A Q&A with F1 Driver Jenson Button

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As a follow up to Friday’s post and as part of the US Grand Prix weekend in Indianapolis, I got a chance to sit down with 8 year veteran driver Jenson Button to ask him some questions about the sport, racing for Honda and of course, gaming. I also got an inside look at the operations for Honda Racing, so I wanted to share a few more pics here too. Enjoy!

So, Jenson you race all over the world, tell us what it’s like to be an F1 driver.
It’s great, as you know we just came from Montreal, we get to race all over the world. Japan, China, North America, Europe, and Brazil. Getting to see so many countries and cultures, is unbelievable, although the travel is always tough, and we are so focused on the racing it’s hard to get time to really enjoy the country or city you are in.

Do you have a favorite circuit?
Yeah, I love Silverstone (the British Grand Prix), it’s home and I really like the track. It’s always nice to race in front of the hometown fans. Suzuka, over in Japan and Honda’s home race is also very special. Last is Spa, over in Belgium.

You’ve been in Formula One for 8 years now, how have you seen the sport evolve from the cockpit?
The technology certainly keeps changing; they keep trying to slow us down by about two seconds (per lap) by changing the tires, the aerodynamics or making the engines less powerful. It doesn’t really work though, as we are just as fast as or maybe faster than we were before. The lap times even remain with all the new restrictions. The technology is staggering, it’s up there with NASA, and that is no lie. For me I wish they were getting rid of some of the technology like traction control, which they are next year, but I also see the benefit to the road cars as F1 technology eventually makes it into the cars that people driver every day.

Speaking of road cars, you drove the new Honda Civic Type R on track recently. What was that like?
I went over to drive the car on the track to give the engineers feedback to improve performance. It was good fun. Hopefully, they found the input helpful. F1 cars are just so fast and require so much more focus, coming into any road car just doesn’t really compare. Road cars are just so slow compared to an F1 car. The Type R though was fun to drive. I get asked that question by fans a lot.

What is in the garage at home? Do you drive Honda’s at home as well?
Yeah, I do. I have an S2000 that is perfect for Monaco as well as a new Hybrid. The Hybrid is great for getting around and doing errands.

OK, time to switch gears, you are here to play Formula One Championship Edition on PlayStation 3, are you a gamer?
Not really anymore, mainly because I just don’t have time. I used to play games a lot, but the last couple of years, it’s been tough to get to the time.

When you do have the time is it primarily racing games that you prefer to play?
Yeah, now that I have a PS3 (laughs) I’m certainly going to be giving it a go. I like the technical aspects of the game, being able to change race strategy and things like car setup are very cool to me. The hard part is actually driving an F1 car and then comparing it too a videogame, because the G forces and what not can’t be felt through the television. The visuals on the game are brilliant.

OK, last couple of questions and time to switch gears again. Jenson Button’s favorite place to vacation?
Home! (Monte Carlo) Home is a great vacation for me because we travel so much.

Your favorite food?
I like Japanese food. Sushi, tempura, all that sort of stuff, I love it!

Last question, so when the racing career is over, what do envision yourself doing?
Yeah, that is a great question and one I’ve asked myself many times and I don’t know. I think I might try a few races like Le Mans, but more for enjoyment, not work. I love my job now and I know I’m very lucky to do it.

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