Jenson Button, McLaren, Manchester, 2011

Button performs for F1 fans in Manchester

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The day after finishing third in the Belgian Grand Prix, Jenson Button took to the streets of Manchester.

A rainy day didn’t stop Button from performing some skids for the fans in a 2008 McLaren MP4-23.

Here are pictures and video from the event. Were you there? Tell us about it in the comments.

Video: Button performs for F1 fans in Manchester

Pictures: Button performs for F1 fans in Manchester

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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46 comments on “Button performs for F1 fans in Manchester”

  1. I was on deansgate, it was brilliant, got to see the car go buy at some speed which i much prefer to watching him do awkward donuts, them cars really are terrible at doing them. (very short video here )

    I think he said on the Q+A he got it up too 120mph.

    Also got to see him run past when he stalled it during the second run, it was a lot like Monaco2009.

    Cant say i did much in the fanzone to be honest, massive queues and impatience worked against me on that front.

    All around it was brilliant, loved it, made even better just because he is my favourite driver and i grew up just outside of Manchester and spent a lot of time there as a kid.

    1. And clearly you spell By as By and not Buy, spelling fail.

    2. Looking at this video it doesn’t look like he stalled it, rather than the car let him down.

      1. We were there-it looked like a set-up so he could do a “Monaco”!

  2. It was the best soggy bank holiday in Manchester ever(and we’ve had a fair few!)

  3. I was at the event yesterday, stood right next to the track by the corner into Albert Square. An F1 car running in the flesh is never less than staggering and here, stood even closer than at the Goodwood hillclimb was as breathtaking as I have ever experienced.

    It was a pity that it rained but to Jenson’s eternal credit it didn’t deter him from flooring it and squirming down the narrow track. It was a sight I’ll never forget.

    That being said, there was a lot of standing around waiting between the MP4-12C demo run and the F1 run, which in the rain felt twice as long. Like most F1 fans I’d have waited all day stood there for that 10 minutes of excitement but I can’t help feeling there could have been more done to entertain the patient and loyal crowd.

    A FOTA-driven multiple team demo run would be a good solution…

    1. Yeah a multiple team demo run would be awesome. The fans were really close to the car it seems.

      1. I believe the Dublin event next June is a multi-team run :)

        1. The one they had in Russia recently was as well.

          1. Good stuff, I was just making the point that a single car run is lacking in times of ‘show time’.

    2. *in TERMS of…

  4. Cool kid’s outfit at that last pic!!! I wish I had something like that when I was a child!

    the boy looks so happy!

  5. His run at Bathurst was one of the most amazing demonstrations I’ve ever seen.

  6. 9 o’clock wake up call a bank holiday, 55000 people stepping on my feet, Manchester’s notoriously relentless rain, mile-long queues at all stores and cash points, and more faux team clothes than anyone should have to tolerate; but damn it, it was worth it!
    not my video, but the best one I could find online from today’s event.

    For one reason or another, despite my love for the sport I’m still a Grand Prix virgin, with the sound of the cars being my number one reason for wanting to attend one. As so, when I heard they will be putting a car on the streets I drive through everyday, it was certain that I wasn’t going to miss the chance to experience an admittedly small but realistic part of what a starting grid may feel like.

    I was prepared for the thunderous sound of a Formula 1 car, but not for it’s odour. Burned rubber, oil, and clutch; shouldn’t be pleasing, but the combination is just magical. It’s the extra dimension that made me feel much closer to the car, something I could never get from television, and will make all subsequent sessions seems so much more dull. Smelling and hearing a Formula 1 car up close managed to return many repressed dreams and desires from my youth.

    It’s not often that i’ll admit gratitude to a multinational company, but many thanks to Vodafone for arranging this.

    1. You simply have to get to a Grand Prix. It’s so much louder, approximately 24 times louder ;)

      I would also like to express my thanks to Vodafone for a wonderful and well organised event.

    2. Mark Hitchcock
      31st August 2011, 22:34

      Smell is the thing I remember from my first motorsport experience as well.
      It was only being a co-pilot in a local trial (so not much more than stock cars) but the smell of burning rubber after the mid-stage restarts will stay with me. That and the sore bum from driving at 50 mph over huge rocks…

  7. we need another multi-team demo run like the 2004 one in london-

    (which i went to btw!)

  8. I was there, we need more events like this for the fans and especially to attract new fans.
    commentator done my head in calling it a MP4/26 which its not. Sorry for being a F1 nerd!

    1. How annoying was that?! Even the show car was labelled as the MP4-26. Don’t know why. I would hazard a guess 90% of the people there wouldn’t know the difference.

    2. Ha, welcome between the F1Fanatics Jarv!

      Really great they do things like this, shame its not about 10 times more!

    3. I was annoyed that he was also calling the car the MP4-C12 instead of the MP4-12C! Grrrrrrrr.

      1. Yep. Also annoying!

  9. steve wheelhouse
    30th August 2011, 20:22

    Waited around 3 hours, cold, tired, wet, ****** off, but it was totally worth it, the f1 car was simply awesome! was stood at the turning circle at albert square which in my opinion was the best place, the car spent probably the most time down there and made the most noise doing the donuts. to be stood 10 feet away from the car revving was incredible, You didn’t just hear the noise, you felt it through your entire body! Well worth the trip!

