Button hoping for mixed conditions at Malaysian GP

It appears that Jenson Button may be hoping for rain at this weekend’s Malaysian Grand Prix as it might help the team be more competitive.

“I’d rather it was mixed conditions,” Button told Autosport. “hen we have more of a chance to score points.

“Inters were very good to us in the last race, with P3 in Q2. When you have a quick car, you want it to be dry every day; no wind, calm, but when you don’t have such a quick car you want everything thrown at the field so you have an opportunity.”

The British F1 driver has also acknowledged that McLaren may not be able to compete at the front this weekend.

“It’s going to be another tough weekend,” Button explained. “But this is a circuit where we are a little bit lucky in terms of the bumpiness.

“It’s a lot smoother than the last race, which should help us quite a bit. The car was bouncing around quite a bit in the last race, which doesn’t help the setup. Where it is less bumpy, especially in low speed corners, it should really help us put the car where it should work.

“We won’t be fighting at the front but at least we can get the best out of the car that we have.”

Button also revealed that he doesn’t think Kimi Raikkonen will be victorious in Malaysia.

“Lotus did a great job and Kimi did a great job in the race but a lot of people will have learned from what they did,” Button said. “It’s very different conditions with the heat and the type of circuit.

“I think you will be seeing a different winner here.”

Hamilton: Button rivalry ‘not exciting’

Lewis Hamilton has revved up his rivalry with former teammate Jenson Button by saying the idea of beating his countryman “doesn’t excite me”.

The Britons were paired together at McLaren between 2010 and last season, but Hamilton has switched camps over the winter to Mercedes.

Button seems happy with what most pundits are describing as ‘de-facto’ number 1 status alongside team newcomer and youngster Sergio Perez.

“It’s unbelievably different,” he beamed, according to the Guardian.

“I’m really loving my job at the moment.”

But over at Mercedes, Hamilton shrugged at the suggestion beating Button at the wheel of a different silver car is an exciting prospect.

“The rivalry between me and Fernando (Alonso) excites me more,” he is quoted by the Daily Mail.

“You also want to beat Seb(astian Vettel), as they are the ones with the most titles. But Alonso’s the fastest driver I can see.”

Whether Hamilton has the most respect for him or not, 33-year-old Button is happy with his lot, insisting he won’t be following Hamilton in the chase for a fresh challenge.

“I feel very at home. I feel like I’d like to end my career here,” he said.

Source:GMM

Horner: Button considered moving to Toro Rosso

Jenson Button considered switching to Toro Rosso at the end of 2008, Red Bull team boss Christian Horner has revealed.

Ultimately, after Honda announced its shock departure from the sport, Ross Brawn led a management buy-out of the Brackley based team, and Button went onto become 2009 world champion.

But before the Brawn rescue deal materialised, Button’s management was scrambling for a seat.

“Last minute he got a deal but I remember his management were asking us whether even Toro Rosso had a drive,” Horner is quoted by the Daily Mail.

Horner made the comments whilst admitting Button, 33, has impressed him “enormously” since becoming champion and then switching to McLaren.

“The team went from Lewis (Hamilton)’s team pretty much exclusively … maybe the relationship (between McLaren and Hamilton) had run its course.

“What factor Jenson played in that, I have no idea.”

Button: McLaren struggling with 2013 car

Jenson Button has admitted McLaren is grappling with its new car for 2013.

Unlike most other main rivals, notably Red Bull and Ferrari, McLaren – whose British driver Button won the 2012 finale in Brazil – did not simply ‘evolve’ last year’s car for the new season. Red Bull’s outspoken Dr Helmut Marko said this week he didn’t understand why McLaren changed so much between 2013 and 2013.

Mark Webber agrees: “This sport is hard enough – and the cars difficult enough to understand technically – without taking risks unnecessarily.”

Indeed, things are going well in the Red Bull camp.

“I’m very happy with the car, with the balance, how it feels,” Germany’s SID news agency quotes world champion Sebastian Vettel as saying.

McLaren’s contrasting philosophy, however, was that development of the 2012 concept was almost exhausted, and so a new base was necessary. Button explained that, had the Woking team simply evolved the MP4-27, “I think after three or four races you would realise that you’re at the end of the development curve with it”.

The problem right now, though, is that McLaren is struggling to “understand where the car is”.

Button continued: “At times it feels good, at others it doesn’t.”

There are whispers in the paddock that arguably the best-performing car at the present moment is the evolved Lotus.

Romain Grosjean did a four-stop race simulation on Thursday, and team boss Eric Boullier beamed afterwards that – towards the end of the faux race – the E21 seemed to be showing potentially grand prix-winning pace.

“It (Lotus’ pace) certainly was not bad,” Sauber’s Nico Hulkenberg told Auto Motor und Sport.

