Fry defends Button

HondaNick Fry, boss of Honda Racing, has defended his driver Jenson Button after Nigel Mansell s recent criticisms. This week, the BBC quoted Mansell as saying Button s chances had come and gone and he had failed to grasp them, and that the Brit had spent too much time partying which had taken the edge off his driving.

Fry has countered these allegations by saying Button has matured a lot since his early days in the sport and believes that Mansell’s comments are about five years out of date.

F1-champion Damon Hill has attacked the Honda car, saying it s under-performance was wasting Button s talent. “He s wilting away there,” he remarked. “Honda just aren t a front-running team.”

Nick Fry has admitted to British newspaper the Daily Mail that the current car is “not particularly good” but believes that Button still has the potential to be a future world champion.

“I have absolutely no doubt that given the right car, Jenson can win races and the world championship. I would point to his drive at the beginning of the European Grand Prix at the Nurburgring where Jenson overtook almost the entire field in a car that is not particularly good.

“People recognise he’s a driver whose time is yet to come. If we had a situation where Jenson would be able to compete with Lewis, I’m sure we would all be – certainly in the UK – very happy.

“As far as we are concerned, Jenson has demonstrated outstanding professionalism and maturity in what has been a difficult time for the team. He has tried to help the team go forward, and in many ways his efforts have been above and beyond what is expected of Formula One drivers.

“I would refute everything Nigel has said, and particularly I think his comments about Jenson’s reputation for partying are about five years out of date. People forget that Jenson made his F1 debut at the age of 20 – but he’s now 27. I’ve worked with him now for five years, and his increasing maturity, and the way he has changed his lifestyle is extremely noticeable.

“His behaviour has been noticed and admired by several team principals. Some of them have told me they believe his behaviour has been absolutely impeccable.”