Button the F1 survivor

PARIS - Jenson Button, who began 2009 in danger of becoming a dole-queue millionaire, ended it as world champion after a year in which F1 lurched from one drama to another.

PARIS - Jenson Button, who began 2009 in danger of becoming a dole-queue millionaire, ended it as world champion after a year in which F1 lurched from one drama to another.

R enault chief Flavio Briatore was banned for life for his role in the infamous "Crashgate" affair while Toyota and BMW called it quits as the global financial crisis continued to bite.

The year closed with one last twist as seven-time world champion Michael Schumacher, 41, was poised to sign to drive for Mercedes in 2010, the manufacurer that had bought Brawn GP, which took Button to his historic title.

Button won six of the season's opening seven races to lay the foundation for triumph after former principal Ross Brawn intervened to save the ailing team in March when owners Honda quit F1. He secured the championship with a fourth-place finish in Brazil and ended the 17-race series in Abu Dhabi in November with 95 points . - AFP

X