  10. I went and I really enjoyed it, got to meet a few new faces and an old-ish one!

    I was up at 6:30, partly to feed my mums cats (she’s on holiday) but mainly to get to Manchester in plenty of time. We arrived at the VIP zone and there was plenty to look at but everything was so busy. I claimed my free piece of the MP4-26, a square cm of carbon fibre, then we left to go find a decent spot. There were certainly some very unique vantage points. I was very envious of those in high-up buildings, shelter and the best view in the house.

    The MP4-12c is a fantastic looking vehicle and really looked the part in the chrome/silver finish. Honourable mention goes to the Safety and Medical cars!

    After much waiting Jenson finally made his appearance in the MP4-23 (I think) and it was worth the wait. Brilliantly loud, you could feel the pop from the engine. Some were genuinely shocked just how loud it was, people were half trying to cover their eyes and half take a decent picture/video.

    All in all a brilliant day despite the weather and I would definitely love to meet more of you (and the same guys) in the future.

  11. Always good to see an F1 car outside of its normal context.

    Reminds me of the time Damon Hill demonstrated a Renault F1 car in my office car park to promote the 2006 London Motor Show. I was in a meeting when the car was first fired up and was sure (until I looked) that it was some sort of demolition work…

  12. What a great day! Got to say Thank you to Vodafone, McLaren and Jenson Button for a putting on such a good show.

    Here’s one of my videos. It’s a compilation of Jenson doing donuts in front of us before he stopped.

    I’ve followed F1 for over 20 years but looking around me yesterday I think Jenson, McLaren and F1 won a lot of new fans!

  13. I dragged my partner on a 400 mile trip from Aberdeen and god was it all worth it.

    Arrived in Manchester at 9 got up to the fan zone que’d for karting and it got called of due to rain, then joined the que for the simulator but gave up pretty quickly to get a good view of Jenson, quite a few fans around me were moaning about the time they had to wait but that all changed as soon as the car appeared. Was mind blowing seeing, hearing and smelling a F1 car like that.

    Well done and thank you Jenson, Mclaren, Manchester and Vodaphone

  14. is it just me or does the mclaren in the last but 1 pic look properly short.. as in wheelbase. it looks tiny..?!?!

    1. It’s pre-refueling ban so it is a little shorter, yes.

      1. Yea yea I took that into consideration, but still.. It’s so ‘stumpy’ :s

        1. It’s not you, it’s the aspect ratio of the video that shows the car stumpy and people’s faces long and thin. Needs correction.

  15. I was there too, absolutley awesome. Well worth getting soaked wearing only a fleece for. I put my pics here

    A pal of mine snapped this awesome photo of Jenson in the cockpit the moment he stalled/couldn’t fined a gear. ENG:STOP.

  16. I had an absolutely awesome time. And that is the closest I’ve ever been to an f1 car! The thing that s sticks with me for some reason is the smell of the exhaust fumes! YOur not a petrolhead until you have smelled that smell! Somebody bottle it up and sell me a bottle!

    1. There are some videos I took in my youtube channel.

  17. Had to leave home in North Wales at ten to 6 in the morning to ensure I was at Manchester for before 9am. After a quick wander about I elected to stand at the junction of John Dalton Street where I would be able to see about. It was advertised to start at 11am but there was no action until after 12 when first of all Jenson drove around in a Mercedes estate car to check the track and then did numerous runs in a MP4-12C sportscar which was beautiful and also nice to see they’ve made one with the steering wheel on the correct side of the car for the UK market (on Top Gear Clarkson drove on the wrong side!). Then there was a considerable wait before Jenson drove around in the MP4-23. The commentator, who sounded a lot like Crofty on BBC R5 Live but wasn’t!) kept calling it the MP4-26 which is the current car. After Jenson had completed his runs people started to disperse and I packed my camera away ready to head off to the fan zone where my friend was waiting in order to get some good shots of Jenson on stage but then it was announced he’d be coming out again to do some more F1 car runs. It then lashed it down and after he’d finished the final runs it was impossible to get anywhere near to see the stage as people were standing on benches and kids were sitting on shoulders holding cameras in the air. Fortunately I managed to set my SLR to manual focus and after some trial and error sticking it in the air (only way to see what you are taking is via the viewfinder not the screen) I got some sharp pictures of Jenson on stage. Then as I tried to move to get out of the crowd (which was poorly managed) the view finder fell off my camera. Fortunately I shouted loud enough and someone found it miraculously so if you’re reading this whoever you are, you made me very happy. After the crowd died down I managed to get into the fanzone and joined the queue to get into the F1 car. It was totally a unique experience. I also loved the lanyard with a square piece of carbon fibre from this years McLaren, someone I’ll treasure for ever.
    Thank you Jenson for coming to Manchester and putting on this show for us.
    Some of my pics are here (I’ll keep updating this):

  18. I wonder why McLaren always use old F1 cars for their roadshows. It seems that they often use the MP4/22 and the MP4/23, while they are allowed to use last year’s car (LRGP and RBR do it for instance). I don’t think it’s because they are afraid of some photographs which might reveal something inuse in their current car, because each new McLaren looks like a new car rather than an evolution. And I don’t think that they don’t use the MP4/23 because it’s an ugly car, because that would be a stupid excuse…

    1. Maybe because they won the WDC with the MP4/23..?? It’s the only reason I can think of.

      At least they don’t stick current spec wings on it and try to pretend it’s the current car…unlike some teams!!

