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Exclusive Jenson Button Q&A: Q2 would be ‘an achievement’

04 Jul 2015

To say that 2015 has been tough for Jenson Button and McLaren would be something of an understatement. Will things improve for Button at his home race this weekend? With updates on his MP4-30 and the promise of an extra Honda power unit thanks to regulation tweaks, the former world champion certainly hopes so - even if he is not expecting miracles…

Q: Jenson, at the last race in Austria most of the new parts were only on Fernando’s car. Do you also have them on yours this weekend?

Jenson Button: Yes, we have two sets of what we had in Austria. There might be some more parts that potentially could help the rear end - so let’s wait and see what is possible tomorrow afternoon.

Q: You had very little running on Friday. How do you assess that?

JB: Yep, it was very little running. I would say that there is still a lot to be done. The straights are not our thing here. It is still a massive test bed for us this weekend. We are still a long way behind.

Q: What would make a good home Grand Prix for you?

JB: I hope that the weather stays nice for the fans. I have heard that it is sold out - and that is always nice to race in front of a huge home crowd. In terms of results? We will give it our best! If that is enough for points, I don’t know. As I said before, this track is a mixed bag: you have a lot of high-speed corners, now some low-speed corners as well, and a reasonably long straight which hurts us a bit, so hopefully we can mix it up. My understanding is that making it into Q2 would be quite an achievement. But of course that cannot be our real goal - making it into Q2.

Q: Ron Dennis lately said that this is the best McLaren team ever. He defended the team against criticism. Are you with him?

JB: Totally. Yes, we’ve gone through quite a lot so far this year so it is super to see that we are still so tight - that the atmosphere is really good. There is a huge confidence within the team. We are a great team.

Q: Austria was not really a good weekend - so from what you have experienced so far at Silverstone will it be better here?

JB: Of course we will give our best. And Fernando’s [Alonso’s] accident [in Austria] with Kimi was not in our hands to change. So from this side it should already be a much more positive weekend. I have never been on the podium here - and I think that will also be a fact after the chequered flag on Sunday - but I will give it everything to finish as high as I possibly can.

Q: There obviously were some concerns about the power unit - what is the latest?

JB: Well, we have gone into the race weekend believing that we will go all the way through the race weekend. When you’re trying to push a power unit there are always possibilities for reliability issues. I really hope that we’re not getting any penalties.

Q: Are you worried that you will not get a good enough car in the near future that will allow you a shot at another championship?

JB: There are no major changes for next year in terms of regulations so whatever you do now is helping you next season - so you don’t give up on next year’s car because it is the same philosophy and the same idea in terms of downforce and the direction we’ve been going in all season. So everything we do now will help us next year. I have no problem with that. Will it hurt us that we are not quick enough now? Who knows. If we get to the last race and are two seconds behind Mercedes, then of course next year is going to be tough because you can’t find that over the winter. It is our job to make sure that the gap is cut down a lot by then.

Q: It is your 16th British Grand Prix. Did you expect back then that you would have such a long career?

JB: When you are 20 you don’t really expect anything - you just carry on and live the moment. I love to remember my first race here - overtaking Michael Schumacher into Turn 1! I had a car problem and finished 16th. David Coulthard won the race and the British fans got crazy.

Q: Your F1 career could be divided into three parts: the tough pre-title phase, the title year, and now again the difficult post-title period. So you understand the concept of hard times. Which is harder to swallow?

JB: Now it is a much stranger one. Because after winning the title and 15 Grands Prix you want to go on winning all the time because you get addicted to winning. But if you are in the position that we are, having a team mate like Fernando, it is strange because you enjoy the challenge still between team mates. We push each other, we both push the team, so it is an exciting challenge. So I think it was a bit trickier back then - the situation was tougher. I wanted to fight for the championship and it took until 2009 that it happened. Now I have achieved my initial goal in life - which is to win the title - of course still I want to win races again and have a go at the title, but if I were to retire at this moment in time I would still feel that I have achieved.