Jenson Button Q&A: Red Bull could be untouchable 07 May 2010
Leading the standings must be like deja vu for Jenson Button. But what was a relative walk in the park this time last year has been far more of a rollercoaster ride in 2010. The only thing the world champion has been able to rely on so far has been his and his McLarens long-distance stamina. If that characteristic has not been lost on the winding road back from Shanghai, he could challenge for victory again on Sunday - though he fears one team in particular could stand in his way, as he explained to the media after Fridays practice sessions in Barcelona
Q: Regarding driving standards and the discussion about the stewards, do you think it makes sense to have a former Formula One driver on the panel of stewards?
Jenson Button: I think the driving standards are very good at the moment, as we all respect each other very well and are within the regulations. The races so far have been good and fun, and sometimes we were close to the limit. To have a former driver on the panel is a good idea, as they know whats right and whats wrong, whats safe and whats close to the limi,t as they have been around for a long time themselves. I hope the stewards use them in the correct way and listen to what they have to say, as their opinion is obviously very important to us.
Q: Pedro de la Rosa suggested a system like the one from soccer, where a driver gets yellow cards and too many will see you barred for one race. What are your thoughts on that?
JB: I dont know. For me it is up to the stewards. If they see you following the rules, then this is good, and if you are outside the rules this goes to the stewards and they will decide your fate, which in my eyes is correct.
Q: Last year was your best year. Did you expect to have such a good year again, as you are leading the championship?
JB: I definitely did not think that I would be leading the championship after four races. My aim was rather to fight myself within the team, and also feeling comfortable within the car and get to know my new team mate. I had hoped for victories though. What is a good thing is that I work very well together with my engineers, and improve the car also in respect to modifying it towards my style of driving. At the beginning of the season I felt Red Bull had an advantage, but now we are leading the championship, which brings me into a very good position. Now we just do not want to fall behind anymore. I hope we have closed the gap a bit to the Red Bulls.
Q: What kind of updates did you bring to the Spanish Grand Prix and do you feel you will be able to bring in another victory?
JB: I cannot say at this very moment. You have upgrades, and we just hope that ours will be substantial enough to close that gap to the Red Bulls. We will see it definitely on Saturday at qualifying. We have been a bit weak in qualifying this season, for whatever reason. In China in the race we were maybe a bit closer than it looked on Saturday. Here we have some upgrades and new parts. I hope that they deliver what they promised in the wind tunnel. I know that also Red Bull, Ferrari and Mercedes have some updates on their cars, but we will see whose have worked the best tomorrow in qualifying and in Sundays race. We have already seen this year that the long distance can be the spoilage for the sprinter!
Q: How do you see your fight with your team mate Lewis Hamilton?
JB: Lewis is an extraordinary driver. He is very fast and would never give up. I think we have a good relationship, and it is good to have a tough team mate. In the team both of us are very outspoken, as we say what we feel. We share everything and every bit of information and we talk about every situation. It is working very well, as we are having good feedback and very similar feedback, which is also important.
Q: After winning last years championship, how do you feel this year is developing?
JB: Last year was truly my goal in fulfilling my dream of becoming a world champion. This year I am more relaxed, as I have achieved what I set out to do. I want to fight for another championship, and want to fight another champion and I want to do it with this team. So I am a very relaxed person at the moment and enjoying my racing a lot and this is the most important thing for me right now. I have a great team around me and I have a great car, which makes it very difficult to not be happy.
Q: Would you say that the new rules and regulations help force the drivers to race in a more clever way?
JB: I think with the new type of tyres and no refuelling things have slightly changed. But I think its not only the changes of rules and regulations. Its more about the races that we had. I am in a very competitive car and you can see if I am making a good call, whereas a couple of years ago you might not have seen that so much.
Q: Todays two practice sessions: what did they suggest?
JB: In the morning session the car felt alright, but I hit something coming out of the pits, and therefore we had to stop, so I did not make as much running as I would have liked to. In the afternoon we made some set-up changes, and we thought to go into the right direction, but I am not sure if it was. So there is still a lot of work ahead to try to find why the car is not feeling as we thought it would. Weve still got a lot of data to go through, but I am very sure that we can make some improvements tomorrow. And I think it is not only my car, but both sides of the garage.
Q: The Red Bulls again look very quick, so how do you see them for this weekend?
JB: I might have to say that they might be untouchable for this Grand Prix. We are not feeling happy with our car, as we are not getting a good lap time out of it. And yes, for them it is a real good job to be in the 1m19s. So they must have done a good job on their package. But as I said before, the race is like a marathon and qualifying the sprint distance - and points will be allocated after 66 laps.
Q: During the week you visited your hometown of Frome in Somerset. Please give us a few impressions on that
JB: It was great, as it was a little while since I was back there. I went to all of my old schools to check them out. It was great to see the little kids wearing the same school uniforms that I used to wear 25 years ago. It was a very emotional experience. Also I am a Freeman now in my hometown, which means that I have received the key to the town, which I feel very honoured about.