Formula 1 champion and current Extreme E team boss Jenson Button admitted that competing in the new off-road electric racing series has been a huge learning curve for him and his environment as technical partners Lotus Engineering.
Button had to participate as team manager and co-driver, alongside touring car ace Mikaela Åhlin-Kottulinsky, in the first round in Saudi Arabia. However in the second round in Senegal, Kevin Hansen, a rallycross specialist, joined Åhlin-Kottulinsky and, like his Swedish partner, took part in the Extreme E preseason tests.
“I’m a racing driver and I love to race. It is what I feel I’m on this Earth to do – race cars. But for me this was too good an opportunity, to have Kevin in the car and hear his thoughts on the vehicle. It’s weird not being at the race, but when you’re on the outside looking in you see things that you don’t when you’re on the ground,” he told to Car Magazine.
He also stated that it is strange for him to have a role as a team manager as he considers himself an engineer / spy. The British move paid off as his team JBXE took third place at the Ocean X-Prix in Senegal.
On the other hand, Button highlighted Kevin Hansen’s work for JBXE and hopes that the Swede will return for the race in Greenland.
Referencing the Formula 1 and Extreme E comparisons, Button finds the SUV series even scarier.
“In an F1 car you kind of know the limits. You stay within the white lines. This thing could throw you through a bush and it might be okay but there might be a giant boulder on the other side. So it’s definitely a bit scarier than F1. “
Sensations on the podium in Senegal
The British rider assures that his team as a whole had a great race in the Ocean X-Prix after the experience gained in Saudi Arabia. Despite scoring and the results, Button believes they had a chance to win in Senegal.
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“Mikaela was actually leading when the suspension failed – so, it was a real shame, but great points and we’re running third in the championship now. Mikaela has improved so much from the first day that she jumped in the car. She was quick from the word go, and she’s like a sponge – she picks up every bit of information possible,” he said, highlighting the skill of her female pilot, Mikaela Åhlin-Kottulinsky.
The competition will return to action on August 28-29 in Greenland for the Artic X-Prix. Extreme E heads to the Arctic and Russell Glacier near Kangerlussuaq, raising awareness of the speed at which the ice is melting at the poles by running on land once occupied by the mighty glacier.
Written by | Osward Rubio