Being competitive in Formula 1 is a “small part of the job” and “not enough anymore” according to McLaren driver Jensen Button.
At a Q&A session in Cannes today the former World Champion said being a good brand ambassador and working with partners and sponsors is now a crucial part of the job, before joking about his logo-emblazoned overalls “I don’t always wear these you know”.
In answer to a question about his relationship with advertising since winning the World Championship, Button said it had gotten “a lot busier”, and shad to appear at six sponsor days to woo potential suitors.
He added: “If you look at McLaren there are a lot of sponsors on the car, it’s covered. As a driver it’s not just about driving the car, that’s a very small part of the job.
“You have to realise there are other parts to the job, working with partners and sponsors. None of them is just a name on the car, they are partners, helping us to improve the car.
“It’s a very important part of the job, it’s about being fast and competitive, but also understanding it’s not enough any more.”
Appearing with Button was team principal and racing veteran Ron Dennis, who said sometimes winning a race by a long way wasn’t the best way to get maximum exposure for sponsors on TV.
“We’re looking at exposing the brands and providing another place for companies to put their logos or brands,” he said.
“So actually, when you’re looking at another measurement of share, you need it to be as competitive as possible. Strangely if a car is so dominant and so far ahead it loses interest from the TV cameras who might concentrate on the battle for second place, so winning can occasionally backfire.”