Former world champion Jenson Button might have retired from Formula One. But is there another Jenson poised to follow in his slipstream? A lad from Bolsover?
It’s entirely possible if the exciting progress in the fast lane of 13-year-old Jenson Parker continues at its current rate of knots.
Just like Button, who he is named after, Parker started his racing career in karting. And after a string of successes, including at national level, his ambition is to forge a career for himself in F1.
However, there is one snag, and that is finance. “If we can’t get sponsorship soon, I don’t think Jenson will be able to carry on at the level he is at,” said dad Scott, a 44-year-old builder.
“We are just a normal family from Bolsover, but we are racing against lads whose dads are millionaires.
“We are spending up to £15,000 a year on Jenson’s karting because it means so much to him. But it is just becoming too expensive.
“He needs a new kart every year, yet they cost £5,000. His race fees are up to £3,000 every year and he needs a new set of tyres every race, costing £150. Even a tyre sponsorship would be a massive plus.”
With backing, Jenson seems destined for the top. He has been fanatical about karting since he had a pedal go-kart at the age of three and was constantly asking: “Dad, can it go any faster?”
He started racing in bambino karts at six and progressed to the cadets’ class before, at 11, he moved up to mini-max karts with 125cc engines and speeds of up to 75mph. Along the way, he won or was placed in a host of competitions, including the British Championships, and he marked another step-up, to the faster junior IAME X30 class. with a win last weekend.
Dad Scott and mum Sarah, 43, a police officer, follow him to circuits all over the country as he races for the Sheffield-based Mark Baines Motor Sport team.
“He’s a very dedicated driver with lots of passion who learns quickly and wants to win,” said Scott. “Jenson Button was his F1 hero. He is so proud that he has stood on the same podium Button was once on.”