Motorsport is a ladder and the first step is karting. F1 drivers tend to look back on their karting years with an appreciation for the simplified format that creates exciting wheel-to-wheel racing.
Mobil 1 caught up with Button, Alonso, Vandoorne, Coulthard and Hakkinen to reignite their love of karting. Here, they give insight into the transferable race-craft that they all developed through karting.
Jenson Button had a particularly successful karting career in the UK. In 1989, aged nine, he came first in the British Super Prix. He won all 34 races of the 1991 British Cadet Kart Championship and claimed the title with team Wright Karts. More success followed, including three triumphs in the British Open Kart Championship. In 1997, he won the Senna Memorial Cup and also became the youngest driver ever to win the European Super A Championship.
Here he looks on as a rosy cheeked youngster as dad John Button talks about the prospects of his son racing in F1:
Another Jenson is currently putting in some eye-catching performances in the Super One Series. Jenson Butterfield is a young British driver who recently became the 2016 Mini Max Champion with a round to spare.
If you haven't yet, watch the penultimate round of super one where I win the championship with a round spare 1️⃣☝🏻 https://t.co/ubCW7fXJU9
— Jenson Butterfield (@jbutterfield67) October 4, 2016
Karting is currently healthy in the UK and provides young drivers with an opportunity to push themselves and attract sponsors. Solid results then transfer to climbing the Motorsport ladder, but as the McLaren gang point out, it is karting in which their driving styles take foundation and remain relevant later on in their careers.
British Drivers called Jenson B are booming and if the British Karting scene can continue to provide quality drivers then there will always be British talent in the top flights of Motorsport.
F1 legend Ayrton Senna famously said,
“I started racing go-karts – and I love karts. It’s the most breathtaking sport in the world. More than F1, indeed, I used to like it most.”
– Ayrton Senna