Jenson Button Q&A

As speculation about Jenson Button's future continues to keep the paddock gossips busy, the man himself put in yet another charging race at Hockenheim. He was forced to start at the very back after his engine died at the start of the formation lap, and with a relatively heavy fuel load, he wasn't able to make any progress - and thus sat forlornly in front of Gaston Mazzacane's Minardi for the first half of the race. But he had some luck when the safety car made its first appearance, missing the signal to come in and staying out for an extra lap. He actually gained some ground in so doing, and was running 10th when the rain began. The team called him in for wets a full lap before race leader Mika Hakkinen and most of the people Button was fighting with opted to pit. That got him up to eighth; he gained two spots when the Jordans hit trouble, and another when Pedro de la Rosa had a moment. He then passed Mika Salo to claim fourth, his best result of the year. Adam Cooper spoke to Jenson about his memorable race, and the season so far.

Jenson Button Q&A

"I revved the engine and it just cut out. The mechanics did a good job of getting me going again, but I had to start in 23rd position. The first few laps were very difficult, because few people retired. It was impossible to pass anyone, and I was just hanging onto Alesi."

"No, we didn't at all. I ran with pretty much the same wing that we were going to use anyway. But we were running high fuel, as we were running long. So we didn't seem to be amazingly fast, but after the pit stop we would have come out in front of a lot of cars, I think."

"Yes it is a bit, but then again we've done that in the last few races, like Austria, and it worked. It worked for Jacques even more in Austria, so we thought we'd try it, and it would have worked well here."

"The team called me in. I came in actually a lap later than they called me, I couldn't understand them on the radio, but it actually worked out well because I overtook a few people. And then it started raining, and the team again did an excellent job of pulling me in at the right time."

"I knew it was raining here [in the stadium], but I didn't know how much. But at the other end of the circuit it was dry. The team said it's really, really raining here. Then they came on the radio and said, 'Come in this lap,' so I said 'OK'. That was it. It was a good decision to call me in."

"As soon as I exited the pits I knew that it was going to be wet enough. It started raining slightly down the other end of the circuit, so they did a good job of getting me out there at the right time."

"Yes, definitely! And also I had a good fight with Salo, so it was a good race. I overtook a couple of people. I thought I'd actually finished fifth - I didn't know that I was fourth. When I got back into the pits and was told I was fourth I was quite amazed. It's the best result this year."

"Yeah, the most scary and the most enjoyable really, because it was a bit up and down, and the car was very, very twitchy out there. It was the same for everyone. But I enjoyed it. I'm getting to grips with the car so much more now - the braking points, and actually being able to throw it around when I need to. I really feel good with the car and it's just going to get better and better every race."

"I think Silverstone and Austria. They were very different races, but to get fifth in both of them was pretty amazing."

"Especially when I made a mistake on the last corner, because I really had to fight for it; I lost a lot of downforce, and I had to keep both Salo and Herbert behind me."

"I think we have made progress, on the engine side and also the car. But then again everyone else is doing that as well. The real time that BMW is going to make the big leap is in the winter, on next year's engine. It's very difficult to make up a big margin in the middle of the season because everybody else is doing the same thing."

"Everyone works together, the engineers and the drivers. We look at each other's data - I don't know if they do that in every other team - and even though our set-ups are quite a long way away, we still help each other. Also there's no pressure put on us. Everyone thinks there is, by Patrick and Frank, but there's nothing at all. The only pressures me and Ralf have are put on by ourselves, I think. The team's got a really good atmosphere, and everyone's pretty friendly, and we get on really well."

"I wouldn't say close relationships. I get on well with quite a lot of the drivers. Obviously when we're racing it's very difficult to each other. I talk to all the drivers on the parade lap, or pretty much all of them. There are only 22 of us in the world, and we all get on pretty well."

"It's is quite funny, especially at the start of the year, and then with the Montoya thing. It's chilled off a bit now, but it's amazing, it really is. Especially when nobody knows what's happening yet, that's the weirdest thing. Or maybe they do..."

