Jenson Button believes that F1 isn't doing a bad job with its core product, but admits that there is always room for improvement when it comes to providing the best conditions for racing.
The Briton, who sits at top table in the Grand Prix Drivers' Association and has never been shy about conveying his opinions on the sport, was critical of some of the safety aspects at the inaugural Grand Prix of Europe in Azerbaijan, saying that the lack of run-off at some corners contradicted moves that had been made to make F1 safer elsewhere.
“We work so hard on safety, improving circuits all the time and we come here and we have corners like T3, T7 and T15 that don't have any run off at all,” he said prior to minor alterations being made after day one in Baku, “I think, as far as they know, they do every test possible for safety and run-off …. but the way we have gone with safety and the way we have pushed it and some of the issues we have had in the past, you would think they still do that… but maybe I am wrong.”
Speaking subsequently, the 2009 world champion expanded on his initial view, admitting that the task of balancing safety with exciting racing and new, sometimes unusual, venues was not an easy one, but stressing the case for circuits that played to F1's strengths while ensuring that the drivers were not forced to take unnecessary risks.
“We need circuits that are good for racing,” Button insisted, “We need people challenging, not just one team, but many teams, challenging for wins. We need circuits that really show the strengths of F1 cars, high-speed corners….
“We need circuits that suit an F1 car, [circuits] that you can race on, that you can fight on, that you can overtake on, that you can come back on... That is what people love. People love seeing fighting - when you look at Barcelona, you had four cars from two different teams fighting for the win, and people probably turned on to watch that race more than any other this year because of that.
“[However], as drivers, however strong, or as big we think our balls are, we need run-offs areas because it is necessary. This is a dangerous sport and we all understand it is a dangerous sport, but there are unnecessary risks in certain places.
“It is all down to us doing a better job, getting close to the front and making the racing better because the sport is not in a bad place. But there is still a lot of room for improvement.”