Jenson Button relieved ‘nerve-wracking’ rollout day went smoothly for Williams

Sam Cooper
Williams' Alex Albon with Jenson Button. Silverstone, February 2023.

Williams' Alex Albon with Jenson Button. Silverstone, February 2023.

Williams senior advisor Jenson Button has expressed his relief at seeing the team’s FW45 come through rollout day unscathed.

The team’s 2023 challenger took to the Silverstone track for its first miles ahead of the pre-season testing stint in Bahrain with both Alex Albon and Logan Sargeant stepping into the car.

For Albon, it was a familiar feeling while Sargeant had his own F1 car for the first time, but an experienced veteran was on-hand to guide the rookie through the day.

In his role as senior advisor, 2009 World Champion Button was trackside at Silverstone and said it was a relief to have a day which was always a “little nerve-wracking” done and dusted.

“Rollout is certainly an exciting day, but it’s also a little nerve-wracking,” Button said.

“The team have been developing this car for quite some time now and everything has been focused on ensuring it all comes together for this day.

“You always look at the weather report before you come to Silverstone, and you see a forecast of 12C and you think it will be alright, then you arrive and it feels like it’s -12!

“It’s one of those special things about Silverstone, but it’s why we love it. Obviously, it’s much cooler here than at pretty much every other venue that we go to.

“Bahrain is a completely different climate and with pre-season testing taking place during the day there, it will be super hot.

“It’s a huge difference from the environment we ran 17 laps in at rollout, but the team know what happens with elevated circuits and ambient temperatures.

“Every year, each team up and down the grid is on a knife edge hoping everything comes together for that first day out on track with a new car.

“We not only did that, but enjoyed a smooth day of running as well.”

Button completed 17 rollout days in his career but was particularly pleased to see Sargeant complete his first without incident.

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“From a driver’s point of view, having experienced 17 of those days during my career, you’d see all the data beforehand, telling you what the car is supposed to be capable of doing, but until you get in it and feel it for the first time, you’re pretty nervous. And excited, of course,” he continued.

“Having a rollout run smoothly is a positive start to our season. Both Alex and Logan returned to the garage with smiles on their faces, which is great.

“For Alex especially, it was brilliant watching him from the pit wall go straight into Turn 1 flat out on his first lap.

“He’s used to these rollouts and he certainly had confidence in what the car was going to do underneath him.

“For Logan, what a day! The first time in his own Formula 1 car, it’s such a cool thing for him to have achieved.

“He knows he’s got a lot of work to do, fighting against the best in the world, but he’s loving the opportunity and it’s great to see talented youngsters like him coming into this sport, going up against the big guns.

“I look forward to seeing the relationship between Alex, Logan and the team really blossom.

“My advice to Logan would be to just keep learning, be a sponge and take all the information in.

“Learn as much as you can from Alex, who is not just a star driver, but also a great team player. Bring on 2023!”