If Caterham’s Mike Gascoyne was in the market for a McLaren driver, he would sign Jenson Button.
The green-clad team’s technical boss, Gascoyne, was at Renault in 2002 when it was decided to oust Button in favour of Fernando Alonso. But a decade on, Gascoyne says the tables have now turned, as 2009 world champion Button now heads the 2012 points standings for McLaren.
“We weren’t wrong (to replace Button), Fernando won two titles very quickly, but Jenson has developed into a hell of a driver,” Gascoyne is quoted by the UK Express newspaper.
He said Button’s advantage over Lewis Hamilton, his highly rated teammate, is his mental strength.
“The difference right now is that Jenson can handle it when Lewis wins, but Lewis really struggles when Jenson does,” said Gascoyne.
Another of Button’s strengths, he explained, is his smooth driving style, which better conserves Pirelli’s highly-degrading tyres.
“Lewis is struggling to match that and then with his attacking style, the more aggression he puts in the harder it gets for him in the race,” said Gascoyne.
Comparing today’s Button with the 22-year-old of 2002, Gascoyne concluded: “Jenson is still the same nice guy, same talent, but mentally so very strong. Right now, Jenson would be the man for me.”
In an interview with Spanish agency EFE, Pedro de la Rosa summed up Button with the words “finesse and intelligence”.