It’s not everyday that you get to meet a Formula 1 world champion, let alone the current world champion. But last week I was lucky enough to chat with Jenson Button about his life so far at McLaren, his rocky road to F1 success, and whether there are really any downsides to being a world champion.
Since the switch to McLaren just over 6 months ago, a team which more resembles a corporate powerhouse than a racing outfit, Button has been thrown into a sea of corporate events, interviews, adverts, sponsorship and, well, you get the picture. It was thanks to TAG Heuer, McLaren corporate partners, that I ended up putting the questions to Jenson at their swanky boutique shop in London’s Westfield.
Jenson arrived perfectly on time, which was fortunate given that TAG Heuer, the luxury watch-makers, was organising the event. Despite having been on McLaren’s state-of-the-art simulator for 10 hours that day Jenson was chatty and relaxed, and even managed to blag himself some TAG freebies before he left.
To watch the full video of the interview CLICK HERE, but read on for a few snippets of the interview…
Jenson started off by revealing a surprising fact about himself. “I get more nervous about interviews than the racing” said Jenson. He also insisted that he wouldn’t change anything about his past, including his many frustrating years driving supremely uncompetitive cars. “If I didn’t have those difficult times then maybe I wouldn’t have won the world championship last year”.
They haven’t been allowed to take one home yet, but McLaren team-mates Jenson and Lewis have been able to test drive the hotly anticipated McLaren road-car which, if you were wondering, is what Ron Dennis has been keeping himself busy with since passing over the reigns of the F1 team to Martin Whitmarsh. “It was good fun … they didn’t let us go out on the circuit together, which you can understand, but it’s a good car … the balance is good, it just needed tweaking. The handling is great, I’ve never driven a road car quite like it.” After seeing one up-close at the Goodwood Festival of Speed, I can testify that it does indeed look mighty impressive, despite the garish metallic orange they’ve chosen as its defining colour.
Jenson was candid about his thoughts during the difficult period between Honda pulling out of F1, the eventual buy-out of the team by team principal Ross Brawn, and the fairytale ending with a double world championship last year. ” That was a time in my career when I thought wow I’ve won one race, it’s great and all, but there’s so much more I want to achieve, so that was a very difficult time in my career and in my life to know that my hobby and my passion might come to an end. So all I could do really was push hard, and to help out as much as I could to make sure the team continued in 2009, and it happened, and that’s how I became world champion.”
Are there any downsides to being an F1 driver? I certainly can’t think of any, and funnily enough Jenson agreed, “as a package there isn’t a downside, because it’s something I love doing and something I’ve loved from a very early age”. Jealous doesn’t even begin to describe it.
And don’t forget, check out the FULL video by clicking here!