Jenson Button on mental health in motorsport: ‘You put so much pressure on yourself to achieve’
Some of Jenson Button’s friends listen to Rage Against the Machine before a race. But for the British racing driver, that would be the worst thing he could do.
“I listen to reggae instead, a bit of Bob Marley. I would rather be relaxed because the adrenaline can be so high. If I listen to something crazy like that, it’s like having too much caffeine,” says Button.
The 43-year-old – whose dad used to race in rallycross and bought him his first kart just before his eighth birthday – has spent time honing his routine. Normally, he has the same thing every day for breakfast, then it’s a 20-minute run, just to “shake the body out”, some reaction work with his physiotherapist and then a massage.
“I know, racing drivers are spoilt,” Button admits coyly. “We get massaged in the morning, before practice, after practice, before qualifying, after qualifying, before the race and then after the race.
“You get aches and pains because the body is always moving in the car, even though you’re strapped into this seat that [has been] fitted to you. There’s such high g-force that the neck gets so tired. There are vibrations. That’s why we get massaged a lot.”
Button feels the real heat of competition when he drives to the holding paddock, where all the other racing cars and drivers are held. But once his noisy machine arrives at the circuit lining, up on the grid, and the lights go red and then out, his nerves have no choice but to subside. There is silence, passion and dedication all pointing in one direction to go faster and faster.
There are moments in his career that have tested his limits – like when Button won the 2009 Formula One World Championship and drove for the Brawn GP team, which the new Disney+ documentary series Brawn: The