You could almost see Jenson Button wincing. In his world, if the rear of a car – or the front, for that matter – kicked like that, something had gone seriously wrong.
Now, according to one of the 2009 Formula 1 Champion’s fellow Extreme E racers, that’s just Saturday.
The JBXE team suffered more than its fair share of electrical and technical problems at the Saudi Arabian series opener last weekend, but Button was frank in his appraisal of his own performance: he needs to be braver.
“These guys have immense skill and in a rally car I’m sure they would kick my butt, but here it’s just about having confidence or just understanding that it’s not going to flip,” he told DirtFish.
“I’ve got the rear kicking and it feels like enough, but they’re still gaining like three seconds.
“In off-road they just think: ‘I’m going to crash at some point… but today I didn’t – which is great!’. There’s a lot of skill involved, but they’re very brave and I don’t have that bravery yet.”
While the off-road world is new to Button as a competitor, he grew up around rallycross as his father John competed at a high level and twice finished runner-up in the British championship.
“I’ve always respected off-road drivers, rallycross drivers and rally drivers – but when you see what kind of time they can put into you on a stage, like 18s on one lap, it’s amazing,” Button continued.
“But I can also see where the time is. It’s not like I’m saying I don’t understand how I’m so much slower. You can see it, some of the gaps are so big. You’ve got a world champion that’s quickest by six seconds and another one that’s 12s behind, it’s not just me that’s finding it tricky.
“If you do get a bit off-line, don’t get stressed about it, just do the best job you can with where you are on track. You know Timmy [Hansen] a World Rallycross Champion was eight seconds up on me and he’s used to the dirt.
“It just takes a little time to adapt.”