“But Lotus was also good here during winter testing last year.”

McLaren’s Button thinks it’s too early to say if there’s a standout performer in 2013.

“I don’t know,” he said. “All I know is that no one is massively standing out.”

Source:GMM

Perez: New McLaren ‘adapted’ for Button’s style

Sergio Perez was quickest in Barcelona on Wednesday, but he also admitted that Jenson Button still rules the McLaren roost.

Asked by Spain’s AS newspaper to rate his adaptation from Sauber to McLaren, the young Mexican answered: “From zero to ten, I would say it is a 6 or a 7.” Perez said the “management style and philosophy” of Woking based McLaren and the Swiss team Sauber is fundamentally different, adding that his experienced teammate Button has the advantage of having being involved in the development of the new MP4-28 car.

“Jenson is obviously a very experienced driver and has put a lot into the car,” he said. “It is slightly adapted to his style, so it’s up to me to adapt to that, but I’m sure I will be completely ready in Australia. In any case, I am delighted with McLaren. All my life I’ve dreamed of being on this team, and from day one I have felt at home.”

Perez, 23, played down the prospect that his relationship with McLaren could break down, just as it did with other Latin drivers like Juan Pablo Montoya and Fernando Alonso.

“Every year, every race, there are different circumstances with the different drivers,” he said. “There have been other Latin drivers who have won championships here.

“Nationality means very little. The most important thing is that you have the right circumstances and a good car. The car is very different from what I was used to, but it is competitive,” he added.

Source:GMM

Button stuns rivals with Jerez pace

Jenson Button and McLaren have fired the opening salvo of the 2013 world championship, stunning rivals with the pace of the new MP4-28 at Jerez.

Despite a technical problem, by the end of Tuesday’s action Briton Button was almost a second clear of the rest of the field, headed by Mark Webber in the new Red Bull.

“I was surprised when I saw the (laptime on the) dash,” Button said, “but the time doesn’t mean anything.”

Perhaps not, but the competition was nonetheless impressed.

“I could have gone at Red Bull’s pace, but not Button’s,” Felipe Massa, who was otherwise happy with Ferrari’s new F138, is quoted by Auto Motor und Sport.

Brazil’s O Estado de S.Paulo quoted Massa as saying Button’s pace was “incredible”.

Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel has won the last three titles on the trot, but it was Button who won the last race of the season last November.

Australian Webber, therefore, admitted Red Bull has work to do.

“We’re not having a grand prix tomorrow, thank god, so we’ll work hard,” he said.

“We don’t know all the variables (of Button’s lap), but it was definitely very, very strong,” Webber added.

“(1 minute) 18.8 is really not a slow lap at Jerez with Pirelli tyres.”

Lotus’ Romain Grosjean, whose technical boss James Allison on Tuesday said the new black E21 is “swift”, commented: “It (Button’s lap) is a very fast time.

“But it’s only winter testing,” the Frenchman is quoted by Finland’s MTV3 broadcaster.

Some wondered if Button had used DRS throughout the lap, but he is quoted by Italy’s Autosprint: “All the teams have agreed to use DRS only on the two straights.”

It was a less impressive start for Mercedes, with Nico Rosberg getting in only 14 laps before an electrical problem caused a fire.

The German therefore held back a definitive analysis of the W04, but insisted: “I can guarantee you it (the car) will be a big step forward.”

Massa hailed the 2013 Ferrari by saying it is on “another planet” compared to the team’s slow start last season, but at least one trackside observer was not impressed.

“It is not as catastrophic as last year,” commentator Marc Surer told Speed Week, “but if you watched Massa today you could see he was having to make a lot of movement with the steering.”

Grosjean was happy with his car, telling O Estado de S.Paulo Lotus has “another good car” on its hands, while Nico Hulkenberg was musing whether Sauber will – yet again – have the ‘surprise’ package of the season.

“Maybe it’s a little early to say that,” said the German, “but it was a positive day.”

2012 runner-up Fernando Alonso, meanwhile, spent Tuesday training on a road bicycle in a desert country, moving Niki Lauda to tell RTL he “cannot understand” the Spaniard’s decision to sit out Jerez.

Source:GMM

F1 experts say Button new McLaren number 1

Jenson Button has de-facto ‘number 1′ status at McLaren this year.

That is the view of F1 experts and former drivers Martin Brundle and Sir Jackie Stewart, despite team boss Martin Whitmarsh’s claim that Sergio Perez will enjoy full equality at the British team as he replaces Lewis Hamilton from 2013.

“That is the mentality in our team,” the McLaren chief told British broadcaster Sky. “They will have equal treatment. I think that competition in the team is good.”

