Exclusive Jenson Button Q&A: I have to beat the Red Bulls 24 Jul 2009
Brawn GPs Jenson Button is looking cool, calm and collected ahead of this weekend's Hungarian Grand Prix. Its true that Red Bull, fresh from two consecutive wins, are looking strong in terms of the championship, but Button has been through tougher times. Hes still leading the standings by 21 points, and is wise enough, and confident enough, to realise theres still everything to play for
Q: How does it feel to be the leader of the pack? Have you become accustomed to the fact that you could be the 2009 world champion?
Jenson Button: It is a sensational feeling to be the leader of the world championship. I am not taking this for granted and it will not be easy from here on in, as Red Bull Racing are very competitive. I do like the position that I am in - in the lead - but I am also working very hard to make sure that we do not drop too many points to Red Bull. We have to stay fast and get back to winning races, and that is the aim for this weekend.
Q: Its said that you are a champion of the people. Your flight back, after winning the Turkish Grand Prix, was on a no-frills airline. Does your relaxed manner stem from your experience of so many tough seasons?
JB: Yes, I think so. Plus I have not been paid enough to fly back with a decent airline. I do not have any problems flying with a budget airline. The most important thing is that it gets me back home. I have been through some good and very difficult times in my career, and it was good, because it made me stronger. And if things turn good, you dont forget the bad times for sure, and you will be very careful.
Q: Even after two not-so-fantastic results you still lead by 21 points. That looks pretty comfortable
JB: It is a nice position, but not too comfortable. We have to beat the Red Bulls again. Since they have beaten us in the last two races, they could destroy us in the championship. I have to fight as hard as I can to get back to the top step of the podium. The next few races will be very important.
Q: Red Bull have been able to close the gap, but you guys at Brawn havent been standing still. Will the counterattack start here in Budapest?
JB: Yes, we have to challenge them. This is a race where we have some new aerodynamic parts to introduce to the car. The temperature is good for us. It should be enough to bring us back to the level of the Red Bulls and be able to challenge them.
Q: Obviously the BGP001 likes warmer climates. With only one cooler race ahead, in Belgium, will you have an advantage?
JB: Yes, we hope so. And it is good to know that there are some warm races coming up, like here and Valencia. We have been struggling with the tyres, to get them in a working range, like in Silverstone and at the Nurburgring. We dont have any excuses here. If the Red Bulls are quicker than us, then they are just quicker than us. I am pretty confident that we can bring the challenge to them.
Q: But could the weather conditions at the forthcoming races tip the championship balance in your favour?
JB: Yeah, but there are always things like that in Formula One. Before we had two tyre manufacturers, so the tyre manufacturer people would say that the tyres were the main reason. But it is still all about how you build your car - its a team effort. If your car works in cold conditions, then its because youve built your car that way.
Q: Your team mate Rubens Barrichello hinted at the Nurburgring that the team has already made the decision to favour one driver. Is that the situation?
JB: No, thats not the situation. We get exactly the same equipment, we get the same of everything. And it will be that way all through the season. Its the way this team functions. I saw a press release from Red Bull and I understand that they have the same understanding, up until the moment one of the drivers cannot win the championship anymore and then they will help the other driver. Its a good way to be - I think thats how Formula One should be. I have a good lead over Rubens at the moment. Hes a challenger for the championship for sure, but he is driving the same car as me so I can control him a little bit, whereas the two Red Bull guys I dont know where they are and how quick they are going to be.
Q: You have a considerable lead over Rubens so wouldnt it make sense to focus all the team's efforts on you?
JB: Yeah, it would. But thats not how this team works. It is impossible for us to do those kind of things. It was talked about it in the press and were not doing it. Its not going to happen. We dont work that way. In the end I would say doing something like that is like cheating. Its not fair. Winning the championship, knowing that your team mate has equal opportunities is the best way to win. If you win it feels so much sweeter.
Q: You once said that your best night out in Formula One racing was after you won your first Grand Prix, here in Budapest three years ago. Are you looking forward to treating yourself to another great time on Sunday night?
JB: Well, Ive got to win first. Its a long break after this race, but if everything goes well Im sure I will have a little bit of fun on Sunday night.
Q: That sounds pretty confident - at least for a podium
JB: If Im on the podium I will be happy. I have to beat the Red Bulls first!