Button anxious for more test mileage at McLaren

2013 F1 season

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Jenson Button says McLaren need more testing mileage to understand their MP4-28.

Button told media in Barcelona: “At the moment I wouldn’t have a clue where we are. It’s not really something about either.”

“For us, we haven’t done enough testing. We’re doing a lot of work on understanding the aerodynamics on the car and the systems of the car but I haven’t done any testing yet! ThenNext test is very important for all of us to find the direction with the car.

Button has covered 161 laps in testing so far but faces a largely wasted day tomorrow as rain is forecast at the Circuit de Catalunya:

“I really wish tomorrow was dry because I need to do more testing with the car to have a good understanding with it,” he said.

“There’s so much more that we need to do in terms of set-up work that we haven’t been able to do yet. The next Barcelona test hopefully will be dry and we can get a good feeling with it and run through our set-up work that we would normally do, we haven’t been able to do that yet.”

“It’s been a very difficult few test days for me in terms of mileage,” he added. “It’s been very tricky to understand where the car is.

“At times the car feels good, other times it doesn’t. And a lot of that is basically understanding the car that we have, understanding the way that it’s working, making sure it’s working as we expected to be working. Some of the time that hasn’t been the case and that’s why it’s been a tricky winter so far.

“But as you can see there are times when the car’s working pretty well. Today on hards I did a 22.8 which I don’t think is a bad lap with the fuel the we had on board and obviously Checo [Perez] did a 21.8 on the softs which is also a pretty good lap.

“At Jerez we showed pace, we’ve showed that we don’t have pace at other times. So we don’t know where we are and there’s no point trying to compare ourselves to other people, we’ve got to sort out our own issues and get the best out of the car that we have.”

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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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31 comments on “Button anxious for more test mileage at McLaren”

  1. Why do I have the feeling the complaining has already begun? …… JB should remember he is now a lead-driver!!

    1. Hahahah. +1
      Dont expect much from McLaren with their driver line up.
      The struggle has already begun!!!

    2. I was going to say the same thing. Button is on pole this year for being the first driver to talk down his chances.

      1. Nah he will announce to the world this is the best car he has ever driven with the best technical staff ever assembled behind him and his best chance of winning a world title with McLaren like 2012 before the inevitable “I HAVE NO GRIP” complaints 5 or 6 races into the season with Perez outqualifying him and gradually outracing him.

        1. Yeah it’s all so predictable isn’t it?

        2. Sure, Ginola14. Just like Hamilton was going to wipe the floor with Button when he moved to McLaren.

          1. Why bring Hamilton into this? Then again, if you think Jenson won his 2009 title not because he had the best car but because he is simply the fastest driver out there ahead of Vettel, Hamilton, Raikkonen etc you are entitled to yoru opinion.

        3. These are stupid comments! In times past we used to moan that teams and drivers kept their cards very close to their chests and now a driver speaks with a bit of candour about the ups and downs of testing and he’s making excuses. All the drivers should be this way because its good stuff for we who are genuinely interested in the way these tests unfold. Armchair punditry is not welcome on such subjects because its just purile rubbish!! Also, Remember the MP4 26 which was a disaster in pre-season, ya know that car that JB used to secure 2nd in WDC behind the dominant Red Bull/Vettel combination, both drivers were complaining far more then than they are now so frankly a few minor concerns at this stage bodes well for Mclaren if anything.

    3. I don’t beleve his comments count as complaining, more of airing some obvious implications in changing the design philosophy regarding the front end.

    4. Sviatoslav Andrushko (@)
      22nd February 2013, 9:41

      And you are complaining too about Button’s complaints. I’m a bit sick of it, really. Every pilot saying that it’s bloody difficult to handle with these tyres. This is only second session of tests, you just can’t be perfect from the start! It takes time to adjust chassis to the rubber, especially, to the Pirelli.

  2. This is surprising. I usually get the impression McLaren don’t do much running for reasons I don’t quite understand, but it seems they’ve encountered some problems. Also, I didn’t take note of the times when they felt they were not competitive, because they could simply have been running a high fuel load.

  3. That McLaren looks almost white, it fooled me for a second into being a BAR Honda!

    1. So true. The way the light hits the car in that picture, it looks like Jenson is using a throwback livery.

  4. There are worrying signs in what Button says. First of all the set-up work that apparently hasn’t been done properly yet. It’s a choice that McLaren has made, to focus on understanding the car aerodynamically (which is not th worst of decisions, considering they have made a lot of revisions to their 2012 car). If you look at Williams: they have had four days less and they have already done a lot of set-up work.

