Button plays down rapid lap on day one of testing

2013 F1 season

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Jenson Button played down the significance of his rapid lap on the first day of testing which saw him lead the field by eight tenths of a second.

“To be fair I was surprised when I saw it on the dash, but it doesn’t mean anything,” he told media in Jerez. “I think some people run less fuel than others, some people run a lot more fuel than others, so who knows.”

“Lap times mean nothing right now,” he added. “They don’t even mean anything in the last test”.

“It’s when you get to the first race, you’ll have a very different car then as every team will and that’s where we really need to show how quick we are.”

The first test of the year got off to a poor start for McLaren: “It’s been pretty mixed today,” said Button.

“First day of testing there’s so much excitement within the team, the paddock. For us it was very short-lived, doing three laps this morning and having the fuel pump issue.

“It’s never what you want at the start of the test, but better to have it at the start I guess than the end of a test so we can solve the issue.

“Got out this afternoon and did basic work – brake work, flow-vis for the aero testing. And then we were able to do som runs. Not long runs, not short runs either, on different tyres to just get a feel for the car and tweak things here and there in terms of feel.

“In terms of the feel of the car it’s a nice starting point but the not the mileage that we obviously hoped for the first day of testing,” he concluded.

Button added he was pleased with how well the real MP4-28 corresponded to the version he had driven in the team’s simulator. And he was also happy with how the revised Pirelli tyres felt:

“We were able to get the tyres working on lap one. I think that’s good to see. We always struggle here in the winter, I think every team did.

“I think for all the teams going into the season it’s nicer to know that they can concentrate on their cars and developing their cars in a direction rather than trying to work out why the tyres are not working and why they’re on a knife’s edge.”

He said the new specification tyre is quicker: “but the problem is, for how long?”

“As we saw today there’s a lot of degradation, a lot of people are struggling with graining and I don’t think it’s what we normally see in terms of rear graining, it’s a lot of front graining, and that’s such a difficult thing to get rid of.”

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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50 comments on “Button plays down rapid lap on day one of testing”

  1. so first he moans he can’ get his tyres warmed up, now he’s whining they degrade too fast… always with the excuses jenson!

    its a promising start for him but as said elsewhere, hamilton, alonso and vettel are yet to run… and im also curious what perez will manage…

    1. Well, Perez at very least ought to be faster than Button given he’ll be in the same car and the track will have an extra day’s rubber on it.

    2. Excuses for what? Being the fastest in the session? He’s merely saying that there are issues, as I’m sure every team experienced. Being vocal about it means that it can get sorted. Why would you not want to tell your team about the problems and just be left with a mediocre car, or set-up?

    3. @hoffy: If you knew Button you’d know he wasn’t moaning or whining about anything. He was giving a factual report and observations about a mixed day of testing with a new car and new spec tyres.

      1. oh? and how well do you know Button? But you’re right, he’s no moaner.

    4. I was in the room listening to him, he was just giving an answer to a question, not “moaning” or “whining”.

      1. Its the same thing Alonso is put through. Some people expect perfect PR to flow out of drivers mouths, and so they react negatively to anything remotely human or normal.

        Its responses like hoffy’s which force drivers to go with the “it was good, for sure” one line responses.

        1. I like Jenson’s responses, because he actually lets you know what his thinking is, which adds a lot to our view of what is actually going on in F1.

  2. Nice one Jens, let’s hope this a repeat of the ‘Brawn’ season…

    1. Perez isn’t a Barrichello. I dont think Button will have another 6 out of 7 wins in his career ever again… even with a car a second a lap faster than everyone elses.

      1. I dont think Button will have another 6 out of 7 wins in his career ever again

        @todfod Given that his 2009 streak was a record equalling effort matched only by Alberto Ascari, Juan Manuel Fangio, Jim Clark and Michael Schumacher, that’s not exactly a bold call.

        1. @tdog . Well… Fangio, Ascari, Clark and Schumacher didn’t struggle to get on the podium for the next 10 races in a row. They didn’t get outscored by their teammate for the rest of the season as well.

          I’m just saying that he got lucky once.. but I could bet everything I have on the fact that he will not have a string of races like that in his career again.

