Jenson Button followed in Lewis Hamilton's footsteps to win the Formula One world championship but will be hoping to avoid matching his fellow Briton's fate when it comes to the BBC's Sports Personality of the Year. Button is the overwhelming favourite among the shortlist of 10 announced last night – as was Hamilton a year ago, only for Sir Chris Hoy to spring one of the biggest surprises in the event's 55-year history.
Button is odds-on to become the first Formula One winner since Damon Hill 13 years ago ahead of Andrew Strauss, England's Ashes-winning captain, world champions Jessica Ennis and 15-year-old Tom Daley, Andy Murray and the ageless Ryan Giggs, the only footballer shortlisted. The event will be staged in the Sheffield Arena on 13 December.
Hamilton found himself in a similar situation a year ago but the vote on the night swung dramatically in Hoy's direction as the Scot triumphed by over 120,000 votes. In Button's favour is that this is not an Olympic year, nor does he have a major football tournament to contend with. His closest challenger may well be Strauss, who need only look to England's last Ashes win in 2005 to raise his hopes. Andrew Flintoff was the winner then.
David Haye's world title triumph over Nikolai Valuev earned him a belated place in the top 10. The year's late achievers traditionally make a strong showing, which explains the boxer's status as third favourite.
Giggs is the veteran in the field, old enough to be Daley's father. Ennis and Beth Tweddle are the only women and there is no place for Charlotte Edwards, Strauss's female counterpart, who lifted the one-day and Twenty20 World Cups, nor – yet again – for Tony McCoy, who this year rode his 3,000th winner.
Last year's show was watched by close to 10 million people.
Shortlisted: BBC Sports Personality of the Year
*Jenson Button Age: 29. Formula One world champion for 2009. Odds: 8-13
*Mark Cavendish Age: 24. Won six stages in Tour de France, record for British rider. Odds: 66-1
*Tom Daley Age: 15. First individual British gold medallist at world championships 10m dive. Odds: 66-1
*Jessica Ennis Age: 23. Crowned world champion in heptathlon with personal best 6,731pts. Odds: 11-2
*Ryan Giggs Age: 36. Voted PFA Player of the Year, won 11th league championship. Odds: 33-1
*David Haye Age: 29. Beat Nikolai Valuev to win WBA world heavyweight title. Odds: 8-1
*Phillips Idowu Age: 30. Won triple jump gold medal at world championships. Odds: 100-1
*Andy Murray Age: 22. Won six titles, including Queen's. Odds: 33-1
*Andrew Strauss Age: 32. Ashes- winning captain and leading run scorer in series. Odds: 16-1
*Beth Tweddle Age: 24. First British gymnast to win medal at world and European championships. Odds: 50-1