Button’s battle to keep his cool
Published 11/09/2009 | 00:00
Jenson Button insists he isn't, but then of course he would hardly say otherwise now would he? Whereas seasoned observers suggest he is.
Pressure affects us all, in any walk of life, and even at any age.
Do you remember your first spelling test at school for instance, and how you felt approaching it?
There would have been pressure - the pressure you may have placed on yourself to do well, pressure to beat your mates, and pressure from your parents, to make them feel proud.
We experience it at work - to meet a deadline, making sure a file is word perfect, to do your utmost in serving either customers or bosses, maybe even your country.
We experience it at home when it comes to paying the bills on time, raising children, taking good care of our loved ones.
Some days pressure is more tangible than others, depending on the circumstances, but it exists all the same, and in many guises.
Naturally, pressure for a sportsman such as Button will be far different to the normal every day pressures we are accustomed to.
For a start he is now a very well known personality, a man in the public eye, and with that comes expectation, not just from within his Brawn GP team, but from a worldwide legion of fans.
Over the years, and with maturity, Button has learned how to handle his fame; he is a more settled character these days compared to his wild and carefree days when he first started out in Formula One.
Behind the wheel it is a different story this season; yes, he has been under pressure before when there has been a need to perform in order to retain his seat.
But for the first time in his nine-season career in F1 the 29-year-old finds himself standing on the brink of becoming world champion, which in itself brings pressure of a far greater magnitude.
At Spa we saw Toyota and BMW Sauber step out of the shadows, and even the remarkable coming of age of Force India.
Button insisted after the race, in which he failed to score a point for the first time this season due to a first-lap crash as a result of him starting so far back, that he did not want to win the title by finishing fifth, sixth or seventh for the rest of the season.
It is a fate he will have to accept unless Brawn can provide him with an upgrade to suddenly launch him back to the front because the other teams are now far stronger than Brawn.
It means, if he sincerely hasn't felt any burden up until now, he will do so over the final five grands prix because life teaches you when the stakes are high, pressure always comes to bear.