Jenson Button admits he found the experience of watching the Bahrain GP a useful one, despite his obvious frustration at not taking part himself.
Button watched in the McLaren hospitality building, where he had access to Sky F1’s commentary and the official timing screens. He also entertained fans by Tweeting his thoughts during the race.
“They [the cars] are quite quiet aren’t they?,” he said when asked by this writer what he’d learned. “I had to listen to the commentators all the time – it didn’t drown it out! It was good to see the sparks, that made it for me.
“The thing that amazes me when you watch a race like that is how much you [TV commentators and the media] miss of what is going on. Obviously you’re fully in it and you’re looking at the leaders, but there is a lot going on that doesn’t get picked up. It’s very difficult to pick up on everything, but when I’ve got the timing screens I can see what’s going on. You could see Kimi was possibly going to win the race from where he was, and he went one lap long in the pit stop, and if he hadn’t he probably would have challenged for the win.
“There are so many things to pick up on. You can really see how certain drivers are doing certain things, which is actually really useful for me in the future, because you see what those certain drivers are going to be doing in the future as well – we do the same thing every race. So it was actually a pretty useful day out for me, probably more useful than driving the car that day! Hopefully I’ve learned a lot for this race.”
Jenson made some interesting observations about the show.
“I think one of the reasons F1 is so big compared to say endurance racing is because it’s normally easy to watch. You’re sat on your sofa, maybe you had a big night out the night before, or someone’s cooked a roast dinner, and you say ‘Stick F1 on’. It has been in the past reasonably easy to understand, the racing is the racing, but when you start complicating it with other things it can get a little bit too much for people.
“So yeah I think it’s important to keep the sport simple. I’m not saying the public need the sport to be simple, but I think it’s just easier for people to watch the sport when it’s more simple, when you see the excitement of fighting and all of that. Conserving fuel, conserving tyres, it just takes away a little bit I personally feel.”
Asked how things might be improved he said: “I don’t know, that’s not my job, I’m the driver. I do the bit in the car!”