But F1 legend and triple world champion Stewart said: “It’s not a question of equal footing this year.

“You’ve someone in Jenson who knows the business and who has been there, seen it and done it,” he is quoted by the Daily Express. “He has to see himself as number 1.”

Former McLaren driver turned top television commentator Brundle agrees: “With Lewis’ departure, Jenson takes the lead of the team.

“He can now concentrate on that role and I think he will grow into it,” he is quoted by Speed Week.

Source:GMM

Button doubts Perez to fight for early wins in 2013

Jenson Button thinks Sergio Perez could struggle to fill Lewis Hamilton’s winning boots at McLaren next year.

Mexican Perez has been signed to replace 2008 world champion and F1’s last-start winner Hamilton for 2013 and beyond. Currently at Sauber, 22-year-old Perez has said his 2013 target is wins and the title, but in the five races since the McLaren deal was announced, he has failed to score even a single point.

“It’s going to be a tricky seat for Checo to fill,” his teammate next year, Button, is quoted by British newspapers after the US grand prix. “I have a feeling he will be competitive, but of course he doesn’t have the experience and I don’t think he will be fighting at the front at the start of next season. It is a massive ask but what else can you do? You need to have someone in the car and he is quick.

“I don’t know if he will be up to it straight away but we might be surprised at the first race,” added Button.

Perez acknowledges the doubters, but said it has little to do with his black run of form at Sauber since the McLaren deal was announced.

“I am going to the best team next year, so there will always be a question mark until I constantly deliver in a McLaren,” he is quoted by the BBC. “This doesn’t bother me.”

But the BBC claimed Perez is currently a long way from McLaren’s standards, having failed to come close to Hamilton and Button in the British team’s benchmark fitness test.

“I am not worried about him,” insisted team boss Martin Whitmarsh. “We have the winter to prepare him.”

Source:GMM

Button: Perez apologised after Korean GP conflict

Sergio Perez apologised after almost wiping his 2013 teammate Jenson Button out of the recent Korean grand prix.

“Sergio said sorry, yeah,” the McLaren driver told the Mirror. “To the team actually.”

Young Mexican Perez, currently driving for Sauber, will join Button at McLaren next year, to replace the Mercedes-bound Lewis Hamilton. But his relationship with Button almost got off to a terrible start in Korea, when Perez narrowly avoided contact on the first lap, earning a rebuke from the 2009 world champion.

“I’ve spoken to Sergio. I think his move was on the edge,” Button confirmed in India.

Button was heavily critical after Korea, and he still thinks Perez – and some of his other young rivals – can afford to take more care in grands prix.

“Yeah he can but he does not need to do that,” the 32-year-old said. “It is a great opportunity for Sergio and I think he is an exciting talent for the team as well.”

Souce:GMM

McLaren deny Hamilton rift

Jenson Button has hit out at those suggesting McLaren is falling out with departing driver Lewis Hamilton.

Hamilton is heading to Mercedes next year, and since the news broke, reports have revealed a Twitter dispute with Button and a Suzuka party-snub by his mechanics. And after Hamilton was reportedly late for a briefing in Korea, a Sky reporter quoted Button as saying his 2013 teammate “Sergio (Perez) wouldn’t have been late”.

“I didn’t say a word of that,” Button told Reuters. “It’s amazing how people are so opinionated about what they see happening within this team with the drivers. None of it is true in the slightest,” he insisted.

With Hamilton leaving McLaren after a six-year career with the British team, however, the British press – as ever – is hanging on the 27-year-old’s every word. For instance, after Korea, Hamilton said racing to tenth was “a day to forget. A year to forget as well. I’m looking forward to a fresh start next year”.

Button replied: “I would word it differently and choose my moment to say it but it’s his view and I understand what he means,” he is quoted by the Mirror.

Indeed, Hamilton insists he is still committed to McLaren.

“I’m still 100 per cent in this team to the last minute,” he said. “People will continue to say that there is a rift between me and Jenson but there honestly is no issue between us.

“I have been part of this team for so many years and have a great relationship. I think I am loved as much as I love the team.”

Button agrees: “As far as I can see with Lewis, he is focused and wants to win races. Nothing has changed, it is just the view of a few people with a wide audience. And they need to get their facts straight,” he is quoted by the Express newspaper.

“He has chosen to go his own way at the end of the year. It is his decision, although I personally don’t think it is the right decision. But the team will do all they can to help him win grands prix.”

And team boss Martin Whitmarsh said he is sure McLaren will give Hamilton a fitting send-off before he moves on to Mercedes.

“He is loved in this team. He knows that,” he is quoted by the Telegraph. “It’s an emotional time for lots of people at this team, including Lewis, but when we’re motor racing we put things to one side and focus on the racing.”

Source:GMM