Jenson Button has for the first time spoken in public about the anguish that he feels having lost his father John in January, and how the loss has torn at him yet at the same time shed fresh light on his father’s generosity.
Speaking to the Daily Mail, Button said of his father’s passing, “It’s a stake through my heart. It’s been a pretty strange couple of months…I would say horrific.”
John Button was a popular figure in the paddock where he had been a permanent fixture since his son made his Formula 1 debut at the 2000 Australian Grand Prix.
“In a certain way it has been nice too to hear all the good stories about my father, about how helpful he was to people, including things I didn’t even know about. It’s great seeing how many people he touched,” admitted Button
“Somebody wrote: “Don’t think it will go back to normal, it won’t, but don’t be ashamed of having a joke and a laugh because it is what John would have wanted”.
John was the rock on which Jenson’s racing career was built, and remained so until the final grand prix he attended in Brazil last year. Always in the backgorund, but also always there for his son.
“Like it or not, he was the last person to give me a cuddle and a hug before a race. He always made sure of it,” said Button who called his dad Papa Smurf.
Looking ahead to the Australian Grand Prix, where for the first time since Brazil 2001, his father John will not be present, Button said, “If I make the podium it will be unbelievably emotional and if it is a bad race it will be emotional too because I’ll remember how he would try to lift me in that situation.”
“He would be bright. It was sometimes an odd feeling him trying to look for the positives when things hadn’t gone so well.”
Button travels to Melbourne to take part in his 250th grand prix weekend. (GP247)