  19. It was an absolutely excellent experience and probably one of the luckiest/jammiest days I’ve had in a while! I got there at about half 10 with a mate who I’d dragged along for the day, he wasn’t a massive fan of F1 but had watche

  20. It was an absolutely excellent experience and probably one of the luckiest/jammiest days I’ve had in a while! I got there at about half 10 with a mate who I’d dragged along for the day, he wasn’t a massive fan of F1 but had watched a few races in the past and thought ‘Why not?”.

    We arrived at Albert Square and got our spot right next to the burnout area, one row back from the front of the barrier. Lots of people and in typical Manchester fashion lots of rain too. Fortunately there was some lovely woman next to us who let everyone huddle under her massive umbrella where we ended up getting to know each other. There was this hilarious guy who’d come down all the way from Scotland as well, I wish I’d caught his name now.

    The safety car came round first to check the track which wasn’t too impressive (a Mercedes diesel estate which was absolutely silent). Next up was the 12C for a few runs with Jenson driving, they weren’t messing when they said it had been chromed! After that there was a massive wait for the F1 car to come round, in which the public speaker very quickly lost the will to live and made many humurous gaffes, the most memorable of them being “and here we are, live in London!”. Didn’t go down too well as you can imagine.

    As soon as the F1 car was fired up though, everyone got their cameras out and leaned forward. It was such a good atmosphere as we could hear Jenson driving up Deansgate on the other side of the buildings. When he came round the corner and planted his foot, span the car round and headed away again, the whole place just went mental, it was amazing! He did 2 runs up and down the route, another 3rd run to wow the fans and then the announcer said he was parking up. Not at all, ‘Naughty Jenson’ as described by the announcer, span the car back round and did a 4th run to the surprise of the team. This was particularly good as most people had started to leave and we were right at the front of the barrier, the noise was immense!

    He got out the car and did his victory stand on top of the nose, surely that was it now? Me and my mate got some food at a Subway down the road and once we finished about 15 mins later we stepped back outside he said to me “Can you hear that?”. We both looked at each other and started running back to our spot where we caught Jenson coming back into the burnout area and doing loads of spins right infront of us, the timing couldn’t have been better!

    To top it all off, once he’d parked up for good we made our way back to the train station down Deansgate to head back home. So you can imagine it being a nice surprise to have Jenson (who was being shuttled to the stage for his public Q&A session) drive right past in front of us in the Mercedes estate car, hanging out the window and waving.

    On the way home my mate was asking me question after question about this season, about Jenson and about McLaren and told me he’d definitely be watching the next race live. In fact, if the weather stays nice then we’ve said that we’re going to get the beers in and make a barbeque of it. Which got me thinking about the other thousands of people who turned up and had never been to a race or seen an F1 car before. Hats off to everyone involved who made the event possible (and made it free to the public) because you’ve probably just got a whole load of new people interested in F1 and that surely can’t be a bad thing eh?

  21. You know I reckon they could put a pretty cool demo track together around the streets of Bath…and it’s not far from where Jenson grew up…

    …okay, who’s with me??

  22. He had little space, he couldn’t do one entire donut!

  23. It was an absolutely fantastic day, and I owe a lot of thanks to the lady for kindly standing for hours in the on-and-off rain so that we could get a spot at the front in Albert Square (which was definitely worth it). We met some fantastic people too!

    Getting reasonably close in the Q&A session was great too, I just wish now that I’d hung around a little longer, though the ‘here in London’ gaff did give me a wry smile.

    As Woffin said, a massive thanks is in order for making this event free and for putting together a great day! The noise and smell was incredible and something that will stick with me for a long time..

  24. It was an absolutely brilliant day, I really enjoyed it. I met four F1Fanatics, Riise, Andrew Tanner, Butler_F1 and Ell. Thanks you four, the day was great.

    The noise was just immense, I’ve never been to a race before, so it was really great to see and hear a car. Also, we got into the fanzone as Vodafone VIPs where we had the chance to take home a small piece of the car, go on the simulator and take photos of the helmets.

    Thankyou Vodafone, Jenson, McLaren (I must have enjoyed it to thank them!) but most of all F1Fanatic, without this amazing website, I wouldnt have met the four fellow F1Fanatics.

    1. I’m gutted we lost you guys, I was panicking you would get lost! Thanks for letting me know you were OK.

  25. Naughty Button going through red lights. They’ll be taking away his super license (with how big bother ‘the stewards’ F1 has become), looked great, wish I was there.

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