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Button's warning to F1's teenagers

Thursday 24th October 2013



Button's warning to F1's teenagers

Button's warning to F1's teenagers

Jenson Button has warned that entering Formula One too early can "kill a career" for a young driver.

Just days after Toro Rosso announced that 19-year-old Russian driver Daniil Kvyat would replace Daniel Ricciardo next season, Button has spoken of his own start in Formula One.

The McLaren driver was a mere 20-year-old when he entered Formula One with Williams and looking back admits that if he could have waited a year or two he would have.

"For me when I arrived in 2000, I was nowhere near ready for Formula 1. I had to take the opportunity - I had to - because you never know if it'll come again," Button said.

"So you're in a very difficult position when you're that young because you're told you have to take it - and you have to.

"But if I had the option to race for two more years and know I would get into a Formula 1 car after that, I would have taken that option."

And although the Brit went onto win the 2009 Drivers' Championship title with Brawn GP, he says he almost was not around long enough to do so.

"It almost destroyed my career to go so early into Formula 1. As soon as I had a car that wasn't competitive, I found it very difficult to set it up.

"For the young kids that are coming in, it's tough because we have such a big regulation change in 2014: you've got to really understand the KERS system and the power torque of the engine is very different.

"You've got to do so much work out of the car before you get in; it's not like every other formula. Every other formula doesn't have drive-by-wire and all of that, so it's a very different way of racing.

"You've got several hundred people that depend on you and listen to you and your comments about the car to develop it.

"In a small F3 team, you've got eight guys or ten guys that might tweak it here and there, but it's very, very different."

Kvyat, though, won't be the only teenager entering F1 next season as Sauber are set to race 18-year-old Sergio Sirokin.

"The best thing for a young driver, I personally feel, is to have a good career in lower formulae and spend time at a Formula 1 team, experiencing what a driver will go through on a race weekend - because he's going to get a massive shock when he goes to Melbourne," Button added.

"He might be great and none of us will be talking about this again. And hopefully he will, for his sake.

"But it can also kill a career."

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