Jenson Button says he feels the Singapore Grand Prix this weekend will be the event that gives a clearer indication of the destiny of the 2010 F1 title.
After the low-downforce events at Spa and Monza, the Singapore street race will see a return to the kind of high-downforce circuit where rivals Red Bull have performed strongly earlier in the year.
The last high-downforce race in Hungary saw McLaren struggle to match the pace of both Red Bull and Ferrari, and Button said it would be interesting to see how his team has improved since then – with Singapore being seen as the race which will show how the three title contenders are matched going into the final five races of the year.
“The Singapore Grand Prix will be a very interesting weekend because I think it'll give us a clearer idea of the destiny of the world championship,” the defending champion said. “The last time we were at a low-speed, high-downforce track was in Hungary back at the start of August; our car wasn't particularly competitive there, and maybe we haven't had a properly representative view of the top teams' relative pace because we've just visited two high-speed circuits.
“But, equally, a lot has changed since that race in Budapest – not least, some quite hefty revisions to the rulebook regarding bodywork flexibility and, additionally, a lot of work by the engineers at the MTC to ensure our car is now better suited to slower circuits.
“Singapore will be interesting for all of us – we'll not only get an idea of the speed of the Ferrari and Red Bull, but we'll get to see for the first time whether all our efforts over the past two months have helped put us back in the ballpark at high-downforce tracks.”
Team boss Martin Whitmarsh said he felt Singapore would give McLaren the chance to show the progress made since Hungary, and that it would become clearer which team is the one to beat.
“It's the first race at a low-speed, high-downforce track since the Hungaroring back in August,” he said. “It's also the first high-downforce track we've visited since the FIA tightened up its regulations on flexible bodywork, so it's likely to give us a much clearer idea of the respective pace of the leading teams after two less-representative events in Belgium and Italy.
“This is a race the whole team looks forward to enormously, and we travel to Singapore with a number of new ideas to try out on our cars, feeling positive that we'll once again be in a position to race at the front.”