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Jenson Button Q&A: Austria is proper 'old-school' racing

20 Jun 2014

McLaren’s Jenson Button is one of only four current drivers to have competed in the last Austrian Grand Prix 11 years ago, and he still loves the Spielberg circuit - even if improvements to his McLaren still aren’t likely to be enough to make him a podium contender there on Sunday…

Q: Jenson, what is your impression of the Austrian circuit so far?

Jenson Button: It is a very fun track to drive, as it is a high-speed circuit, and we do not have a lot of them anymore. So it’s good that this race was added to the calendar. Today in the morning we were trying to get some aero data and in the afternoon we did mostly set-up work, while it was quite windy out there and a bit tricky to drive. Here we are still struggling with the supersoft tyres - with graining in the rear - and the primes seem to be okay on the short and the long runs.

I am one of few drivers staying in my motorhome here close to the track, and this is for me proper ‘old-school’ racing. I enjoy it very much, as it is much more relaxed.

Q: Did you bring updates to this race, and if so how are they working so far?

JB: Yes we brought some, as I think did many other teams as well. So far they are working as we expected them to work. A few cars look much quicker than we expected, for example the Williams and the Ferraris, while the Force Indias don’t look as quick as we thought they would. So it seems it’s a whole new game behind the two pacemakers this weekend.

Of course we, and many other teams bring updates, bigger or smaller, to every race and we knew that the ones we brought here would not gain us half a second, but we have to wait until qualifying to know if all of this is coming true. One thing is for sure, from the speed that we have at the moment, you will not suddenly find us on the podium.

We are working very hard and we are trying not to lose too much ground to Ferrari at races where we know we are not strong, as they are only 21 points ahead of us. It would be nice to challenge them in the constructors’ championship.

Q: There is some confusion in regards to the track, especially concerning the pit-lane entry. What is it all about?

JB: There is one point on the track where one would be quicker if you leave the track with all four wheels, and we have to figure out if we are allowed to do so. But then again you would run the risk to suddenly arrive on the grass, as it is not part of the track anymore.

In regards to the pit-lane entry, this is tricky as well, because there is a white line, and you run the risk of running on the marbles. As far as I remember it was 2002 - yes, that long time ago - when we changed this and I understand the reason from a driving point of view, as it makes more sense. But for sure it needs another look at it from our side and clarify what is allowed and what’s not.