    The second thing that I find worrying is that the car’s behaviour changes from time to time. I hope this is a consequence of the aero work they are doing, but if that’s not the reason you’ve got a pretty serious problem: if the driver doesn’t know what to expect fro the car, how can he then drive on the limit?

    McLaren needs to fight for the Championship in 2013, having missed out on the previous four by quite some margin. Though I hope (and suspect) they’re like a cat and land on their feet just in time for Melbourne qualifying.

    1. The behaviour of the car being inconsistent was an issue akin to the Ferrari last year and the F2012 was revolutionary too…

      Will not jump to any conclusions but just to note, surely a car’s setup is centred around operating the car mechanically, which differs from the aerodynamics of the car but if a car mechanically is not good then how are you able to exploit the car’s aerodynamic potential

      1. That’s not strictly true though, the car is set up using both mechanical and aero alterations, for instance wing configuration and pitch.

  5. JB won’t have Lewis’ setup to fall back on this year when the “balance” inevitably goes away from him… & from his comments, it seems the balance already has one foot through the door. McLaren had better hope Checo has the ability to guide them to a competitive setup, or much like Button’s performance before he copied Lewis’ setup past year, they’ll be lost at sea more often than not.

    1. 9 times out of 10 during their partnership Lewis copied Jenson’s setup and when he didn’t he usually got it wrong. Take Spa for example last year and Monza 2010. Jenson’s problem last year was misunderstanding the tyres and the race in which he copied Lewis’s baseline setup was Canada which was about as useful as a chocolate teapot as it turned out (to JB anyway). After that he reverted to the cars pre season baseline setup and went from there. Lewis and Jenson certainly divide opinion, its a shame they also seem to remove objectivity from their fans, especially Lewis’s fans. As a fan of F1 I care more for the teams than the drivers and as a Mclaren disciple for many years I have thoroughly enjoyed having them as team mates and its a shame its over!! Given all the detractors I think Mclaren are brilliantly poised to spring a pleasant surprise this year.

      1. 9 times out of 10 during their partnership Lewis copied Jenson’s setup

        Any evidence for this claim? I think it was pretty much give and take between the two to b honest – just like good team mates (which they were) should. Only towards the end did it get a little bit frosty in terms of data sharing.

        1. Evidence, I’m only echoing what many have said before me.

          Frostyness over data sharing? That only arose because Lewis Shared data with the wrong people i.e. everyone on Twitter!

      2. Just look at the last year, JB struggled almost first half of the seaon.
        Jenson coped Lewis set up for the second half of the season.

        1. ESPN is not a reputable source.

          1. Hhhhhhhhh good way to support JB, u can check with any other source. fact is fact.

  6. Or it could be deliberate sandbagging. Shadows and whispers are part of the game at this point.

    1. Or maybe a realistic assessment of where they are in their programme? If everything is perfect with the car and totally understood why bother testing? You can’t have it both ways either you want the drivers to give honest feedback or your want PR speak. Please lets not proliferate this myth that Button is a whinger.

      1. Please lets not proliferate this myth that Button is a whinger

        I love Button, he’s a great ambassador for F1 and the UK, but he does moan an awful lot on the radio you have to admit. This is why he has a reputation for being a little bit of a goldilocks driver.

        It isn’t simply a myth.

  7. Button says the car is an enigma, and Perez is positive and says that it’s leap years ahead of what it was in Jerez. I guess both could be right…. It’s so hard remembering that this is all pretty meaningless, and we won’t have any solid idea until Melbourne. Dammit.

  8. I wouldn’t read too much into this statement from Button. He’s always one to provide a more detailed assessment of his car than the average ‘it’s good but we need to work on it a lot but it’s good.’

    Also it’s worth noting that Perez claimed just the other (per James Allen’s blog) day that McLaren had made a “Huge leap” forward between Jerez and Barcelona. I think all of the teams are just blowing smoke at this point to avoid revealing what they do know about their relative performance, and McLaren is always pretty cloak-and-dagger anyways.

  9. I wouldn’t worry if I was a McLaren fan, to be honest. At least not from reading this. I’m sure this is more or less where all the teams are at the minute. Like @hallard says above, he’s just being a bit more detailed and critical, which is generally how Button tends to be when describing the car.

  10. i find interesting how Button is the first driver to mention he did a lap with lots of fuel. his comment about Sergio’s lap suggests he had low fuel

  11. How many drivers actually say the car is a bag of ***** like it may be but say ‘the cars good but we need to improve’

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