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.
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.