8 June 2015
F1 Canadian Grand Prix: Button insists 'this won’t hurt us...'
Jenson Button remains positive after a miserable Canadian Grand Prix sees both McLaren-Hondas off the pace and thirsty before retiring.
Jenson Button insists that the worst race of McLaren-Honda's comeback season is just a minor bump in the road, rather than one big enough to derail the project.
It was a tough day for the Woking squad, which ended up retiring both cars with unrelated exhaust issues, having spent the majority of the afternoon racing alone ahead of the Manors as they tried desperately to save fuel. Both Button and team-mate Fernando Alonso made their frustration clear in radio exchanges with their engineers but, like the Spaniard, Button insisted that it was aimed at the situation rather than the programme's languorous progress towards the front of the field.
“Obviously a difficult day and, for me, it was made more difficult by starting from last and having a drive-thru',” the Briton explained, “That puts you out of sequence and then the leaders lap you and pull away – and then they lap you again, so you lose so much time.
“The pace on old soft tyres wasn't too bad, but I think one of our biggest issues was fuel-saving, so you lose temperature in the tyres as well. I think everyone fuel-saved but, if you don't have the straight line speed, you use more fuel because you are on the straight for longer. Maybe it's efficiency or maybe we're running more downforce, I'm not sure, but it's something we need to solve for the next one because that's going to be tough – not as bad as here but still a tricky one for us.”
Button quickly dismissed suggestions that 2015 had been a bad season punctuated by the points he secured in Monaco two weeks ago, and insisted that there would be no recriminations within the McLaren-Honda partnership.
“Today was quite painful but Monaco was a good weekend and I'm happy I scored points there,” he noted, “I think it is unfair to say that it has been a bad season with the exception of Monaco because we have been improving almost every race with at least one of the cars. There's been improvement all the way except today, but today was always going to be tough for us with the layout of the circuit..
“I think we should be happy with what we've done but you do have difficult days – it's always the way when you have an exciting project and you're starting from zero. The problem is, when you are a team that has won grands prix and world championships, and a manufacturer that has won world championships, you're massively under pressure. No-one gives this team a break, [but] this won't hurt us as a team, definitely not. I think everyone is strong mentally and focused on the improvements coming.”
Revealing that the new parts he was trialling early in the weekend were transferred to Alonso's machine when it became apparent that penalties would restrict the #22 to the back of the grid with a drive-thru' to serve within three laps of the start, Button insisted that he still expected the programme to take a step forward – even if he wanted it to come sooner rather than later given the calendar.
“We're pushing, we're pushing everything and, if we get a new part, we want to put it on the car,” he noted, “The great thing is that we do bring new parts to every race. Hopefully there'll be more and more in Austria and Silverstone as I'd love to have a great home grand prix.”
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