Button plans more Williams time in F1 as COVID restrictions relax
The 2009 world champion, who made his F1 debut with Williams in 2000, took on the role of senior advisor to the Grove-based team last year as the team continues its recovery under the new owners. Dorilton Capital.
However, with F1 staff put in bubbles because of COVID protocols, Button found himself unable to mingle with the team as much as expected.
His situation has been made a bit more complicated as he is also a member of the Sky F1 broadcast team, which operates under his own separate bubble.
Hopefully COVID restrictions can ease this year and Button is crossing his fingers that he can step up his role at Williams, following his eighth place in the 2021 Constructors’ Championship.
âI spent a bit of time at the factory and obviously on the races where I’m there as well,â Button explained.
âIt’s just a sounding board for some people on the team. I spent a lot of time with Dave Robson, the chief engineer there, and [team boss] Jost Capito, as well as the marketing team.
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âBut I haven’t spent that much time with the drivers this year just because I couldn’t get into the engineering room, so I couldn’t get into the garage, because of the bubbles.
âIt hasn’t been the easiest year, really. I just got cleared into the kind of food court, the team’s home area, and that’s where I can actually get it. spending time with the engineers and Jost.
Button’s TV engagements limited his involvement with Williams
Photo By: Zak Mauger / Motorsport Images
âI think it’s been good, but it’s definitely limited, really, this year, which is a shame for both teams. But I will be doing a lot more with them in the New Year.
Button believes Williams is putting in place the right kind of infrastructure and people he needs to be successful.
“It’s a great team,” he added. âThey have a good team of people. And I’ll be spending a lot more time with them, with the pilots, with the Young Driver Program. So they have some good young drivers on the roster now.
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âI’ll also be spending some time in the simulation room with the guys. I don’t drive, I would like to! But to see how they run their race, if you will, and how they work with the team.
âThis is really where my strength was in the race, it was teamwork. And I certainly bring a lot of experience in this area.
George Russell, who completed his third year with Williams in 2021 and moved to Mercedes, said Button’s experience was a good asset for the team.
âI was very lucky, even before Jenson joined Williams again, to have a good relationship with him, and he was very open and always there when needed,â said Russell.
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âEver since the COVID rules opened he’s always been in the garage, in the front desk, talking with the guys, the engineers, with myself, with Jost, and I think that’s really great, just to give him ideas and give his feedback and input and his own experiences.
“Obviously he’s got a lot of experience. It’s always unique to have someone like Jenson on your team.”