31 August 2015
Button expecting to bring ‘A-game’ to Singapore
Having written off Belgium and Italy, Jenson Button and McLaren continue to pin their recovery hopes on the trip to Singapore later next month.
Next weekend's Italian Grand Prix will be just another event to get out of the way for Jenson Button and the McLaren-Honda project, but the Briton expects things to ramp up for both parties after that.
It has long been explained that neither Spa-Francorchamps or Monza would be good for the first-year programme, which remains lacking on both the performance and reliability fronts, but Button is optimistic that the Singapore street circuit at Marina Bay could be a turning point.
Although Honda brought an engine upgrade to Belgium after F1's summer break, it failed to produce any noticeable jump in potential for the MP4-30, with Button and Alonso finishing 14th and 13th respectively, each a lap down on race winner Lewis Hamilton.
While the team did not expect a run to the points without help from retirements, Button's afternoon was also scuppered by a 50-place grid penalty for multiple engine part changes – Alonso started from the other last row position after taking 55-places in punishments – and an ERS-deployment issue that robbed his car of what little extra power it could have expected.
“It wasn't for me today,” he said of his fortunes, “Maybe [with a] petrol engine but, when the ERS isn't working, it's an issue for us. It's an area where we're weak, in the ERS unit, especially when it's not working. We need to look at the data...”
While a repeat would be as big a disaster at power-hungry Monza next weekend, Button and McLaren are already looking further ahead, to Singapore, when McLaren and Honda are expected to introduce another raft of updates.
“We're all pushing as hard as we can,” he said, repeating the oft-noted party line, “We knew [Belgium] would be tough, and the next one will be tough as well, butt then it's Singapore and that's where we're bringing our A-game. We'll bring it to Singapore and see what we can do.”
While both McLarens got the chequered flag in Belgium, something it had managed only twice before in 2015, the team languishes ninth out of ten in the constructors' championship, ahead only of the hapless Manor squad. However, only six points separate McLaren from eighth-placed Sauber - with Toro Rosso a further twelve points ahead – giving the Woking-based squad something to chase in the remaining eight rounds.
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