      2. @todfod Rubens was a very good driver, so, maybe you are thoughtlessly insulting Perez. His fans might think that is rude.

        1. @mike depends what context of good you are thinking…because when I saw it I read it like such “Perez is better than Barichello”

          1. @magillagorilla

            I read it like that too,
            I just didn’t like it. Always people must put down others.

          2. @mike

            Maybe it might seem harsh.. but the fact is that Barrichello has had a championship winning car for 6 seasons in his career and has had no WDC to show for it. He might be a really nice guy, but not a championship winner.. and not what I would call a really formidable teammate.

            Perez just doesn’t strike me as that kind of under achiever. If he has a race winning car, I expect him to shine and rise to the occasssion. I might be wrong… but heck, its just a point of view

        2. @todfod Too bad you skew reality on that, he may have had 6 but five of them were driven by Shumi and even if Rubens was slightly faster, the team wouldn’t have let him win. Much like Alonso/Massa, now the BGP-001…that’s a different story, Jenson was just better more time in than Rubens.

          1. @magillagorilla

            if Rubens was slightly faster

            Thats a really big ‘if’ . Also dont see why Schuamcher as seen as a god. He was beatable just as everyone else is.

            I’m just stating the facts.. 6 WDC winning cars and no WDCs. I do not know another driver on the grid that has had as many chances to win a title and has not delivered. In fact, if you look at the number of races wins hes had as compared to the number of races he’s driven in a race winning car, you would understand the point I’m trying to make.

            They’re cold hard facts… so I do not know how I was skewing anything in my previous comment

          2. @todfod The same way you just did, like when you told @mike, once again he may have had the car, but he didn’t have the team support to do it. I’m not a Shumi fan either, so try not to run with what I say as if it is an absolute in one direction or the other. Second I’m not a Rubens fan, I’m just trying to clear what you seem to make foggy with bias. The real cold hard facts are numbers don’t tell the story, the actual story and nature of those years do.

            If you wish to ignore the vital fact that Ferrari have a first and second driver, and Rubens was a second driver that had one job, to let Michael Schumacher win or support him toward WDC. This is also shown due to them winning WCC 5 straight years, because Rubens had good finishes. Once again Shumi like Alonso is the golden boy and thus gets fed from a golden spoon, while the other child is cast-off and only called upon when needed.

            So yes I would say your skewing, if your going to go purely off of numbers. If you were trying to show consistency in speed or something else rather than the overall story of what happened I would probably agree, but numbers do not and will not tell the real story.

          3. @magillagorilla

            Do you honestly believe that Rubens would have won a WDC even if he was given equal treatment at Ferrari?

            What annoyed me about Rubens is that he constantly used the symapthy vote (for being a #2 driver) instead of actually getting out there and out there and matching his teammate. I’m not saying he was a terrible driver.. I’m just saying he was never WDC material to begin with.

            I guess we have to agree to disagree on this one. The discussion started out with me comparing Rubens to Sergio in terms of a more formidable teammate… and I do believe Sergio has WDC winning potential.

            I will stick with my opinion that Sergio will be much tougher teammate to Jenson than Rubens, but I guess only time can tell.

          4. @magillagorilla

            Thank you!


            The discussion started out with me comparing Rubens to Sergio in terms of a more formidable teammate

            Don’t be disingenuous, You brought up the Schumi part of this conversation.

            Sergio will be much tougher teammate to Jenson than Rubens

            Honestly I don’t know, But keep in mind that Rubens was outperforming Jenson in the second half of the season, by that time the car wasn’t often capable of wins, but to ignore that is unfair to Rubens. Not taking anything away from Jenson, and I’m not saying that Perez wont eclipse Rubens’ achievements either. But Rubens was a formidable driver on his day.

  3. Something about the front of this car SCREAMS MP4-25…. I loved that car.

    1. Think its the nose that does it. Cue yet another year of clutching at lukewarm promise, a few flashes in the pan then a tail off into the limp obscurity that has characterised Mclaren’s last 3 years. I feel tired already…

  4. Jenson is surely a dark horse for this year..?

    1. @craig-o

      Jenson is surely a dark horse for this year..?

      doubt it.. he´s gonna hit a slump mid season and plus, Perez will give him a hard time!

