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MAGAZINE - PUBLISHED ON MARCH 15TH 2012
In the magazine: the phenomenon of Jenson Button
On the eve of the Australian Grand Prix AUTOSPORT takes a look at the phenomenon of Jenson Button at McLaren, and examines why he cannot be discounted for a second title heading into the new season

Jenson Button McLaren

The Australian Grand Prix is nearly here, to finally end the waiting for the Formula 1 season to begin. Following last week's bumper preview issue, this week we take a look at the phenomenon of Jenson Button at McLaren.

AUTOSPORT grand prix editor Mark Hughes traces the story of 2009 world champion's initial approach to the team - during which he was prepared to drive for a surprisingly low financial return - and how very few people, the McLaren team included, expected him to thrive to such an extent within an operation that seemed to be built around Lewis Hamilton.

The rest is history and, with the 2011 runner-up slot in the bag, Button's confidence has been vindicated as he heads into a new season in which he cannot be discounted for a second title.

Melbourne moments - Meanwhile, our Formula 1 man on the beat Edd Straw takes an off-beat look at some of the happenings in the Australian city over the past 16 runnings of the grand prix as he works out what to expect from this week's race.

Australian GP preview and David Coulthard column - Our full guide to the circuit is accompanied by the ex-Williams/McLaren/Red Bull star and BBC pundit's look ahead to this weekend.

Mark Hughes column - This week, Hughes delves into the problems faced at Ferrari, and whether the Scuderia is barking up the right tree in being influenced by the Red Bull RB8 in its late fixes.

Danica Patrick - Our editor-in-chief Andrew van de Burgt went to the Daytona 500 with a mission to get an interview with the IndyCar superstar-turned-NASCAR starlet. And he did. Read what she says about her dark days racing in England as a young lass, and how they built the foundations for her American career.

World Endurance Championship preview - For those who don't like their racing cars with sticking-out wheels, it's not Aussie GP time, instead it's Sebring 12 Hours fever. This year it's the opening round of the World Endurance Championship. Read Gary Watkins' verdict on it - and follow the tortured path sports-prototype racing has trodden over the past 20 years to finally recover its FIA world title status.

Rally Mexico - They don't do chimichangas very well in David Evans' native Shropshire, so he went to Mexico for a bit of spice. Along the way he saw Sebastien Loeb take yet another win for Citroen - and some large accidents.

WTCC Monza - Like Loeb and Citroen winning, fellow Alsace man Yvan Muller and Chevrolet can't be stopped in the global touring car series. Peter Mills went to Italy to see the WTCC kick off - and watched Muller win in rather unorthodox fashion.

World of Sport - NASCAR, Auto GP and Argentinian Super TC2000.

National focus - Historic racing is thriving at all levels. This week Ben Anderson looks at the budget end of the scale with a new series for 1950s sportscars. And he gets to drive six of them at Donington. Lucky man!

Sports Extra - Meanwhile, at the upper end of the historic scale, the Grand Prix de Monaco Historique is attracting a remarkable entry, as we reveal.

From the Archive - With the FIA's announcement of a European Formula 3 Championship, it's time for a lookback at 1979, when the previous incarnation of the series launched Alain Prost to global stardom.

Race of my Life - We wondered whether former McLaren designer Steve Nichols would choose one of his old Pre-'83 Formula Ford 2000 races (he was quite a handy pedaller in the day), but instead he fondly recollects a McLaren world-title clincher. But which one?...

Read this week's AUTOSPORT digital magazine.

  FEATURES FROM MAR 15, 2012 - MAR 21, 2012
World Endurance Championship grid guide
Zoom In: Australian Grand Prix
By LAT Photographic
Setting the scene for the Australian Grand Prix
By Edd Straw
The Australian Grand Prix Preview
By Sam Tremayne
What to expect from the World Endurance Championship
By Gary Watkins
In the magazine: the phenomenon of Jenson Button
Irvine: 'I can't see anyone beating Vettel'
By Eddie Irvine
Romain Grosjean: Formula 1's Six Million Dollar Man
By Edd Straw
Six of the best: AUTOSPORT answers your Australian GP questions
By Edd Straw
The true cost of a budget cap in Formula 1
By Dieter Rencken
Flying the Flag: the history of French drivers in F1
By Adam Cooper
2012 Formula 1 season preview podcast
David Coulthard's Australian Grand Prix preview
By David Coulthard
It's the usual suspects, but in what order?
By Mark Hughes
Five themes to watch for in the race
By Edd Straw
The complete Australian GP review
By Edd Straw, Simon Strang and Matt Beer
We rate the drivers after the Australian Grand Prix
By Edd Straw
On Melbourne form we're in for a classic season
By Tony Dodgins
McLaren hits the big 50 in Australia
By Michele Merlino
Who is winning the fight for F1's future?
By Dieter Rencken
How Button turned Saturday's silver into Sunday's gold
By Adam Cooper
Behind the scenes at Albert Park
By Jonathan Noble
Bamber's Week
By Jim Bamber
The answers we're still waiting for from F1 2012
By Jonathan Noble
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