SLMan Meets… **Jenson Button**
SLMan Meets… **Jenson Button**

SLMan Meets… Jenson Button


Jenson Button is still putting pedal to metal. As well as working with Hackett on a classic new menswear collection, Britain’s 2009 F1 world champ has moved to LA and is currently competing in the Nascar Cup Series. He spoke to SLMan about staying competitive, life in California and fatherhood…

So how’s the racing going, Jenson? 

Nascar is so different to F1 and the other competitions I’ve raced in, but I’m loving it. It’s a fun world to be part of – I get to race with and against some legends of the sport, like Kevin Harvick and Brad Keselowski. 

What drew you to Nascar? 

It’s an all-American sport with a very different vibe from the British events, so that appealed as a new challenge. I’ve known a few of the drivers for a long time and it’s always been on my bucket list, especially since moving to the US where it’s a massive deal. I guess not many Brits understand it as a sport, but I can honestly say I’ve been welcomed in with open arms – until I’m on the track, of course. Then it’s every man for themselves.

How is it different to F1?

It’s very different – you have to be more aggressive on the track, so it’s definitely not for the faint hearted! The last circuit in Texas was fierce. It was incredibly hot and I felt really sick during the race, so I was pleased to come out with a respectable finish considering I had a tough starting position after qualifying. 

Sounds like it’d require a lot of training – what does your regime look like these days?

I don’t have to worry about weight in the same way I did with F1, so I can do a lot more strength training without the fear of building too much muscle. These days, I focus on weights and boxing to stay in shape and maintain stamina. Plus, running around after two kids also helps burn the calories.  

What’s the ultimate goal?

I’m only doing three of the races this year, but I still put a huge amount of pressure on myself and I doubt that will ever change. It’s hard to hit the track without feeling that surge of competitiveness. That said, I’m aware that I’m now competing against people who are training full time – they’re always going to have a huge advantage, so things are different for me in that sense. At least my F1 career got me used to a gruelling travelling schedule.

How do you look back on those F1 days? 

I’m proud of what I’ve achieved and the races where I exceeded expectations, but my best memories involve my friends and family. Whether they were there to celebrate the good or help me forget about the bad, I couldn’t have done it without them. I feel incredibly lucky to still have that support network around me – the highs and lows feel that much better with them. But everything feels different now I’m a father. It would have been really difficult to compete back then with a family because of the constant travel. With F1, I wanted and needed to be totally selfish in order to give it everything. These days, I hover just above the dogs in terms of hierarchy!

You moved to LA a few years ago – how’s it going?

I love it. I originally moved there because my wife is Californian. I’ve made some fantastic friends and I really enjoy the laid-back lifestyle. Plus, there’s so much within easy reach which makes it hard to imagine living elsewhere right now. However, I do prefer British style. I’ve kept the same style here as I would in the UK, just without the need for so many jumpers in the winter. I love heading back to the UK to see friends when I can and wearing some of those winter pieces I miss out on in the States – and going to the pub for a Sunday roast. You can’t beat that.

So working with Hackett was a natural fit? 

Definitely. I’ve always liked the brand for its classic aesthetic and British heritage. These days, my style definitely fits into the relaxed and comfy box. I’m constantly on the move, whether that involves working or taking the kids on the school run, so I like to look put together but also relaxed. We’ve created a safari-inspired range and I can imagine wearing a lot of the pieces during my travels, dressing them up or down. The linen pieces are particularly wearable, and feel smart and timeless. I was lucky enough to take home a few from the shoot including the Safari Velo jacket which is light, comfortable and perfect for warm summer evenings. My other favourite is the Saharan jacket which has a vintage safari feel.

Last big one, Jenson – what are you going to do next?

I’ve got a few frantic months coming up, including racing and my commitments with brands like Hackett. I’ve recently launched Coachbuilt whisky with George Koutsakis which is really exciting. Other than that, I’m looking forward to getting stuck into presenting with Sky at the various F1 races and Goodwood Festival of Speed

And just a few quickfire questions to finish…

Favourite car in your collection? 

Hands down it has to be my Jaguar C Type. It’s a world-class classic I’ll always want to drive. 

If you could only race one car again, which would you choose? 

Either the Williams from my F1 debut or the Brawn from 2009. Both powerful, they are the cars I feel most confident in. 

Favourite place for a city break?

Now I live in the States, it will always be London. I love Notting Hill and exploring Soho – though I wouldn’t want to live there…

Best restaurant in the city?

I recently had a brilliant night with some friends at Amazonico. I also had a preview dinner at The Midland in King’s Cross which was exceptional. 

Where do you go for drinks?

I’m an old-school pub man who likes a proper pint of pale ale. Later in the evening I might head to the Beaufort Bar at the Savoy for a whisky on the rocks. I’m also partial to a mezcal and soda.

Where do you get your hair cut? 

I’m not precious, so I’m happy to go to the nearest place wherever I am in the world. We sometimes get a hairdresser on photoshoots, so I might ask them for a trim to save me the trip!

Favourite piece in your wardrobe? 

The Safari Velo jacket from Hackett or the suit they made me for my wedding. 

How do you switch off?

I’ll watch a film on a flight or relax at home with my wife once the kids are asleep.

Follow @JensonButton & shop the collection at 

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