Dennis urges Button to raise his game

F1 Fanatic Round-up

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In the round-up: McLaren boss Ron Dennis says he wants Jenson Button to try harder.


Your daily digest of F1 news, views, features and more.

Jenson Button needs to improve, says McLaren’s Ron Dennis (The Guardian)

“Do I want him to try harder? Of course I do. He’s a highly paid grand prix driver. Yes, we are not giving him the best car; yes, it would be challenging for him to win in this car to say the least, but he could do his bit and Kevin has to make it as difficult for him as possible.”

Consortium behind purchase of Caterham F1 (Adam Cooper’s F1 Blog)

“A Swiss-Middle Eastern consortium is understood to be behind the takeover of Caterham F1, in a deal that will be confirmed in the coming days.”

Sutil doesn’t regret Sauber move (Autosport)

“I had wonderful years with Force India, and I needed a change and I went to Sauber.”

Smedley instils ‘no fear’ attitude at Williams (ESPN)

“My message to everybody after the race is that when you are racing up at the sharp end it comes down to the little details. When you get the details wrong that’s what happens, you go from first to fourth.”

Hamilton: In karting, some of the kids had more money than me… I was just faster! (Daily Mail)

“My stepmother Linda gave up the idea of going shopping and getting nice new purses and clothes to keep me racing. She would be in the back of this box trailer we had, next to a gas fire, sitting with my brother on her lap and with a pot of noodle soup. It was the best.”

How Honda developed a hybrid F1 car (Racecar Engineering)

“Development began in earnest in the summer of 2007, and in just nine months, track tests were conducted using the prototype vehicle RA1082 (a vehicle built to check the system functionality). The technology then went into the RA1089 (race prototype) and then it was planned to be installed in the RA109K (racing vehicle) in 2009.”

Austria 2014 – race edit (F1)

Video highlights from the Austrian Grand Prix.


Comment of the day

Not long ago people were asking for more team radio communications to be played in F1 broadcasts. But do we now need less of it?

Modern engineer-generated driving removes huge areas of potential mistakes or driver interpretation from the races, which are two of the areas where overtaking and great racing comes from.

Keep all the electronics as they are, but ban pit-to-car radio. Instead, just have a set of standard messages they’re allowed to send to the dash: “pit this lap”, “retire car”, “five-second penalty”, etc… If a stewards decision has to be communicated to the driver, instead of Charlie taking to the team, he tells the driver directly.

From the forum

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On this day in F1

The most celebrated piece of racing Formula One has ever witnessed occurred on this day 35 years ago.

While Jean-Pierre Jabouille gave Renault their first victory with their previously derided 1.5-litre turbocharged car, his team mate Rene Arnoux was bested in a no-holds-barred battle for second place with Ferrari’s Gilles Villeneuve.

You’ve probably seen this clip dozens of times before. But even so, take a moment to relive the glorious sequence in full – and note just how far back Villeneuve was before launching his all-wheels-locked dive down the inside of Arnoux to reclaim his lost position. Scintillating.

Image © McLaren/LAT

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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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119 comments on “Dennis urges Button to raise his game”

  1. The Villeneuve/Arnoux battle is probably the greatest moment of wheel to wheel racing F1 has ever seen. Truly amazing.

    1. Because of the intense emotions involved, Keith forgot o mention that this fight happened during the French GP of 1979 in Dijon. It is shocking that those two monsters weren’t even fighting for first place, but for second.
      And yes, I agree with In_Silico when he says that “The Villeneuve/Arnoux battle is probably the greatest moment of wheel to wheel racing F1 has ever seen. Truly amazing.” Villeneuve’s overtake was epic.

    2. The way it ought to be !

    3. Great racing!

    4. Why was the championship leader Jody Scheckter lapped during that race?

    5. Good thing that Arnoux gave up the 2nd place, otherwise Charlie would have told him to give up the place for gaining an unfair advantage while exceeding track limits during one of the overtakes.

      1. What I also loved about that duel was that afterwards GV and RA went into a broadcasters tent and watched their battle replayed on tape, arm in arm, having a great laugh and a great time reliving what they too knew was special and was what racing can truly be.

  2. Just read the “fan boost” nonsense I’m Formula E is to be tweaked.

    It wasn’t deemed powerful enough so they’ve ramped up the bhp available to the top three drivers in the fan vote.

