Jenson Button has admitted that the threat of rain at this weekend's Monaco Grand Prix will only add to the problems expected of a 24-car field on the tightest track on the Formula One calendar.
Speaking on the eve of the traditional Thursday practice day for the blue riband event, the reigning world champion claimed that he was more relaxed heading into the Monaco weekend than ever before, but conceded that he remained concerned about the number of cars on track, and how that would impact on both qualifying and the race.
The F1 field has been expanded to 24 cars for 2010 - and would have been 26 had either USF1 or Stefan GP made the grid - prompting suggestions that qualifying be split between the faster and slower cars to reduce the chance of drivers being frustrated by traffic. Button, however, admitted that the added threat of rain, which is forecast for both Thursday and Saturday, would only make matters more difficult.
"As I won the race last year, you come into this race a lot more relaxed and I am really looking forward to it, [but] I would prefer if it was dry this weekend," the McLaren man confirmed, "It is an exciting race in the dry, exciting enough, [but], if it is wet, it is going to be pretty crazy for us out there, especially with so many cars. In qualifying, with 24 cars out there, it will be pretty mad in the dry but, in the wet, [it will be] pretty impossible to get a clear lap."
Asked whether he would have backed Bruno Senna's suggestion that the six or eight slowest runners be given their own qualifying session, Button confirmed that the drivers had not been given a say, and insisted that everyone was in the same boat.
"It's not down to us, it was down to the teams to make a decision," he noted, "There's obviously a bigger time difference between the cars in F1 than in GP2, but it's going to be tricky for all of us.
"Normally, if you're on a flying lap and you find traffic, you want to back out of it and try and find space for the next lap, but I think we've got to just keep hammering it around. I don't think we can back off. We've got to just try and stay on it, because that might be the quickest lap we do. I think it's going to be pretty tricky in Q1, but we'll cope, I'm sure. A few of us will be angry at the end of Q1, but we've all got to deal with the same situation."
Qualifying could prove to be the most vital point of the entire weekend, with hopes raised and dashed by grid position. With Red Bull Racing continuing to set the pace at almost every circuit this season, especially in qualifying where the team is unbeaten in the race for pole, Button admitted that he was hoping that the RB6 wouldn't be quite so potent in the Principality.
"Last weekend was a bit frustrating, as the pace of the [McLaren] car in qualifying wasn't where we hoped it would be, and the Red Bulls had a big gap at the front," he reflected, "I think it was almost one second but, in the race, the [McLaren] seemed to be working well, although I wasn't able to unlock that for most of the race as I was stuck behind Michael [Schumacher].