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3 minutes with…Jenson Button
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3 minutes with…Jenson Button
Posted By:   |  17 Apr 2009   |  9:58 am GMT  |  0 comments

Jenson Button was fastest today in Friday second practice, his time a good six tenths inside last year’s pole time. He finished second here in 2004 behind team mate Rubens Barrichello, who was in a Ferrari at the time. Both men love this track and are strong here so it should be the best battle between them to date.

He has been attacked this weekend by his former boss Flavio Briatore as a ‘kerbstone’ -an odd use of a word, but I think what Flavio meant is one of those big old heavy milestones or bollards at the side of the road. Either way it was meant to suggest that Button isn’t one of the greats in current F1 and that him winning everything damages the credibility of the sport. It was pretty insulting. Jenson had had a chance to weigh up Flavio’s words and this is his response. Note that he makes reference to Briatore having tried to hire him for this year, presumably in place of Piquet…
smiley-jenson-3-thumb

WHAT DID YOU MAKE OF BRIATORE’S COMMENTS THAT HAVING A TEAM LIKE BRAWN AT THE FRONT OF F1 IS DAMAGING FOR THE SPORT’S CREDIBILITY?
“Unless he is at the front of F1, I am sure [he thinks] any team [being
there] hurts the credibility of F1. He also needs to remember that he
tried to employ me for this year, so…”

WHAT WOULD YOU SAY IN RESPONSE?
“He is obviously a very angry man after the diffuser issues and he is
obviously very disappointed that they haven’t produced a car that is
as competitive as ours. We have produced a very competitive car
because of the workforce we have back at Brackely and you cannot take
it away from them – it is very unfair to say that. They have worked
very, very hard in very difficult circumstances and it is very, very
unfair for Flavio to comment as he has just because he is a little bit
bitter – he should also not forget he tried to employ me for this
season.”

WHAT WAS THE RESPONSE OF THE TEAM?
“Laughing, basically.”

HOW BIG A RELIEF FOR YOU WAS THE DIFFUSER DECISION?
“I don’t know if relief is the right word, but it is nice that is
behind us now and we can concentrate on the rest of the season. That
is the result that we expected. It is not our fault we have built a
good car, and when a regulation changes I think things change in F1.
We have seen changed. Some people might not be that happy about it,
but instead of getting angry and putting their views out there, they
need to concentrate on improving and catching us up.”

WHAT IS YOUR EXPECTATION FOR THIS WEEKEND’S RACE?
“I am looking forward to it. It is a circuit I’ve enjoyed in the past
and I’ve had some reasonably good results here in the past, even with
a difficult car. I am looking forward to it and it is quite a similar
circuit to Sepang, our tyre compounds are also reasonably difficult to
work with, the softer of the two is graining, so we are going to have
to work hard to stop that graining, and again the tyres are going to
be very important this weekend and getting them working in the correct
operating range.”

ARE YOU WORRIED THAT THE LEGALITY ISSUE WILL CLOUD THE CHAMPIONSHIP?
“No. We had legal issues last year and the year before we had legal
issues with other teams. It is not a problem because if parts on our
car were illegal it would be an issue, but they are not. They are
legal, it is just other teams have questioned the legality of our
parts and the court has said they are legal. Nothing matters except we
have got the performance and other people don’t seem to have it at the
moment.”

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  1. Grabyrdy says:

    Presumably he tried to hire Jenson because he thought he was about as slow as Piquet. But he’s wrong. He’s perhaps not the fastest in all conditions, but he’s in the top six. Personally I’ve always loved the smooth guys.

    Where he’s not wrong is about the extra expense forced on the teams because the FIA couldn’t sort out the diffuser thing before the season.

  2. DanB says:

    Brilliant. Jenson’s said all he needs to there to make Flavio look like a fool (not difficult, admittedly).

    I can’t believe someone with Piquet in his team is throwing stones at other drivers!!!!!

  3. Mike Monji says:

    Thanks James :-)

  4. Oliver Drew says:

    I like these “three minutes with” posts James – keep ‘em coming!

    Button obviously with a measured response to Flavio there. A laugh-out-loud moment with the revelation that Button was chased by Briatore for this season – nice to know what people really think of you after you turn them down!

    Good for Jenson. He’s worked hard for the success he is now having.

  5. PhilW says:

    Good retort, Jenson. Flavio is burdened with the greatest of all kerbstones, Nelson Piquet Jr.

  6. Matthew says:

    Spot on my man! Good response.. :)

  7. Matthew says:

    Surely the headline point here is that :

    - Flavio tries to employ Concrete Block, Concrete Block turns him down.

    followed by:

    - Renault can’t catch flying fencepost.

  8. brawnster says:

    Flavio is speaking like some kind of born loser. Laughing? I’ll bet Brawn are! The more that over-emotional team principals like Flavio waste on completely ineffectual anger the more their own teams will end up demoralised and unfocused, and the more Brawn will press home the advantage.

