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Formula One: Button ready to be 'real driver', or be in the '80s

By Zaki JufriEvents - 19 September 2014 7:50 AM | Updated 11:59 AM

Formula One: Button ready to be 'real driver', or be in the '80s

If Formula One driver Jenson Button can race in a Formula One grand prix but not in the present, he would choose one in the late 1980s.

“The best years of F1 were definitely the late '80s where they had turbo-charged engines,” the 34-year-old McLaren F1 driver said.

Team-mate Kevin Magnussen agreed: “The cars were cooler back then. It was definitely a special era for F1 with drivers like Senna and Prost.”

Unlike the tense rivalry between some of their fellow drivers, both Button and Magnussen seemed to have a healthy and friendly relationship despite fighting for points.

The pair were all smiles and joked during a closed-door event to launch the partnership between Johnnie Walker and Uber, a premium taxi service.

From now until 21 September, the whisky brand will partner Uber to give away 10,000km of free rides home to partygoers, including rides in a McLaren 650S after a night out and the ultimate ride with Magnussen.

“It’s a great cause as it makes the streets a safer place,” Button said.

FIRST TIME UNDER LIGHTS

The Singapore Grand Prix will be the first time that 21-year-old Magnussen is racing at night.

“I’ve watched the race on television over the years and Singapore’s is definitely a special race in F1. It’s a proper night race. I have raced in the dark before but unlike in Singapore,” the Danish driver said.

“This is also probably going to be one of the physically toughest races of the year – it’ll last for nearly two hours, and there aren’t too many opportunities around the lap to relax,” he added.

As for his team-mate Jenson Button, the Briton is happy to be back in the city.

“It’s one of the most exciting races in the calendar that I think the whole of Formula One look forward to – it’s a night race and that's pretty awesome,” Button said. “It’s a real tough circuit for us because of the humidity and it’s a non-stop and very physical.”

Despite being fifth in the Formula One constructor's championships and 344 points behind Mercedes, Button and Magnussen are positive about this weekend.

"In terms of results, this year has not been exciting. We're a team used to fighting for victories and it has not happened over the last two year," Button said.

"I think we're in a position where we'e close to the podium that will allow us to capiralise on a mistake, and hopefully finish in the top three," he added.

RULE CHANGE

The biggest concern this weekend is certainly the sudden decision by F1's governing FIA to ban all car-to-pit messages related to team performance centres, around drivers’ preparation for the start of races.

Whereas previously drivers have been given specific instructions on the formation lap for what settings to apply for their launches from the grid, from Sunday onwards, race pitwalls are prohibited from relaying information.

This means that drivers will now have a lot more responsibility when it comes to looking after their tyres and fuel usage.

“There will definitely be some inconsistencies and confusion at the start, but it will certainly test a driver’s skill as we are really driving the cars now,” Button said.

DRIVERS KEEP ON LEARNING

This new rule underlines Button’s declaration why the Formula One is “a great sport” as it ensures the athlete’s longevity as long as he is willing to learn.

“(F1) doesn’t stand still. It’s not like football or tennis. It is always changing – with the regulations, the way the car handles, the technology… so there’s always more to learn,” he said.

“You’ve to realise that you are never the best as there is always more to come. There are always areas where you can do better. That’s why I think a driver’s career spans many years. If you’re always learning, you’re always on your toes.”

2014 Formula 1 Singapore Airlines Singapore Grand Prix | Date: 19-21 September 2014 | Venue: Marina Bay Street Circuit | Tickets: from S$68 at www.singaporegp.sg/tickets/listings

F1 2014: Formula 1 Singapore Airlines Singapore Grand Prix

F1 2014: Formula 1 Singapore Airlines Singapore Grand Prix

Date Sep 19, 2014 - Sep 21, 2014

VenueMarina Bay Street Circuit

Ticket PriceS$68.00 - S$1,288.00
 (excludes booking fee)