Jenson Button reflects on mental resilience & collaboration

I bet you never thought parallels could be drawn between F1 and success with technology. Jenson Button has achieved massive amounts of triumph, both on the racing track and as an entrepreneur.

At DTX Europe, Jenson recently shared the lessons he’s learnt on how small improvements can lead to mighty gains, the importance of mental resilience; and how racing to the finish line isn’t always the best option in achieving sustained outcomes within business.

Stay tuned to find out what lessons you can learn from elite racing, and how teamwork is vital.

Mental resilience

When you’re performing your best, you feel the pressure which can affect performance. This is a feeling that Jenson is all too familiar with as he recalled how he felt during the Brazilian Grand Prix in 2009.

He had already won an astonishing six out of seven races butting the Brawn GP team on track to win the Formula One Championship. Then Jenson was struck with pressure which left him feeling alone, and struggling with the mental aspect of things.

“In the penultimate race we qualified 14th and I felt as though I’d messed everything up. I was distraught,” he said.

Luckily, Jenson received reassurance from his dad, John Button, and team manager Ross Brawn which set him back on track. He then secured fifth place, enough to lead the team to victory.

Jenson acknowledged that he owes much of his success to receiving the right leadership: “I was always comfortable in Ross’s presence; I knew I could talk to him openly about stuff. He was also open to you having an imagination to trying something new without fear of failure.”

“There’s a tendency in the sport, a fear of trying something new a fear that, if you fail then you’re out. We should be open to imagination in sport – at the pinnacle of F1 you must throw out ideas.”

Jenson reflected that a huge weakness is being incapable of moving on from things: “I’d make a mistake or a wrong strategy call and that would live with me until the next race. That’s what happened in 2009 and it’s about learning to discuss these things with the right people.”


The above experience was a turning point for the former F1 champion. He stopped viewing the sport as just the driver, and connected with different departments, developing friendships.  

They key is breaking down the silos. Essentially, this is what Jenson did to improve his performance and mental resilience.

“To start with I thought it was just me. I’m the guy in the car – but it was much better when realised that I was part of a bigger team.”

“There could be 1,500 people working for Formula One to build just two cars. And you need to be working as one team,” he said.

Jenson called his time on the circuit a ‘collaboration’. He declared that teams win races rather than drivers, and that great group cohesion can break down silos in communication to guarantee great results. 

“Making sure everyone knows their worth and works in harmony is key.

“Once the race starts and your helmet is on, adrenaline kicks in and you seamlessly forget about the dangers. 

“People management is essential. To be able to coordinate and collaborate can drive results,” exclaimed Jenson.