Exclusive Q&A with Honda's Jenson Button 25 May 2007
In Formula One racing it is hard to stay upbeat if the car is letting you down. But, so far Hondas Jenson Button has managed to remain positive, despite facing possibly one of the most disappointing seasons of his career. They say hope dies last, but with Thursdays Monaco practice sessions revealing, yet again, Hondas midfield impasse, will Button be smiling for much longer? We found out
Q: So far its been a thorny 2007 season for you. As someone who has already tasted victory, you cannot be satisfied. How are you feeling about the situation?
Jenson Button: We are definitely not satisfied with our performance so far this season. I dont think anyone would be satisfied with the position that we are in. But life is never all rosy and there are always tough periods, this just happens to be a very tough time for us. I am confident that we will pull ourselves out of it and there is a huge amount of work going on back at the factory and in Japan to achieve this.
Q: Neither you nor Rubens Barrichello has made it into Q3 in qualifying this season, while in the races you have struggled to maintain position. It looks like theres a lot of room for improvement?
JB: Obviously there is plenty of room for improvement. Getting it together for one-lap qualifying is one thing, but it is harder to put together your race package when you have a tough car to drive. The car has developed and improved over the last few races, the stability of the rear particularly has helped us in the race, but there is a long way to go yet.
Q: The aero department has increased its headcount and the wind tunnels are running flat out - is there a major problem that is condemning you to the midfield?
JB: It is a series of small problems rather than one major issue, but aero is the main factor. The aerodynamics of the car are not working as we would have hoped but the team are putting every effort into resolving this.
Q: You have stated that the team is not making enough progress. Why do you think the team are stuck? It is only two and a half years since Honda finished second in the constructors championship
JB: Honda is a huge company and I have full confidence in our ability and resources to turn the situation around.
Q: The first two days at last weeks Paul Ricard test used the Monaco-like track layout. Did the results improve your confidence in the car for this weekend?
JB: There were a few new developments which came out of the test at Paul Ricard last week but again these are small incremental steps, so we are not anticipating a big step forward this weekend.
Q: Monaco is all about downforce, while the next two flyaway races in Montreal and Indianapolis are all about speed. At the moment the Hondas are roughly a second behind the top teams - any indications that this gap will decrease?
JB: Monaco is such a unique race and as the lap is shorter, so the gap to the top teams will reduce slightly. Also the driver and your strategy can also make a huge difference around here so it is not purely about car performance. There are small changes coming onto the car all the time so I anticipate a small step forward again for Canada and the US. The bigger improvements, however, will not come until we get back to Europe.
Q: Looking ahead, will the team need to bring in a B-spec car, or will you stick with the RA107?
JB: There is a lot changing on the car but the core of the car will remain. It is just a matter of time really and a lot of hard work and dedication to pull ourselves out of this situation.