Flavio Briatore has denied likening Jenson Button last year to a concrete bollard, but admits he does not highly rate F1’s reigning champion and current championship leader.
When a younger and less focused Button struggled at Briatore-led Benetton in 2001, the Italian said his British driver was so slow at Monaco it seemed he was scouting for a new place to moor his yacht.
And in 2009, when Button was driving a Brawn and running away with the title amid the double-diffuser controversy, Briatore said the 30-year-old was a “paracarro” — an Italian word for a concrete roadside post.
But one year later, Button is not only the reigning world champion, he has also impressed the F1 world by showing well alongside the highly rated Lewis Hamilton and winning two of his first four races at the wheel of a McLaren.
Briatore is quoted as saying in Italian reports: “I never said he (Button) was not good, but for me he is not among the five fastest drivers in the world.”