A fantastic year for Jenson Button could be rounded out with a win in the most prestigious sporting award the UK has to offer.
The short list for the 56th BBC Sports Personality of the Year award were announced last night and he is the odds on favourite to win. Looking at his competition, he should ease through to take the title.
It is based on a vote by the British public and F1 drivers have always been well supported because F1 fans are passionate and actively get out to vote. Nigel Mansell, Damon Hill and Sir Jackie Stewart have all won it. Lewis Hamilton missed out last year because the public felt that the Olympic champions had a better shout and cyclist Sir Chris Hoy won it.
It’s something people reading this from other countries around the world might not understand, but in Britain as soon as any sportsman or woman does well the first thing anyone says is, “They’ve got to be in with a chance of winning sports personality of the year.” It is part of our culture and it would be a real positive for the sport if Button were to win it.
Button heads a 10 strong list including the footballer Ryan Giggs, England cricket captain Andrew Strauss and tennis star Andy Murray.
His closest competitor appears to be world heptathlon champion Jessica Ennis, then heavyweight boxing champion David Haye.
The only downer is that the awards ceremony has been set for Sunday December 13th, from 7pm to 9pm on BBC TV, which means that it will clash with the live final of the X Factor, a phenomenon which has been pulling in audiences of 16 million recently.
So the whole country will not be watching if and when Button scoops the award and that will be a shame for him and for the prestige of the award.
* Congratulations to Felipe Massa and his wife Rafaella; their son Felipe was born yesterday evening in Sao Paulo, Brazil.