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..."

Franchitti column

Previous article

Franchitti column

Next article

Wurz fit for Hungary

Wurz fit for Hungary
Load comments
The drivers that need to strike gold before F1's summer break Plus

The drivers that need to strike gold before F1's summer break

OPINION: Formula 1 is about to break up for summer 2021, with the title battles finely poised. But it’s not just the latest round of Max Verstappen vs Lewis Hamilton that will be worth watching this weekend in Hungary, as plenty of drivers are eying big results to change the stories of their seasons so far

How Lotus F1 uncovered, then squandered its last ‘unfair advantage’ Plus

How Lotus F1 uncovered, then squandered its last ‘unfair advantage’

Cast in the mould of its founder Colin Chapman, Lotus was powerful and daring but 
flawed – as it proved through further soaring peaks and painful troughs into the 1980s. DAMIEN SMITH examines a game-changing era

Formula 1
Jul 27, 2021
The core problems Yas Marina’s long-awaited tweaks won't address Plus

The core problems Yas Marina’s long-awaited tweaks won't address

OPINION: Changes to the layout of Abu Dhabi’s circuit aim to reverse the trend of insipid Formula 1 races there - the promoter has even described one of the new corners as “iconic”. And that, argues STUART CODLING, is one of this venue’s abiding failings

Formula 1
Jul 26, 2021
How Ferrari offered Britain's next F1 prospect what Red Bull couldn't Plus

How Ferrari offered Britain's next F1 prospect what Red Bull couldn't

Last year's Formula 2 runner-up Callum Ilott could be on his way to becoming the first Briton to contest a grand prix in an Alfa Romeo since Reg Parnell in 1950. But, says OLEG KARPOV, the Ferrari Driver Academy protege is having to temper his ambition at the moment – outwardly at least…

Formula 1
Jul 25, 2021
The signs that point to F1's rude health Plus

The signs that point to F1's rude health

OPINION: Formula 1's calendar might still be facing disruption as the pandemic affects travel but, says MARK GALLAGHER, the business itself is fundamentally strong thanks to the epic rivalry taking place on track and the consistent arrival of new sponsors

Formula 1
Jul 24, 2021
The unexpected benefit of F1’s sprint race repeat Plus

The unexpected benefit of F1’s sprint race repeat

OPINION: Formula 1's sprint race trial at Silverstone drew mixed feedback on Saturday, but there remained the true test of how it would impact Sunday's Grand Prix. While fans were busy marvelling at Fernando Alonso's progress, a key lesson was being learned that would directly contribute to the dramatic lap one clash at Copse the following day

Formula 1
Jul 22, 2021
The off-track considerations that led to F1’s Hamilton/Verstappen Silverstone shunt Plus

The off-track considerations that led to F1’s Hamilton/Verstappen Silverstone shunt

OPINION: Formula 1’s 2021 title fight turned ugly last weekend when Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton collided at the start of the British Grand Prix. Verstappen thankfully walked away unharmed, but this had been a clash long-since coming

Formula 1
Jul 21, 2021
Will 2022's all-new cars look like F1's concept model? Plus

Will 2022's all-new cars look like F1's concept model?

Formula 1 provided its clearest example yet of what the 2022 cars are set to look like when it presented a full-scale concept to the world during the build-up to last weekend’s British Grand Prix. Underneath the special shiny livery was a design that hinted at the future, but teams will be digging into key areas that may reap differing results

Formula 1
Jul 20, 2021