    Taken another way, Flavio’s remarks can be seen as cheap phsych-out tricks to get under Button’s skin and force him into errors. Well, Jenson took that and more from Jacques Villeneuve and survived intact, and Mr Briatore, you are no Jacques Villeneuve.

  9. Stephen Kellett says:

    Very mature. Calm and measured.
    Nice, subtle dig at Flavio.

  10. James H says:

    I think most take what Flav says with a pinch of salt anyway – he does seem to like a good whinge – in fact, if there wasn’t anything to whinge about, he’d whinge about that!

    As said, extremely insulting to say that having a ‘novice’ team at the forefront devalues the credibility of the sport. Surely BrawnGP is an evolution of the Honda team from last season? Has he not worked that one out yet?

    Jense – please rub his nose in it each and every race. You’ll make us all very happy.

  11. Colin says:

    Ask him if he knows what a paracarro is:

    Autosport says:
    “paracarro (Italian saying for being as slow as a milepost at the side of a road)”

    Gruniad translates it as a concrete post.

    Mr. Allen says it is a kerbstone.

  12. Matthew says:

    What Flavio is really saying here is :

    “it’s not fair that top Button can’t be undone!”

    That fits his charator alright!

  13. sammm says:

    its really refreshing to see someone who’s stuck through really hard times with his team and been loyal over the past few years get his just deserts. Briatore’s comments are nothing more than sour grapes – bitter at the fact the Ross Brawn worked within the rules more effectively that his engineers did.

    btw – if Button is a ‘kerbstone’, what does that make Piquet? A stop sign?

  14. Andy Fov says:

    Great response there from Jenson.

    One thing I respect about him is his ability to say the right things. You sense he’s a mind of his own, and he doesn’t have to wait to be briefed by Brawn’s PR guy before opening his mouth.

  15. Clackers says:

    I am expecting McLaren to fight back strongly in the next few races, but for Shanghai, anything other than a Brawn 1-2 will be a surprise.

    I am hoping Button can make it a hat-trick, but we must consider the reliability concerns of the gearbox (at some stage Jenson must surely get a 5 place penalty like Rubens did) and the fact that so far Brawns have not been able to get off the line properly.

    I am also finding Button circumspect at rolling starts after the safety car comes in, he never seems to warm up his tyres./brakes enough. It’s all very well beating the likes of Saturday specialists Rosberg and Trulli, but when Sunday drivers Hamilton and Alonso make the leap forward, Button will not get away with displaying such weaknesses.

  16. Jenks says:

    Well said Jense. Flavio is becoming a bitter, twisted old man. Look at the shambles hes leaving QPR in!!

    Some of his comments could be construed as bringing the sport into disrepute. Of course if you are pally with Bernie there is no chance of that happening.

    James, I’d also like to add that i think this has quickly become the best website in the world for F1.

  17. David S says:

    Excellent insight James.
    Nice tactical comments from Jenson in response to Flavs usual ranting….Jenson may also want to add a comment that Flavio should show some respect to the FIA legal process just to stoke the fire some more…
    FOTA should now issue a joint team statement CLOSING the issue.

    Shut up and speed up should be the mantra now.

    Pleased that F1 ingenuity has been rewarded.

    In my view I actually supported a position whereby the rules are ‘clarified’ from Barcelona onward and the technical freedom on diffusers be closed. I would then allow one test session (Jerez?) to be scheduled allowing all teams to verify and test the new legal interpretation.

    My concern is that the due processes within the FIA do not appear to have brought any CAPA (Corrective and Preventive action). James – Has the FIA not reviewed this incident and thought – how can we improve this process???

    We need improvement and change in;

    - FIA pre-season test scrutineering and ‘parc ferme style freeze’ 7 days prior to event 1 (avoiding 1st race steward decisions/appeals etc)
    - How can a race steward overrule an FIA delegate? Would a premiership referee have the juristiction to overrule FIFA?? The FIA must have the authority to govern and be equipped to do so.
    -Once a legal position has been ratified all teams refrain from further direct public comment or risk a disrepute charge from the FIA

    I had the pleasure of visiting the Honda factory in 2007 and meeting Jenson. Great team at a difficult time and Jenson was a thouroughly genuine guy who took time out to actually engage in a conversation with a member of the public (similar to Coulthard). This is what really takes the sport to the ‘public’.

    He would be the best World Champion for years in this respect.

    Credit to Honda as well. A well-intentioned company whose withdrawal from racing must have been akin to losing a leg..
    I hope they return and, who knows, Ross may well have a future buy-back deal on the table ready for retirement……….

  18. LameDuck says:

    I have to agree, this is now my site of choice for F1 info, very well written stuff Jimbo, keep it up.

    As for that big fat loud mouthed italian, I suggest we all just ignore him. Nice retort from JB though, did make me chuckle :-)

  19. favomodo says:

    +1 for Jenks, this F1 site is one of the best!

  20. alistairblevins says:

    Was it widely known that Flavio had approached Jenson about a seat for ’09?

    Regardless of the the brilliance of the Brawn car Jenson has been a revelation this season.

