6 September 2011
Button predicts mixed-up order fror Monza
Jenson Button is predicting a few upsets in qualifying and the race as DRS and KERS play their part in the Italian Grand Prix.
Jenson Button, who overcame a frustrating qualifying session at Spa to claim the final podium spot, believes that the combination of DRS and KERS could cause a few upsets in the order at Monza - although he naturally hopes to be at the sharp end again.
The Briton used the most recent additions to an F1 drivers' armoury to good effect in Belgium, rising from 13th on the grid thanks to a series of well-timed passing moves, and is keen to see how they will affect what is usually one of the more entertaining grands prix of the year.
“It's going to be the usual difficult trade-off between drag and downforce to find the ultimate package for the race," he surmised, "but I think things will be a little more mixed-up this year.
"For the second time this season, we'll have two distinct DRS zones, with two potential passing opportunities. The first zone's going to be interesting because it's always been very tough to challenge for position under braking for Ascari, as the track's pretty narrow and it's a fast entry, so I'll be really interested to see how well DRS will work into that corner – we might see some pretty spectacular moves!
“I think the more conventional passing opportunity will come from the second DRS zone, getting as close as possible into Parabolica, holding on through the corner – which won't be straightforward – and then deploying DRS down the start/finish straight before, hopefully, passing into turn one."
The 2010 Italian GP was notable, amongst other things, for Button opting to run with a higher downforce package than most, and nearly stealing a win that ultimately went the way of Ferrari's Fernando Alonso - to the obvious delight of the tifosi.
"Last year, Lewis and I opted to follow two different paths – Lewis went for the low-downforce configuration and I went for more grip, at the expense of straight-line speed," Button confirmed, refusing to rule out following a similar strategy in 2011, "However, that meant that, although I had the lap-time, I didn't quite have the opportunity to mount an attack for the lead, because I couldn't get close enough along the straights to have a go into the braking areas. This year, DRS is going to be a pretty major asset for a following car, and it might shape the race in some really interesting ways.”
McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh also believes that the adjustable rear wings will play a central role in determining the outcome of the race, even if the final turn is not covered by a DRS zone.
“Perhaps it's a bit premature to be discussing the return of the epic 'Monza slipstreamer', but I think the whole team is going to Italy keen to see if DRS will create the sort of exciting and unpredictable grands prix that we either watched or read about when we were younger," he claimed, before admitting that the addition of the new technology will cause a little head-scratching when it comes to set-up.
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