Extreme EFormula 1

“Winning a World Title was more of a relief” – 2009 Formula 1 World Champion Jenson Button

3 Mins read
Credit: The Gentlemans Journal

2009 Formula 1 World Champion, Jenson Button, was one of the most popular drivers in the sport during his lengthy career at the pinnacle of motorsport. The British driver who won his famous title with Brawn GP, began his career in Formula 1 career in 2000 with Williams. Button who later raced for Benetton, Renault and BAR, rose to fame in 2006 whilst driving for the Honda Team where he took his first Grand Prix victory at the Hungarian Grand Prix.

Button raced for Brawn GP in 2009, after Ross Brawn led a management buyout of Honda. After winning the title, Button made the move to McLaren, where he remained for the remainder of his career in the sport. Nowadays, Button is a team owner in the relatively new Extreme E series, the all-electric SUV off-road championship.

In a recent interview with the Gentleman’s Journal, Button discussed the impressive progress made by the new all-electric series

 “They were kind of like bucking broncos when we started, so you’d hit a bump and it’d flick up, which shouldn’t be the case for an off-road vehicle, but there’s been a lot of changes to the suspension, it’s helped a lot, which is good.” 

Sticking with electric, Button explained as to why Formula 1 won’t be all-electric anytime soon. Many have wondered if the championship will soon turn to all-electric vehicles due to the sport’s shocking carbon footprint, especially with the championship now supporting sustainability as well.

“Formula One is obviously the pinnacle of motorsport, best drivers in the world, best manufacturers in the world. But, I think if you turned around and made them EV tomorrow, they’d become very heavy – and that’s exactly what you do not want. Also, you wouldn’t be able to have an hour-and-a-half race, because it [the cars] would be the size of an SUV to get all the battery packs in it. So no, it’s not going to happen in the near future.”

Button has cut his SMP Racing WEC commitments so that he can focus on Super GT in 2019.
Credit: FIA World Endurance Championship

With the FIA Formula 1 World Championship continuing to expand, the series is undoubtedly more demanding in regards to travel than ever before. Travelling around the world for almost twelve months a year, is something Button certainly doesn’t miss!

“I don’t miss Formula One…  it’s at the pinnacle of the sport, but I don’t miss 23 races travelling around the world. I felt like I’d completed everything I set out to do [when he retired]. There was nothing else to learn. Whereas this [exploring other motorsport genres] is a big learning curve, you know, pushing the boundaries, if you like.”

In his Formula 1 career, Button made 309 race starts, claiming a podium in fifty of those; fifteen of those podiums being victories. The British driver accomplished almost every accolade possible as an F1 driver, from winning races, to winning the World Championship. Button explained the different emotions behind the two and how he ‘hates’ being called a former-World Champion.

Race wins provide that massive adrenaline hit – whereas winning a world title was more of a relief. It’d been a tough year, a great year at the beginning, and then sort of a slump through the year, and then a great ending. But when you wake up in the morning, you think, ‘Damn, I’m a world champion”, you don’t think about the race wins. So the world championship lives with you forever. And I’ll never be a former world champion. I hate it when people say that. I am a world champion, you can’t take that away from me!”

Button knows exactly what it takes to win the Constructors’ Title, with himself and Rubens Barrichello winning it for Brawn GP in 2009. Based on what Button has seen so far this season, he doesn’t see anyone beating Scuderia Ferrari for a while.

“Ferrari have nothing to lose, they put everything into 2022. And when you watch the car, on the straights, it looks horrific because of the porpoising, but actually through the corner it looks beautiful to drive… Ferrari has just been plain sailing, good on ‘em, they’ve done a great job. And I don’t think I see it changing anytime soon… Ferrari still has more time in the wind tunnel than Mercedes, as does Red Bull. So it’s going to be tricky for Mercedes to come back.

“Two great drivers are better than one in terms of setting up a car and also the feedback that the team needs to improve the car. So everything’s good at the moment. Atmosphere always changes when you’re fighting for wins. That’s normally when you go from being best buddies to fierce competitors.”

Read Jenson Button’s full interview on thegentlemansjournal.com

Credit: XITE Energy Racing
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