    It would appear he is no longer Britains second-best racing driver!

  21. Again very good work James, and it’s good to hear Jenson being positive, that alone has to be worth 2 10ths per lap :-)

    Still waiting to see a big 3 pointed star on the car!

    Maybe we can have a 3 hour interview with Mr Dennis?.

  22. Armstrong says:

    Its embarrassing to see someone in charge of a team act and speak in the manner that Flavio does. If anyone is “damaging the credibility of the sport” its him.
    JB has always been a class act.
    I even remember an interview he did when he was pretty upset with BAR and Richards for not giving him his due. The worst thing he said in that interview is that he scored the majority of points for the team but was not being given what his contract stated.

    James, being in the US we do not get much from you unless one goes to itv. This blog is now a staple portion in my F1 diet! Thanks.

  23. Finn says:

    There is a Italian army unit where the soldiers are known as Paracarri because their flashy hats resemble the cone shapes of Paracarro …. the stones that are placed at the edge of a building to protect it from traffic.

    Think Flav is actually saying that Jenson is a bit flashy/showy, but not the real racing deal. A bit like we might call a bloke a peacock in English when they have more style than substance. He doesn’t say JB is a rubbish driver, just that his showiness is greater than his pure driving skills – which is probably very fair.

    Can see why Flav would want JB as a good number 2 driver. A good team back-up but not natural WDC material.

    Think his comments have been (inadvertently) misconstrued as an abusive attack, when they were really more just observational about how the Brawn drivers really stack up in terms of their driving skills.

  24. Leg-End says:

    If this was football Flavio’s comments would be called bringing the sport into disrepute, in F1 they call it politics.

    Excellent riposte by Jense.

  25. Ninad says:

    Flavio is a sore loser. As for is drivers:
    ALONSO- knows to fight with teammate off track and was beaten by ROOKIE Hamilton.
    Remember 2006 when Michael was taking points of Alonso. Our BABY Alonso was crying Ferrari and MS cheating….. He also said Renault, Flavio and Fisichella aew not supporing him.
    PIQUET JR.- knows to spin his way during the race. HOPELESS DRIVER
    If there are any disgraces to f1 it is Alonso and Piquet Jr………….

  26. VonSpeeX says:

    Some facts:

    1.evryone loves james’s blogs
    2.the Brawn outfit is Big in the Game!
    3.Flavio loves moaning
    4.Jensons quick
    5.evryone cant wait for the gp sunday
    and 6.I cant wait for the new F1 game to come out!!

    Does anyone have any intel on 6.?what the releaase date is for the new game (or ruffly)i heard may but dont believe it…James u must know something with your connections!

  27. SeRa says:

    I don´t think it is a good answer and polite one.

    Flav says that he is a slow driver and he will win the wdc.

    and Jenson answer is that flav prefers me than Nelson.

    For me is just a dig on Nelson and it´s not fair.

  28. Lee Gilbert says:

    Was I in a coma?

    When did Jenson get approached for the Renault seat?

    It seems JB goes to a little effort here to put it into the public domain, mentioning it twice in consecutive answers

  29. Mooks says:

    Nice response from JB! Shame about Flav. I can’t help but wonder if this frustration runs a bit deeper. ING are leaving Renault at the end if the season, the car isn’t as good as they thought it is, and Alonso will probably do the rounds again and has a number two who Flav wants to use as his human stress ball.

  30. Mon Pen says:

    Flav’s antics are hilarious but sad beyond belief. He has a WDC driving for him and all we hear is crying. Ditch the thong and the paid girlies Flavio (let’s face it it isn’t your looks or your personality they’re after?) and concentrate on the racing.

  31. JohnBt says:

    Flavio should just shut up. Alonso did comment that sometimes he dosen’t know whether Flav is telling the truth or not. Anyway Flav is a fashion man, not a tech guy for sure. So don’t take him seriously Jenson.

  32. Grabyrdy says:

    Fascinating stuff, but even weirder relating to JB – I would have thought he was the opposite of flashy-showy, just smooth and quick, a bit like later Prost – quicker than he looked.

    Maybe Flav thinks he can wind JB and RB up and de-concentrate (is that a word ?) them. I’d be surprised if that works.

  33. Jenson, flashy? In which universe?

    Hamilton, flashy. You bet. Arrogant too (monkeys at the back etc).

    Nice idea, Finn, but it doesn’t wash. Not saying you’re wrong. But if thats Flabbio’s interpretation, he hasn’t a clue (nothing new there).

  34. Lee Gilbert says:

    I’ve heard that it has been delayed until next season!

  35. You missed

    7. Piquet Jr is too slow to be in F1.

  36. Well, a reasonable guess would be when Honda announced they were pulling out various people thought Jenson would be free to jump ship and that he would jump ship.

    I seem to remeember reading somewhere (can’t remember where) that it was reported that he was given leave to move somewhere else (despite his contract) once Honda had announced they were leaving.

    Ross obviously knew what he had and talked him out of it. Good choice.

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