LONDON, October 21 – Jenson Button believes his attempt to become the first British driver to retain the Formula One drivers' world title will be one of the most difficult in the history of the sport.Button, 29, won his first title after finishing fifth in Sunday’s Brazilian Grand Prix to succeed 2008 world champion and compatriot Lewis Hamilton.
However, Button has not won a race since June. His Brawn GP team only came into existence at the start of the season, rising from the ashes of Japanese manufacturer Honda’s withdrawal from the sport.
But Brawn’s success in winning the constructors’ world title and that of Red Bull, another fledgling team, indicate the battle for top honours is spreading beyond the likes of established set-ups such as Ferrari and McLaren.
"It’s getting more and more difficult," Button told reporters here on Tuesday. "It’s a very competitive sport.
"I’m sure it was in the 70s and 80s but now, for me, every single driver on the grid deserves to be there. They are very talented, they’re not paying their way into the sport.
"So to have the competitiveness between the drivers, but also the teams – it’s amazing how close it’s been this season.
"One second has covered the front to the back of the grid, whereas 10, 15 years ago that was first to third on the grid.
"It’s a lot closer and it’s made it a lot more difficult for everyone, as most sports have become a lot closer and a lot more competitive in recent years," the Englishman added.
"It’s going to be difficult but that’s every driver’s aim and that will be my aim next season."
Although Button has yet to sign a new contract with Brawn, he insisted he would not race for another team just because they offered him more money.
"For me the most important thing in my career has always been to be in a great car and this year is the first year I’ve really been in that position," Button said.
"I want to continue achieving in the sport.
"I’m not one of these drivers who’s going to be looking for a new team who can pay me a big amount of money; that’s not what I’m about.
"I want to go and win races again.
"I want to be with Brawn, we just haven’t discussed it during the season, which is the right thing to do so we could just concentrate on getting the titles, the constructors’ and the drivers’, but now we can sit down and discuss it a bit more."
Button is the tenth Briton to be crowned world champion.
None of his predecessors won back-to-back titles, although Jim Clark came close by triumphing in 1963 and 1965 with fellow Briton John Surtees, the only man to win world titles on both two wheels and four wheels, winning in 1964.
Jackie Stewart, like Clark a Scot, remains Britain’s most successful Formula One driver in terms of world titles, with his three table-topping performances coming in 1969, 1971 and 1973.