JENSEN BUTTON On Honda, Brawn, WDC 2009

Discussion in 'F1' started by RP, Jan 12, 2008.

  1. RP

    RP F1 World Champ

    Feb 9, 2005
    Bocahuahua, Florxico
    Full Name:
    Tone Def

    Q. You're going to start your ninth season in Formula One in 2008, is that a good or a bad thing?

    Jenson Button: It's a good thing. In F1 it's good to have the experience of racing for so many years and with different teams. I still would rather be in a car that's challenging for the championship, but that hasn't been possible for the last few years. But a lot's changing within the team. Obviously having Ross Brawn on board, it's going to make a big big difference.

    It's not just Ross, there's a lot of guys that I think are doing a great job that have only been with the team for a short period, and I think that the people that have been there for a long time have got a wake up call, and there's a good atmosphere now. We are moving forward, and you can only move forward I suppose from '07.

    Q. One of the most significant things last year was that you kept your head up and kept smiling, and re-established your reputation and respect, for just knuckling down, and doing the best you could.

    JB: I did find it difficult at times, I just don't ever show it. It was a tough season and in a season where we thought we were going to be competitive we really weren't at all. It wasn't just that we were slow, the car was so difficult to drive as well. It was just very frustrating.

    Q. Why was it difficult to drive?

    JB: The problem was that the aerodynamics was working in a very strange way. On the straight we had a lot of downforce, so we were slower than the top cars, and when we got to the corner and we hit the brakes all the downforce came off, so we didn't have the downforce in the corners.

    It's working in the exact opposite of what we need it to. If we do have the downforce, it's only at the front, so you've got no grip at the rear, it's jumping around and the rears are locking. It's a very uncomfortable feeling, and so many other issues are caused because of that. We helped it throughout the season, but it wasn't possible to get rid of it.

    But we know our problems, and we know how to solve them now. We've gone in a very different direction now. In a way, '07 was a good year for the team. It sounds stupid, but it was good. If we'd had a reasonable year, getting some points, maybe a podium or two, we might have carried on in the direction we were going. But after such a bad year, we've realised we do need to change something, and we have.

    Q. It's important to learn how to lose first, isn't it?

    JB: I've always thought that's a load of crap, whoever says it, I've never believed it. I've had my fair share of difficult seasons, and I'm going to beat myself up because I think that I've done a great job in difficult circumstances, and I've been working so so hard with Honda, and I think it really is going to pay off over the next couple of years.

    Q. What are your recollections of that crazy afternoon in Hungary when you took your first win?

    JB: It was a crazy weekend, and we had the big boss of Honda there. He was very excited turning up for his first Hungarian Grand Prix. Saturday we were reasonably quick, then we had an almighty blow-up, I think most of the engine was left a Turn 5. So I was a bit upset, and I let it show.

    Then we put the new engine in the car and had to start 10 places back, so I had to start 14 th, then it started raining. It became a very interesting race, and the wet is always exciting, because when you haven't had the practice, at the start you don't know where the braking points are, so you've got to find them as quick as you can, and it's great.

    You're pushing that little bit more at every corner, using a little bit more of the circuit. The problem is, as soon as you lock the rears, you're off, because you can't control it any more. I felt very confident with the car in those conditions, and I won by quite a considerable margin, which was nice.

    And I have to say that the team did a great job too, strategy-wise, they were perfect. But hopefully in a year's time we won't still be reflecting on that one win from 2006.

    Q. Have always enjoyed racing in the wet?

    JB: For me, driving in the wet in karts, I loved it. But it's different to driving a Formula One car in the wet. In a kart you really get no grip in the wet, so you really have to take different lines on the way in, and then try to find some grip. In a Formula One car it's a bit different because you do have the downforce to help you.

    The rain made the racing exciting in 2007, Japan was crazy, but we also had Shanghai, Nurburgring, and those races for me were so exciting, even if I didn't finish. Those races were a real buzz.

    Q. Are you going to be at an advantage in 2008 when they get rid of traction control?

    JB: With traction control, some people use the throttle pedal like a switch, full power, and let the traction control sort it out. But I've never really got to grips with it. Certain drivers have, but I apply the throttle more gently.

    It will give me an advantage in testing, but by the time we get to the first race, every F1 driver is experienced enough and skilled enough to get used to it, and they will by Melbourne. It's not just our right foot that is going to help the throttle application, it's going to be the engine, the powerbands, so that it's nice and smooth. So there's a lot to work with even though we don't have traction control.

    When I first drove the car without traction control it was so strange, because the engine was designed to have traction control, so you didn't need to be smooth, because it wasn't designed for a driver to be smooth.

    When we took away the electronics at first it was uncontrollable, because the power came in so violently, so we've had to work on making it come in smoother with the engine management. I think we're looking good, it's getting there.

    Q. What sort of effect to expect Ross Brawn to make straight away?

    JB: When Ross first walked into the team, there was the biggest round of applause I've ever heard. Even just his presence gives the team a better outlook and I think it does make people work that little bit more.

