There were growing fears in F1 this week that Jenson Button is turning into a hot air balloon. Sources close to the probably-still-good-if-only-he-wasn’t-in-a-turd-of-a-car driver say they are becoming increasingly concerned that the young racer’s head now appears to be made almost entirely of brightly coloured canvas.
‘We really are a bit worried about Jenson’s balloonishness,’ said one Honda Racing insider. ‘Only the other day I was talking to him in the motorhome and I noticed that his entire head appeared to be deflating. Next thing I knew, he gave a little tug on a bit of his beard under his chin, there was a sort of roaring sound and suddenly his head was back to normal, except that it was bright yellow and all bulbous at the top like a cartoon exclamation mark’.
Many members of the Honda team are also concerned that the driver British people liked before Hamilton came along may find his performance is affected by the extraordinary characteristics of his newly inflatable head. ‘I was walking through the paddock with Jenson the other day,’ admitted one senior engineer. ‘Suddenly there was a strong gust of wind and he started drifting off in completely the wrong direction. I dread to think what would have happened if there had been some power lines in the way. Now we’re seriously considering some sort of ballast system to avoid a situation where, just before an important race, Jenson is blown out to sea’.
However, some of those close to the West Country driver are trying to put a more positive slant on the fact that his head has basically turned into a hot air balloon for no readily apparent reason. ‘I think there is great opportunity here,’ said one anonymous team spokerman. ‘For example, Jenson’s new balloon head could be sold as extra advertising space. Plus, if anyone says that despite being way off the pace he still seems quite big headed he can literally confound that criticism by simply letting a bit of the air out of it’.
Seasoned F1 journalist Maurice Ital of Every Other Sunday magazine was also quick to point out that this isn’t the first strange and balloonish incident in Formula 1. ‘People should remember that, just like Button’s head, a few years ago Juan Pablo Montoya’s entire body appeared to have become insanely inflated,’ he notes. ‘Although that later turned out to be because he’d scoffed a massive amount of pies’.