Tuesday May 8th, 2001
Benetton driver Jenson Button is ready to give up on his luxury life in order to become Formula One World Champion, the young Brit said in an interview.
Button, in his second season in Grand Prix racing, is enduring a very tough year with the Renault-owned team following his departure from Williams at the end of 2000 to make room for Colombian sensation Juan Pablo Montoya. After the first five rounds of the championship, Button has not scored a single point and has struggled at the back of the grid.
Many observers, including three-time world champion Jackie Stewart, believe Button should concentrate more on his driving than on his private life in order to move up the grid. But the 21-year old admits he is ready to give it all up to start winning races.
"I would give up my apartment, my cars, all that material stuff if I could be world champion, even just compete in races," Button told News of the World. "That is much more important to me. I'm not winning at the moment and that is what I want to do."
Button impressed last season with Williams, finishing in eighth position in the standings after becoming the youngest point-scorer ever in Formula One. However, he was forced to leave the Grove-based outfit to join Benetton, where he says his work is being harder than he had expected.
"We new it would be tough because Renault are preparing for next year," he said. "But none of us thought it would be this tough. It's difficult when I have a bad weekend. I am pretty tough on everyone when I get home – the old man and my girlfriend, Louise.
"I keep thinking about what happened and why it happened. I keep thinking: 'It can only get better'. I don’t get the buzz in the car at the moment — and it's not great when I see my lap times. It is tough for everybody, especially the mechanics — they work night and day on the car.
"I am driving harder than ever I have ever done, but no one sees it because I'm at the wrong end of the field. It is very tough seeing Williams doing so well, but I am really happy for them. They’ve had it tough for a few years and deserve the results now."