Button confident he has talent to realise his dream

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The Independent Online

Jenson Button is preparing to bring the curtain down on his frustrating second season in Formula One insisting he is still on course for world title glory.

Jenson Button is preparing to bring the curtain down on his frustrating second season in Formula One insisting he is still on course for world title glory.

The 21-year-old has at times this year looked like changing from the sport's hot property to a lost property after seeing his driver's place come under threat. But Button, still to be officially confirmed as a Benetton driver for 2002, believes he can fulfil his boyhood dream of becoming the greatest racer in the world.

"It has been quite frustrating this year but you can't do anything about it except do your best," Button said as he prepared for Sunday's penultimate race of the campaign in the United States.

"If you get down, it doesn't help at all. So much in F1 is if you have the right mental attitude. It's huge. More than I ever thought, it's very, very important to be positive. I am very focused on F1, and I am hopefully on the route to be a World Champion and to win races."

Button last year looked well on course to fulfilling his dream when he became the youngest driver to score a championship point – finishing sixth in only his second race – after being handed his chance by Frank Williams. But despite finishing an excellent maiden season with 12 points – being no-way outclassed by his team-mate Ralf Schumacher – Button was loaned to Benetton.

This season he has had to watch as Schumacher and his replacement at Williams, Juan Pablo Montoya, have chalked up four wins between them in 15 races, while he only has just one points-scoring finish – fifth at the German Grand Prix – to savour.

Button's lack of experience told as Benetton struggled for much of the season to produce a competitive car in their final year before officially becoming Renault. That lack of competitiveness has begun to change in recent races but it has coincided with a demand from Benetton's Flavio Briatore for Button to "get his act together" amid reports he also offered the Briton the chance to walk.

But Button insists he has not lost faith in his natural talent. "In myself and I think in the speed and driving side I have not lost any confidence," he added. "But it was difficult with the setting-up-of-the-car side. I sort of realised that my inexperience really did show this year.

"When I was working with an easier car last year, when I was further up the grid in a car that really suited my style, it was not a problem. But when you get into a car that does not suit your style, it is difficult to work with it when you are inexperienced.

"But I have learned so much this year and hopefully that will help me over the next year with this team."

Button signalled a late season upturn at the last race in Italy when he qualified in 10th spot, his best of the season, only to hit the back of Jarno Trulli at the start and was forced to retire. He will be looking for a similar qualifying performance here on Saturday but could do without a repeat of last year when the ignition switch on his car was knocked into the 'off' position by a bump – possibly when running over the famous yard of bricks at the start-finish line.