Jenson Button: Becketts corner is mind-blowing
Jenson Button is looking forward to his home race at Silverstone. In and interview the Honda Racing F1 Team driver discusses the British crowd, his favorite corner and a rather special helmet design. The Briton also talks about his career so far and how he keeps motivated while not being able to challenge for wins.
This is Jenson Button’s ninth season in Formula One. He has driven for Williams (2000), Benetton (2001-2002), BAR-Honda (2003 - 2005) and the Honda Racing F1 Team (2006-2008). Jenson has contested 143 races to date, from which he’s taken one win, four second places and 10 third places. He has started from pole position three times and led a total of 124 laps.
The 2008 British Grand Prix will be Jenson Button’s ninth Formula One race at Silverstone. His best result is fourth in 2004, and he has finished in the points on three other occasions. Jenson has started on the front row once, in 2005. Of course he hopes to do even better this year.
Are you looking forward to racing at Silverstone?
“I always look forward to the British Grand Prix at Silverstone as it’s my home race and therefore a very special weekend for me. I love the layout of the track because it’s very fast and flowing, and I have a lot of good memories from when I used to spectate at the British Grand Prix as a boy.”
How much of a lift does the home support give you?
“The fans are great and I love seeing all the Union Flags in the grandstands. But it’s also a bit frustrating at the moment because I want to give them better results than I’m currently able to. The Honda Racing F1 Team’s headquarters is located only seven miles from the track, so there will be a lot of people from the factory supporting us there. With the race selling-out on all three days, there will be a fantastic atmosphere.”
What’s your favorite corner at Silverstone?
“The Becketts complex is my favorite combination of corners in the world. You enter it flat-out in seventh gear, so the speeds are extremely high, and you have to be very precise with your line. The change of direction that you carry through there is just mind-blowing. When you get this section right, you come out with the biggest smile on your face. It’s a fantastic place to watch the race from.”
Why are you using a new helmet design for the British Grand Prix?
“I recently ran a competition on my website, www.jensonbutton.com, in which I asked fans to design my helmet color scheme for Silverstone. We had a staggering 7055 entries and I’ve opted for the design by Aries Janssens from Denbighshire in the UK, which I’ll unveil on Thursday at the track. What I like about Aries’ design is that it’s very British and very me. By very me, I mean very patriotic. His design incorporates my logo and my name, and the ‘o’ in Jenson is a Union Flag button. Good work, Aries!”
Where are you at in your career?
“Firstly I’m in Formula One and that is every driver’s primary goal. Beyond that it’s a question of where you are in F1, whether you’re in a good team and whether you have the experience to challenge for the World Championship. I’m only 28 years old, yet this is already my ninth year in F1 so I have the necessary experience to win the title. I haven’t got the car underneath me to do that at the moment, but that will come.”
What are you doing to improve the performance of this year’s car?
“I tell the team exactly how it performs on the track, where it’s weak and where it’s strong. I’m working much harder now than I did in 2004, when I finished third in the World Championship, because that’s what you have to do to get back to the front. I make sure that the team are making the changes that need to be made.”
When you know you can’t challenge for wins, what’s your motivation?
“I love what I do, so I have no problems with motivation. It isn’t nice knowing that I’m going into the British Grand Prix without a realistic chance of battling at the front, but when I’m in the car I push 110 percent. That’s what I do every time I get in the car; it’s what I have to do to drive the team forward and ahead of what will be a better year in 2009.”