Jenson Button Recalls His ‘Burden’ F1 Years at Benetton Amidst Presence of Flavio Briatore

Published 10/04/2021, 5:05 AM EDT
SPIELBERG, AUSTRIA – Jenson Button of Great Britain and McLaren Honda in the garage during practice for the Formula One Grand Prix of Austria at Red Bull Ring in Spielberg, Austria. (Photo by Dan Istitene/Getty Images)


Jenson Button is one of the fewest Formula 1 drivers to claim a world championship title. Sounds sweet, doesn’t it? Well, his future in the sport wasn’t as optimistic when he joined Benetton-Renault as a rookie in 2001.

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The Briton’s career was on the verge of breaking apart when he found himself in the team, which was then led by Flavio Briatore. The Italian threw multiple criticisms at Button and even once described Button as a ‘lazy playboy’.

And ultimately, Briatore fired Button and replaced him with Fernando Alonso, one of Briatore’s biggest finds in F1 history. Looking back at the shaky start to the Formula 1 career, Button revealed that he was not having a great time working under Briatore’s governance.

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What did the Former Benetton driver say?

As reported by Motorsport-Total, Button opened up that he had lost his image in F1 because of his former boss, Briatore.

With Flavio, you couldn’t just sit down and talk,” he said. “I would have needed other people on the team to support me, but unfortunately that didn’t happen.

NORTHAMPTON, ENGLAND: Santander Ambassador Jenson Button is pictured during the 20th Anniversary of the Formula Student competition at Silverstone Circuit in Northampton, England. (Photo by Patrik Lundin/Getty Images for Santander)

The team had won a lot in the past with Michael Schumacher, and they thought they were the best. And the little boy is just a playboy anyway because Flavio says that himself.

Button further acknowledged that his time at Benetton was nothing but a burden. Thankfully, he found a seat at BAR and was able to get up to speed in no time.

Jenson Button recalls an incident at Benetton

The 1-time world champion looked back at an incident where he had lost his respect for the then-team principal. Button spoke about how Briatore never cared about his drivers’ well-being, reckoning that it was evident following the Monaco GP when his hands were bleeding.

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Back then, P7 meant no points. Today seventh in Formula 1 is great. And Formula 1 cars without power steering are extremely clumsy. I had a few blisters on my hands after the Grand Prix,” he said. Then arrived the Italian at the scene.

Jenson Button of Great Britain and McLaren prepares to take his place for a team photograph during previews ahead of the Abu Dhabi Formula One Grand Prix at Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)

He came in and said, ‘Oh, I thought you checked your apartment!’ And my hands were bleeding! It hurt when your own boss, who was supposed to take care of you, said something like that to the press.

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Overall, Button may have had a strangling couple of seasons at Benetton, but his move to BAR was when the world recognized the Briton as a true talent; he was able to challenge Jacques Villeneuve. But, it was in 2009 where Button pulled off an impeccable season to secure his first and only world championship title.

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Rohit Kumar

1301 articles

Rohit Kumar is an F1 author at EssentiallySports. He has been an ardent follower of the racing series since 2007, with his love for the sport coinciding with his love for Kimi Raikkonen. He is also an ardent follower of Sebastian Vettel and Aston Martin Racing.

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