Jenson Button has been in a reflective mood ahead of his 250th Formula 1 grand prix this weekend in Bahrain, which is live on NBCSN from 10:30am ET on Sunday.
The British driver made his debut back in 2000 with Williams, and has enjoyed a career full of ups and downs. After being the breakthrough rookie of his first year, he had three mediocre years with Benetton and BAR before finally becoming a regular podium finisher in 2004. He claimed his first win in 2006 for Honda, but the team then entered a sharp decline and pulled out of F1 at the end of 2008, appearing to leave Button’s career in ruins.
Out of Honda’s ashes, Brawn GP emerged and pulled off the greatest fairytale in F1 history to win both championships, with Button becoming the 2009 world champion. Since then, he has raced for McLaren and enjoyed considerable success, but ahead of race number 250, he was in a reflective mood.
“I’ve learned a lot along the way, as you can imagine, racing for 14 years in Formula 1,” Button explained. “The thing that surprises me is how quickly it goes by. Fifty races ago I was in Hungary, celebrating my 200th Grand Prix, which I won by the way! So, it’s amazing how time flies.
“You really do have to enjoy every moment of it as much as you can. For me, being 14 years in the sport, I still feel like I have more to learn. I’m definitely not the perfect driver yet, and I never will be, but there is always still more to learn. That’s something, for me, that’s exciting about the sport.”
For Button, the seismic changes to the technical regulations in 2014 have posed a new challenge that he relishes, even at the ripe old age of 34.
“New regulations obviously are changing the sport quite a lot, especially with these new regulations, and again, you always have more to learn,” he said. “For me that’s what keeps the sport exciting and that’s what has kept me on my toes for the last 14 years and hopefully for many more.”
The British driver will be keen on adding to his tally of 15 wins in Formula 1, and with McLaren enjoying a mini-revival following a disastrous 2013 campaign, this could be a successful year for him.