    * slow clap *

    1. Slow clap indeed. A ridiculous idea. Why not give the least popular driver a puncture too? I was planning to go to a FE meeting. Don’t think I’ll bother now.

      1. I’m really in to FE, but this is probably my least favorite aspect. But, I can see why they are trying to do something to get fans involved. If it doesn’t work at least they can toss it out without sullying decades of tradition.

        1. Me too, I see it as the first tentative step into the wipeout-esque future that sony has taught me to expect.

          But I’d rather have lasers over tweets.

    2. maarten.f1 (@)
      1st July 2014, 10:46

      They should’ve made it SMS voting, might as well make a bit of extra cash out of it.

      1. Shhh, Bernie might be listening…

        1. Hahahahahahaha !

  3. Honestly, Hamilton is getting my tired of “i was poorer than rosberg” Go on, cry baby, it’s right that the money doesn’t give you talent (as per Ricardo Rosset, right?) but just being fast is not enough. Ask Hulkemberg about it…

    1. HS (@hsvdt15)
      1st July 2014, 1:48

      @matiascasali I agree man, the way he is carrying on makes it sound like he had it hardest out of any F1 driver there has ever been.

    2. I take it you didn’t actually read the article… If you did you would note it had nothing to do with Rosberg.He also credits all the drivers around him at the time and says he can’t explain how he beat them. His reference to money was directed at new talent currently racing, and how he got started. I think its more of a motivational message to others than him crying about his past or bigging himself up. The whole article was about his past and where it all started. He explained they were great memories and isn’t actually crying about anything.

      1. i actually read the article, and even if he recall some fonde memories of a simplest past, about karting and late braking, every now and then he drops the “i-was-poor-and-nico-wasn’t” card. C’mon, i’m not saying he isn’t a gifted driver. In fact, i think he’s really more mature as a driver with the same ruthlesness as ever. But he just got my tired of comparing his upbringing with Nico. It’s Nico’s fault to be born of a F1 champion and millonaire? have any less merit? he is blistering fast too. Not as fast as Lewis, perhaps, but the millonaire vs council house tenant is uncalled…

        1. At no point in that article does he mention Rosberg. All he said was that some of the other karters had more money.

          1. and next to that, he’s speaking about his relationship with Rosberg. Come on, i’ve already said this, Lewis is a great driver, but his constant PR crying of how poor was he, is just annoying…

    3. @matiascasali try reading the article. Those that can do, those that can’t write about how much they hate Lewis Hamilton.

      1. i did, now i’m wondering if you did, or at least if you read my comment…

        1. @matiascasali give it a second read mate. I guess you twisting it a bit.

          1. i just did. And the more i read, the more i think that Lewis (or his PR Manager, for that matter) is trying ti appeal to the lower class… a millonaire saying “i was as poor as you, and now i’m in F1, against all odds! well… if your career is being groomed by mclaren (due to your undisputable talent), isn’t really a cindirella story to me. You know what does this reminds me? this: (ok, it may be a little exagerated :D )

    4. michaelknight87
      1st July 2014, 8:47

      Are you implying that Hulkenberg is as slow as Rosset? ;) Because his family is one of the richest in our town …

      1. No. But what i think now is that Hulkemberg should call Rosset manager.. if someone as talentless as Rosset drove in F1 because of his money, then, Hulkemberg should go directly to Mercedes! :D

    5. Read the article you chump.

  4. F1 wanted artificial noise and Lewis Hamilton keeps stepping up.
    Personally, I would recommend new body-modification to go with his tattoos and piercings — a solid gold zipper across his lips.

    1. Another one who didn’t read the article ?

      1. I didn’t read the article either and I’m really not interested. I can’t move away from lewis spending a year sulking because he fell out with his father and the split up with Nicole and he used that as an excuse for his miserable interviews and his poor performance on track. I’ve seen him walking around the track being rude to fans and shaking them off his shoulders whenever its not convenient. Being miserable, rude and unprofessional when he doesn’t win. I’m not interested in anything he says as he seems superficial and immature. For example, He said Senna was his all time favourite driver and then I saw him in an interview and he said something totally different – changeable, no consistency, regardless of his speed, he’s still only won one championship. I’ve lost all respect for the man, and I don’t think he’s ever going to win me back!

        1. Chris (@tophercheese21)
          1st July 2014, 10:54

          You should write for those tabloid magazines like “Woman’s Weekly”.

