F1 / Reaction / Will Button Continue To Dominate

Will Button continue to dominate?

Jenson Button joins Michael Schumacher as the only driver in the past 20 years to win six of the first seven races, but will his win ratio drop just as Schumacher's did in 1994 and 2004?

Jenson Button Celebrates Victory in Turkey GP 2009


As Bernie Ecclestone fears the season is becoming boring as Jenson Button made it six wins in seven with a facile success in Turkey. Bookmakers are squealing because punters are moping up on Button but will his dominance continue and, if not, how many others will take the chequered flag?

We’ve looked at how other drivers have performed from race eight onwards having dominated the previous seven. Only two others in the past 20 years have won six of the first seven races as Button has; a further two have won 5/7 and eight have won 4/7.

So far Button’s season most closely matches that of Michael Schumacher in 2004 when he and Ferrari won 15 of the 18 races. Like Schumacher, Button has had a 100% win record from the front row and the only difference between the two is that Button so far has finished every race. Although Schumacher completed the remaining 11 grand prix of that season, his win percentage dropped by 22% (7/11) and that was because he slipped down the grid with front row starts in only six of the eleven remaining races (5 wins).

The good news for Button’s rivals is that all 12 drivers suffered a drop in win percentage from race eight onwards which for those drivers who had won five or six of the first seven races that ranged from 11% to 57%, and for those who had won four of the first seven races, an average decline of 16%. Only Schumacher in 2004 (64%) and in 2002 (60%) won more than half of the remaining races but those were two of the four dominant years and in another,1994, Schumacher was disqualified after winning at Spa and suspended for the next two races. The drop off in wins for Schumacher and the others came not so much from a significant reduction in their front row starts but how many races they completed. Only Schumacher in 2002 finished every race and six of the other 11 had a higher retirement rate after race seven than previously. Their performance when finishing also reflects a reduced win rate as 10/12 won at least 10% fewer races when finishing and 7/12 had a 20% decline.

So if Button wins fewer races, how many others are likely to join Sebastian Vettel as a winner this season? In our 12 seasons, only in 1994 did less than four drivers win and in seven of the other 11, two new drivers won at least one of the remaining races. In seven of the years, the last four races were won by three different drivers and in five it was a different winner in all three final races.

We expect Button’s win ratio to drop, most likely by about 20-30%, but that would still give him enough wins to make a profit even if he were to start as short as 1.5 which he may well do if starting from pole at Silverstone. Additional winners are likely to come towards the end of the season by which time Button’s likely to have the title wrapped up.

© Copyright 2019 Bettorlogic