McLaren: Button crucial to teams future development 05 Oct 2011
McLarens new deal with Jenson Button will play a key role in ensuring the success of the teams cars in the coming seasons, particularly with the approach of an all-new engine formula for 2014. That is the view of McLarens technical director Paddy Lowe.
Having a good driver with good feedback is still essential in Formula One, said Lowe, speaking in a Vodafone McLaren Mercedes Phone-In. Even though these days we have far more tools to work with offline - more simulation, etc. - were still very reliant on the drivers feedback and his responses to the changes we make, and indeed his suggestions for changes to make.
Having Jenson on board for the years to come is a great step for us as it gives us a very solid base in terms of a driver that we can rely on for feedback through that phases that you described. And Jenson was obviously very experienced for many years before he came to McLaren, so that all contributes.
Having trailed team mate Lewis Hamilton during his first season with McLaren in 2010, Button has turned things around this year and is currently second in the standings to Hamiltons fifth. Lowe refused to be drawn on his drivers relative technical contributions, but admitted the team have welcomed the new, more aggressive edge to Buttons driving.
We dont consider either driver better or worse, he insisted. I think that theyre both brilliant, theyre both world champions. They have different styles. I think whats been really nice to see with Jenson is that certainly in the last half season hes been driving in a way that has surprised us.
His classic driving approach has been to be very smooth and solid and scoring the points, whereas what hes actually done is to deliver some fantastic races. And some of the most exciting overtaking manoeuvres that weve seen all season have come from Jenson and thats been great to see - and I think hes really enjoyed doing it!
Those passing moves have helped make Button the only man who can prevent Red Bulls Sebastian Vettel becoming 2011 world champion in Japan this weekend. To keep his title hopes alive, Button must win at Suzuka, with Vettel failing to score.
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