Beyond the Tracks

Shortly af­ter the con­clu­sion of the Singapore Grand Prix, vet­eran For­mula One driver Jen­son But­ton re­veals his plans to stay in­volved in the rac­ing scene af­ter 17 sea­sons in the driver's seat.

The Peak (Hong Kong) - - Fashion • Man Of The Moment - STORY GLO­RIA FUNG Do you have a favourite cir­cuit?

There’s been spec­u­la­tion for quite some time as to where sea­soned Bri­tish For­mula One driver Jen­son But­ton will be headed af­ter his time on the tracks comes to an end. But­ton has started in over 280 Grands Prix since his F1 de­but in 2001, and to the sur­prise of many, the 36-year-old con­tin­ues to race – of­ten out­do­ing the young gen­er­a­tion of driv­ers. How­ever, he’s tak­ing a back­seat next sea­son, with Mclaren-honda team­mate Stof­fel Van­doorne step­ping in to re­place But­ton on driv­ing du­ties. Out­side of the pad­dock, But­ton reg­u­larly takes part in triathlons and has re­cently landed the role of am­bas­sador for Chan­don sparkling wine. As ef­fer­ves­cent him­self as ever, But­ton shares what’s on his horizon and how he plans to take his love for rac­ing beyond the cock­pit.

How has your pas­sion for the sport of F1 changed over the years? Do you race with a dif­fer­ent mind­set now that you’re 17 sea­sons in? The pas­sion has never changed, no mat­ter what has hap­pened in my ca­reer. I’ve al­ways said I have the best

job in the world, and I stand by that. We are in­cred­i­bly lucky to be able to race these awe­some ma­chines ev­ery other week­end, and call it a job. I’m very pas­sion­ate about the sport and where it’s head­ing, and that won’t change even when I’m out of the cock­pit next sea­son.

What’s been your proud­est ac­com­plish­ment in your ca­reer? I have lots of mo­ments that I’m proud of, but def­i­nitely clinch­ing the world cham­pi­onship in 2009 is one of my ul­ti­mate proud­est achieve­ments. We dom­i­nated the sea­son against all odds af­ter ini­tially not even know­ing if I had a race seat or if the team could field a car that year, so be­com­ing world cham­pion made the suc­cess feel even more in­cred­i­ble. A lot of my fans would also say Canada 2011 was one of my best races – it’s def­i­nitely up there for me. A four-hour race, com­ing through from the back of the field, six trips to the pits and tak­ing the lead on the last lap to se­cure vic­tory has to be one of the cra­zi­est races of all time – and proof that no mat­ter what hap­pens, you should never, ever give up!

How do you stay men­tally and phys­i­cally pre­pared for the tracks? There isn’t usu­ally much time be­tween races, but I try and snatch as much time with fam­ily and friends as pos­si­ble, while mak­ing sure I’m train­ing ev­ery day and keep­ing as phys­i­cally fit as pos­si­ble. Train­ing and nu­tri­tion is a re­ally im­por­tant part of be­ing a For­mula One driver and it’s also an el­e­ment I re­ally en­joy, so the prepa­ra­tion never re­ally stops.

Do you have a rou­tine be­fore the start of each race? Do you have a lucky charm? I’m not a su­per­sti­tious per­son, but ever since I started rac­ing – even in karts – I’ve stepped into the car from the right hand side. But that’s more habit than su­per­sti­tion!

It’s al­ways tricky to choose a favourite cir­cuit be­cause each one has its dif­fer­ent quirks that make it spe­cial. One of my favourites has to be Suzuka – it’s fast, it’s tough, it’s tech­ni­cal, it’s one of the clas­sics, and I al­ways love go­ing rac­ing there. I re­ally en­joy vis­it­ing Ja­pan, too, and have had a strong con­nec­tion with the coun­try through­out my whole ca­reer, so it’s al­ways fun to go back.

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