Driving ambition

Jenson Button may be a Formula One world champion, but a lack of engineering skills nearly ended his career in its infancy.
The racing driver admits he faced a steep learning curve as his technical knowledge left a lot to be desired during his early days on the circuit.
“Real life engineering is tough,” said Button, who won the world championship in 2009.
He said when he entered Formula One a lack of engineering knowledge “really hurt me in racing”.
“I really struggled because you needed to really work with the car, develop the car, and I was not very good at that at all, whereas my teammate was,” he told competitors at this year’s Formula Student competition, held this weekend at the Silverstone racing track in Northamptonshire.
“It almost ended my career being bad at engineering and not having any understanding of a racing car.”
Racing chances
“I knew how to drive a racing car quickly, but if I couldn’t adjust that racing car to put it into a competitive state before I drove it, it doesn’t matter how good you are as a driver,” he said.
Formula Student is an international engineering competition, with over 3,000 students from round the world taking part, with teams trying to create a prototype for a single-seat racing car.
It’s an attempt to address a global shortage of recruits into engineering – and Button says that it’s also an opportunity for young people to get into the racing industry, whether as engineers or drivers.
Button, who holds an honorary degree in engineering from the University of Bath, joined the Formula One circuit in 2000, and says that while his first year in motor sport’s top class should have been “a big learning curve” it was not, because “everything just came too easily”.
“You just think your talent is enough as a racing driver, but it never is.”
Priced out of driving
He praises former teammate Rubens Barrichello, saying the Brazilian driver’s “engineering skills were beyond any other racing driver that I’ve worked with”.

Source: BBC

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