Button and Brawn take Laureus Awards
Jenson Button won the prestigious Laureus Breakthrough of the Year Award on Wednesday in recognition of his title victory last season.
He was honoured alongside 2009 constructors' champions Brawn, which won the Laureus World Team of the Year Award. The Brackley-based outfit rose from the ashes of Honda's withdrawal to help Button win the title and the Briton, now at McLaren, was keen to thank his old employers.
"Wow, I think somebody forgot to tell Laureus I'm 30-years-old," he joked, "Breakthrough Sportsman! In fact, 2009 was a very special year of my life. When I started the season I didn't think I'd actually be racing in Formula One. So to clinch the title with Brawn GP in our first year was a very emotional experience for me, and the team deserve some of the credit for this trophy. I would also like to thank the Laureus Academy for putting me forward for this award."
Nick Fry took the award on behalf of Brawn.
"A year ago we had a team owner that needed to get out of Formula One," he said. "We had no sponsors and things looked fairly grim. Our 719 employees decided to build the car regardless, even though they may not have had jobs and the car may not have got on the grid. The two drivers also continued training, despite the fact that they might have had to watch the races on television. We all decided to fight. We had no engine, but Mercedes-Benz came to our rescue and provided us with the best engine in Formula One. Sponsors then came on board - people showed faith in us. We ended up winning six of the first seven races and winning the Constructors' and Drivers' Championships."