn’t deserve the championship, when he’s clearly at the top and is going to be pretty hard to beat. Indeed, he has had some unflattering positions on the grid, but he’s pushed on with great drives, with impressive moves and has come out with steady points scoring results to back up his wins… and erm, 6 wins in the first 7 races… he’s up there with the greats isn’t he?…

      1. i agree with you jez and thestig, i agree with you completely, i dont think vettel will wins the championship i feel that he does not deserve it, he has been very average, despite the huge hype that surrounds him, he has not convinced me at all so far. he dominated China, Britian and Japan, but then again button dominated Australia, Malaysia, Bahrain, Spian, Monaco and Turkey.

        i do not think button is a champion, only a champion of Circumstance. he said he was happy with 8th at Japan, but in rossi’s last race he finished 4th and was absolutely gutted although he still led the MOTO Gp championship,

        Button lacks the passion.

        1. well man…. vettel won in MONZA in a TORO ROSSO against the ferraris and mclarens on form… if that didnt convince you then tell me what

          button won in australia, malaysia, bahrain, spain, monaco and turkey against barrichello.
          there was no other competition, and has not won since everybody else catch up to the brawns, and now even old barrichello is beating him!

          1. Button finished 3rd in the 2004 Championship before in a BAR Honda, sitting behind only the Ferraris of Schui and Barrichello – BAR Honda never won a race. That season without question he outperformed his car.

            Also Vettel may have won in Monza, but so did Barichello win, and Button come second this season at Monza – where both the Ferraris and McLaren were on form.

            If I remember correctly Heikki was the top qualifier one stopping (ahead of both the Brawns – and wasnt Heikki also heavier? showing the McLaren car was on pace?). And Raikkonen and Hamilton also qualified ahead of Button/Barrichello.

      2. I agree, if he wins it he deserves it. I would like Reubens to win it but I dont think it will be any less of a championship. He faught the good fight at the first of the season and ran up a great lead,(then everyone was licking his feet) and he has been able to cruise the second half of the season.

    2. To me, neither of the three really deserve it… Vettel because his lack of racecraft (overtaking), Button because when he’s put under pressure, he struggles, and Barrichello because he hasn’t always delivered when it counted. I still believe earlier on Brawn were favouring Button though…

      So I’m going with the people I like. Go Barrichello :D. If not, then Vettel :D.

      1. Button hasn’t struggled under the pressure – his consecutive wins disappeared as hes now driving a car that has performance similar to much of the field. I would actually say in many instances he’s coped okay pulling in a few points where he looked like he wouldn’t be getting any.

    3. I couldn’t agree more Thestig.

      I raised this point several times during the debate that followed Keith’s “Who do you want to be champion” poll.

      Jenson has won more races, scored more points and made more crucial overtakes during the course of the season.

      Despite the hype around Vettel I don’t think he is the real deal just yet. The RB5 has been sublime since Britain and it was, despite talks of the BGP001 being “dominant” over the first 7 races, pretty darn handy during the first 7 races too. Despite that, he hasn’t won as many races as Jenson, hasn’t scored as many points during the course of the season and hasn’t made as many overtaking moves. How can he possibly deserve it more than Jenson?

      I’ll say Vettel deserves the WDC when he learns to overtake.

  12. Imola in 198. You certainly know your history Keith. Winklehock must have been a young man then. Imola was a dust track and horsepower was measured in horses.

    1. Wasnt one of the competiors called Ben-Hur???

  13. I would like to see all three finish on the same points

  14. I wonder what will happen if Button and Vettel crash on each other! :P

  15. Button […] is guaranteed the title if he is tied for the championship lead with one of his rivals at the end of the year (which has never happened before).

    Which would be quite fitting, since 2007 gave us 3 competitors within 1 point from eachother in the WDC, while the 2008 title was decided in the last corner of the last lap op the last race, in the last 15 seconds of the season.

  16. Why, why, why, why, why is it that Button’s early wins when his car was dominant are put down as lucky and his form now that his car is not the fastest (or probably in the top 3 even) on the grid but he is still managing to bring it home in the points is written off as lucky?

    Was Michael Schumacher and unworthy champion in the years (plural!!) when his Ferrari was head and shoulders the best car on the grid? Was Alonso an unworthy champion in 2006 when he only won 1 race after the halfway mark in the season?

    Plenty of times in the past I’ve heard it said that the mark of a champion is someone who can still keep the points ticking over even when they don’t have a car capable of winning. Well that’s EXACTLY what Button has been doing…

    If you’re going to write Button (or anyone else) off for only being able to win when their car is fastest, then you’re going to have to conceed that MOST race winners and WDC’s were not deserving…

    Most points at the end of the season – that’ll make him worthy.
    Most wins (if you like Bernie’s stupid idea) – that’ll also make him worthy.
    Rivals failed to capitalise – ergo Button did capitalise.
    “Big names” not in the hunt – F1 is a team game, your team gets it right you’re a hero, your team gets it wrong sorry try again next time.

    1. Another post that is spot on!

  17. vettel would of won this year if it wasn’t for the double decker diffusers giving brawn a slight advantage. to me 3rd place is the real winner.

    1. It wasnt all about that if we’re honest though. Red Bull had it in Monaco and Turkey and they still werent exactly competitive. I know the version used in both instances wasnt the final product, but even so…

  18. schumi the greatest
    14th October 2009, 11:44

    i dont think you can ever say someone doesnt deserve the championship.

    Button has done enough to win it, thats why he’s top of the table. If the circumstances were different, say red bull were abit closer in the 1st 7 races i dont think he would have won the tittle or if he had hamilton or alonso as a teamamate. But hes done enoough to win the tittle and i expect he’ll wrap it up this weekend although i would like it to go down to the wire again!

  19. Button will not want to be close to Webber at any point in Brazil. Webber could easily be tasked with taking him out.

    But the likely scenario is that Hamilton will win and Button and Bari will finish somewhere in the top 6. No matter where Vettel finishes then, Button will be champion – and a worthy champ at that.

    Button certainly wont want to take it to the lottery of the final race.

    1. “Button will not want to be close to Webber at any point in Brazil. Webber could easily be tasked with taking him out.”

      Crashgate part 2?

      1. I think any instance of RedBull hitting button would look very suspicious – even if it were to happen on the first corner where chaos sometimes emerges.

  20. There is 1 spoilsport in all this. Lewis Hamilton. I can see him spoiling it for everyone and winning this one. Button is Champion and Bernie Mac is left kicking his heels. Can’t Hamilton be banned for the Brazilian or something? That way Vettel Wins and its “Abu Dhabi or Bust”

  21. I have a tenna on Barrichello winning the championship lol, unlickly but its £160 if he does do it :) he’s gunna go full out for the win in brazil don’t u think…then it’ll be down to abu dhabi…RUBENS STILL GOT A CHANCE PPL!

  22. Is gonna be a great race, cos Vettel and Barrichello will be going all-out, Ive got a feeling Hamilton will win, and Button will score enough points to take title.

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