      1. @catracho504

        I can hardly see Perez being a threat, unless he’s exponentially upped his game. Jenson’s no slouch, and if he’s happy like he was in early 2009 and in 2011, he can be pretty much unbeatable, despite his notable qualifying weakness, in which Perez is not exactly proven in.

    2. I don’t think dark horse it’s the right word for a former World Champion who is currently in a team which have been title competitor for 3 years.I think he shall be the 3rd most popular candidate for this year’s title, lying behind SV and FA

    3. Depends on who you ask. My guess is that this season is going to be a McLaren vs Red Bull battle, which probably means a Button vs Vettel battle. A lot like 2009, in other words. I can even see McLaren/Button jumping out to a lead at the start of the season with RB closing in during the second half as they develop the car and the races shift to “Vettel country” – the Asian circuits.

      I’m not predicting a winner, but I don’t consider Button a dark horse.

      1. I think that sounds like an accurate forecast. But whither Ferrari & Lotus? I’m hoping for an exciting season.

    4. I think that the real dark horse would be Rosberg and than Hamilton. Rosberg is my first bet because he knows the team and the cars characteristics and he also drove well against Schumacher, but Hamilton can adapt quickly and he is a fast as devil. Button as a former champion in a fast McLaren (as we saw in 2013) is no dark horse. And again do not forget about Perez and the two Lotus drivers. I don’t know how Ferrari will bode because of the new wind tunnel and the Toyota wind tunnel for 2013 car.

  5. well one thing is for certain…. nobody knows the fuel loads everybody ran… so yeah.. he got that right, these tests say nothing!

    On the other hand… i always hate the fact that Ferrari always start a full second and a half slower!! It´s irritating… I just hope they ran full fuel loads!

    1. Well, even with fuel load and tyre choice factors considered, 1m18.8 is quite remarkable at Jerez with V8 engine and slick tyres.

      1. Just an FYI,
        Last year there were two 2012 cars that ran in the 1:18’s at the first test in Jerez, they were Romain Grosjean = 1.18.4 and Fernando Alonso = 1.18.8.
        Both with V8s and Slick tyres.

        1. and was the F2012 @ the start of the season

        2. I think you meant they ran soft tyres that were slicks last year, not just slick tyres? Didnt pirelli say this years hars is about equal to last years soft on compound, plus the front tyre is wider? If this is the case then the fastest time of this years test will be a 1 minute 17 point something at least, id think.

          1. *hars*, whoops typo, I meant tyres. Also I forgot to mention the reason for my soft v hard tyres point is that Button was on the hard, i.e the similar compound to last years soft.

          2. dammit double typo haha i meant hard tyres derp :)

        3. Clear this is the comment of the day from Cacarella!

  6. Thanks Keith, everyone wants to knock JB, you only have to listen to him to realise he was just giving a simple answer on how the 1st day went, if he had been last he would have given same feedback – factual not moaning!
    I think that if the Mcaren is a fundamentally quick car then Jenson can beat Vettel in a straight race. I would back him this season to be WDC

  7. Tyres were the key element the last two seasons and probably will be again this year. In 2011 vettel, and Button to an extent. got the hang of the tyres quickly and had strong seasons while other drivers searched for grip. It’s interesting – though perhaps just a coincidence – that these same two drivers struggled with the tyres at first in 2012. So the question is, which drivers will the 2013 rubber favor? We may have a partial answer to that in another few days.

  8. I love how everyone assumes Button is ‘moaning’ when he gives an answer to a question. I think, in some ways, we should feel lucky that some drivers like JB are happy to give us as detailed an answer as they do.

    God forbid they all go down the Kimi route of ‘meh.’

  9. Was at Jerez today…….. Button’s car looked Planted :0)

  10. Of course he played it down. Winter testing lap times are not meaningful, especially on the first day!

    …but I really wish they were :^)

  11. I think people ae getting far too carried away on the basis of one lap time. How do we know, for instance, that Ferrari’s programme did not include flying laps, while McLaren’s did?

  12. Teams are not even running all 2013 aero parts, even assuming that they were planning to run fast laps. These times are meaningless. More meaningful is who broke down and why.

  13. Any ideas on why it took McLaren 5 hours to change that fuelpump, is that normal time or did they make changes to it?

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