    Ross as a person gets to grips with things quickly, and he's fitted in quicker than everyone imagined. The car itself when it arrives at the first race isn't going to have a lot of input from Ross, but the team will.

    The way of working in the team has changed a lot and I think when it comes to the race and the strategy, we're all going to be a lot more confident than we have been in the past, and that's important to have that confidence in yourself but also within the other team members.

    I'm so happy that we've got Ross. On his own he's not going to turn the team around, but I think that everyone at the moment is positive and doing a great job. There's not one person in the team that isn't giving it their all.

    Q. How long before his arrival did you know that Ross was coming?

    JB: The talks had been going on for a very long time. I knew about it for a little while, and when I found out I was chuffed to bits. After such a difficult season, for the team to realise that we needed someone like Ross in the team, it was a relief more than anything else. Such a nice feeling. I get on really well with Ross, I've spent quite a lot of time with him, and I've got a great relationship with him.

    Q. Is it a case that modern teams are so enormous that one man can't make all the difference?

    JB: We have some very good ideas within our team. For instance, we could have eight ideas for aerodynamics, and our problem was we didn't know which one to take. So we would do all of them relatively well. We didn't have someone in charge to say 'let's do that, let's make that amazing'.

    Having Ross on board, he's got the strength, knowledge and experience to be able to do that. In a way that's technical direction and that's what we've needed.

    Q. How is the new car coming along?

    JB: It's not far off. The way that we've been working, we're not rushing ourselves, we want to make sure everything is correct when we get to the first test, and make sure we have enough parts. I'm really looking forward to the end of January when we go to Valencia for three days.

    I'm positive, but the first test is the first test. The car will be better than last year's, but that's not the end product. We've really got to concentrate on working with it, making sure it's reliable, and we'll have a few more steps to come.

    Q. The new race at Singapore looks great, and it's going to be in the dark.

    JB: It's going to be exciting. It will be such a spectacle, and I love getting to grips with new circuits, and street circuits are just immense. It will be fantastic.

    Q. Is there a move to have more street circuits, to take Formula One to the people, moving away from the traditional circuits?

    JB: For the fans the spectacle is great when you're there, you have the noise, the smell, but I think on TV it's a bit different, because we all want overtaking, and on a street circuit it's very different.

    You don't have the confidence to brake that little bit later, because if you do go off you're straight into a barrier. I think we have to be careful. They are fun to race on and fun to watch, but we should have some of them, and the circuits that are good for overtaking.

    Q. What did you think of testing with the slick tyres?

    JB: The slicks were mega. My first flying lap with them was two seconds faster than the grooved tyres, and the feel is so much nicer. With the grooved tyre, it's a very strange sensation. You have the grip, but then suddenly it's gone at a certain angle. Slicks are the best for me. It's fantastic, and we've got to go in that direction.

    Q. Will Honda let Ross Brawn do his stuff, unlike when Mike Gascoyne was at Toyota and he ended up leaving?

    JB: I think that Ross and Mike Gascoyne are very different personalities, and I think that Ross is good at building up teams. He did it with Benetton, and he did it with Ferrari. I think that the atmosphere will be good, and Honda will give him what he needs, and I feel that he needs free reign. There's nothing holding Ross back and there shouldn't be.

    Q. How do you stay motivated after a season like 2007?

    JB: It was tough. I didn't get demotivated but I was quite down at times, and so frustrated. But if you're down, you can't think that it's not going to improve. There's 600 people at the Honda factory, so if you're demotivated then what must that mean to them? One of their drivers isn't interested, so why should they be? You have to stay focused for them, so we can get back to where we should be.

    Q. What was your opinion of the whole Alonso/Hamilton situation in 2007?

    JB: It's always difficult to comment on other drivers. But you've got to say that Lewis did a great job. He came in and almost won the championship in his first year, and he should have won it really. His car was competitive and gave him the chance to win races, but he still had to do the last bit and cross the finish line first. He did a great job, and I don't think Alonso expected that.

    The team maybe suited Hamilton more than Alonso, and sometimes when Fernando was under pressure he didn't perform as we expected him to. I think going back to Renault is the best thing for him to do. I've said before, if it's tough, you make it work. You don't get a chance to challenge for the championship very often, although maybe he has so he can choose what he wants to do.

    For me, he's still a great driver, and he's a double world champion. He beat Michael Schumacher twice, and that was Fernando at his best. Last year wasn't Fernando at his best. Maybe we'll see the world champion Fernando in 2008.
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  3. kraftwerk

    kraftwerk Two Time F1 World Champ

    May 12, 2007
    England North West
    Full Name:
    JB is one I think will do well without TC.

    The whole of the interview, I thought was upbeat and good to read he deserves some success...last comment about FA winning well not sure he is on the button with that..:)
  4. IanMac

    IanMac Formula 3

    Jul 26, 2006
    Full Name:
    Good interview with Jenson and I too think he'll do well, let's hope he has a decent car this year.

    I'm not sure he meant FA might win the championship this season, I think he just meant we might see him perform like a former world champion would be expected to perform.

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