"It said something about 'Jenson the reject' on the front page of Autosport! I thought that was quite interesting."

"Away from the circuit? I can't really mention that, I don't think. I'll get into trouble! This year there have been lots of good moments away from the circuit. Formula 1 really helps..."

shares
comments
Franchitti column
Previous article

Franchitti column

Next article

Wurz fit for Hungary

Wurz fit for Hungary
The 10 stories to watch out for across the rest of the 2022 F1 season Plus

The 10 stories to watch out for across the rest of the 2022 F1 season

It’s 13 down, nine to go as the Formula 1 teams pause for breath in the summer break. But what can we expect to happen over the next three months from Belgium to Abu Dhabi? Here's the key storylines to keep an eye out for the rest of the 2022 season

The inconvenient truth about F1’s ‘American driver’ dream Plus

The inconvenient truth about F1’s ‘American driver’ dream

OPINION: The Formula 1 grid's wait for a new American driver looks set to continue into 2023 as the few remaining places up for grabs - most notably at McLaren - look set to go elsewhere. This is despite the Woking outfit giving tests to IndyCar aces recently, showing that the Stateside single-seater series still has some way to go to being seen as a viable feeder option for F1

Formula 1
Aug 17, 2022
How a bad car creates the ultimate engineering challenge Plus

How a bad car creates the ultimate engineering challenge

While creating a car that is woefully off the pace is a nightmare scenario for any team, it inadvertently generates the test any engineering department would relish: to turn it into a winner. As Mercedes takes on that challenge in Formula 1 this season, McLaren’s former head of vehicle engineering reveals how the team pulled of the feat in 2009 with Lewis Hamilton

Formula 1
Aug 15, 2022
The under-fire F1 driver fighting for his future Plus

The under-fire F1 driver fighting for his future

Personable, articulate 
and devoid of the usual
 racing driver airs and graces,
 Nicholas Latifi is the last Formula 1 driver you’d expect to receive death threats, but such was the toxic legacy of his part in last year’s explosive season finale. And now, as ALEX KALINAUCKAS explains, he faces a battle to keep his place on the F1 grid…

Formula 1
Aug 13, 2022
The strange tyre travails faced by F1’s past heroes Plus

The strange tyre travails faced by F1’s past heroes

Modern grand prix drivers like to think the tyres they work with are unusually difficult and temperamental. But, says  MAURICE HAMILTON, their predecessors faced many of the same challenges – and some even stranger…

Formula 1
Aug 12, 2022
The returning fan car revolution that could suit F1 Plus

The returning fan car revolution that could suit F1

Gordon Murray's Brabham BT46B 'fan car' was Formula 1 engineering at perhaps its most outlandish. Now fan technology has been successfully utilised on the McMurtry Speirling at the Goodwood Festival of Speed, could it be adopted by grand prix racing once again?

Formula 1
Aug 11, 2022
Hamilton's first experience of turning silver into gold Plus

Hamilton's first experience of turning silver into gold

The seven-time Formula 1 world champion has been lumbered with a duff car before the 2022 Mercedes. Back in 2009, McLaren’s alchemists transformed the disastrous MP4-24 into a winning car with Lewis Hamilton at the wheel. And now it’s happening again at his current team, but can the rate of progress be matched this year?

Formula 1
Aug 11, 2022
Why few could blame Leclerc for following the example of Hamilton’s exit bombshell Plus

Why few could blame Leclerc for following the example of Hamilton’s exit bombshell

OPINION: Ferrari's numerous strategy blunders, as well as some of his own mistakes, have cost Charles Leclerc dearly in the 2022 Formula 1 title battle in the first half of the season. Though he is locked into a deal with Ferrari, few could blame Leclerc if he ultimately wanted to look elsewhere - just as Lewis Hamilton did with McLaren 10 years prior

Formula 1
Aug 9, 2022