        2. “I didn’t read the article either and I’m really not interested.” – but you’re interested enough to say your point ?

          The problem with not reading an article means you don’t know the facts before commenting. You wanted to have your say on problems you have with Hamilton, that’s fine. But, if you took the time to read what he’s saying some of your views may change.

          I’ve seen ever driver on the grid turn down fans at some point. If someone wants a photo in the middle of qualifying or after hes just had a DNF of course hes not going to be in the best mood for that. Kimi has done much worse in terms of fans and photographers, but everyone still seems to love him, despite his only one championship and inconsistency.

          He’s always stuck by Senna being his idol, he even mentions his name again IN THE ARTICLE.

          He also mentions how his dad and family helped him get to where he is today. He knows he owes them everything, so maybe that’s why in your opinion he was sulking for a year.( I don’t remember it)

        3. Hop on over to the Daily Mail

          1. Love your comments. Can’t hack someone not liking lewis? Well grow up. Your as immature and sulky as he is. Not everything goes or way, not everyone likes lewis.

  5. OmarR-Pepper (@)
    1st July 2014, 1:49

    Why is the SAME Hamilton article again here?
    Another web maybe? it’s exactly the same.

    1. @omarr-pepper
      It’s a new article I believe.

      1. I get the impression there were several media types at the go-kart track as there is a reference from yesterday’s article that some of them were also racing on the track. So I’m assuming there were several mics on Lewis from several media, so some of the quotes are identical whereas there are some quotes in one article and not the other as chosen by the authors to shape their articles.

        To those who say ‘read the article, there’s nothing about Rosberg’ I’d have to ask you to re-read the article yourselves. He basically says he wants Nico to finish every race but he himself be ahead of him so that way he knows he’s done a better job…ie. Nico should not feel good about his points lead as it is because of his 2 DNFs.

        So to those who would claim the same…that NR ONLY leads because of LH’s dnfs I looked up LH’s Championship season only to be reminded that that year FM, who he beat by one point, started the season off with 2 retirements, and had one other in Hungary, to LH’s one retirement that year. So LH, I’m sure in an ideal world you’d like to simply beat a healthy NR fair and square…that’s admirable…but it rarely happens and dnfs are part of the game that can sometimes work for you. He should know…and he also knows NR had nothing to do with LH’s woes earlier in the year and can’t be blamed for them. I’m sure NR would rather be beating LH without LH’s dnfs too, but one can’t wind back the clock, can one? If one could, then to be consistent with the rhetoric that goes on this year about his dnfs, what if FM had only 2 retirements to LH’s one in 2008?

  6. Re COTD from another angle – the team radio that gets broadcast over the TV – I really don’t like. I know it’s only a sliver of the communications that goes on and whoever is making the decision as to what get retransmitted to the rest of the world has a huge influence on the narrative of the race. It’s an influence that I don’t like.

    1. your in the minority there, team radio was something many fans were asking for more of for years.

      fom have responded by first bringing team radio over to the world feed & more recently creating the pit lane channel & team radio stuff on the mobile app.

      it can also be incredibly useful, just look at montreal we immediately knew that both mercedes were suffering problems because we heard the radio calls.

      i love the team radio broadcasts, i find them fascinating (Especially on the pits channel where we get extra details over the weekend) & it woudl be as aspect I would miss terribly if it was ever done away with.

      1. Julian (@julianwins)
        1st July 2014, 4:47

        I don’t think you quite understand what he meant in his post. He wasn’t saying that team radio was bad. He was saying that the team radio that FOM “Choose” to be broadcasted can affect the narrative of the race in whatever direction they so choose. If they want to create a huge battle, then only broadcast the team radio of the two drivers battling, only include negative team radio, etc…

        1. Yes, thanks. I do enjoy it too but it’s very easy to get sucked into drawing conclusions about drivers etc after only hearing specially chosen snippets of radio.
          Rather than get rid of it entirely, it’s one area where F1 could leap into new media delivery and give the audience the choice of listening to team radio over internet. None, all or specific teams.
          I don’t know how it’d work and it might be more than most watchers could be bothered with but it’d be interesting.

          1. That would require FOM to join us in the 21st century. I believe it is technically possible to offer a choice of team radio channels much like they do with onboard camera footage.

            An example of where selective team radio influenced the perception of a driver was Australia 2013 when Raikkonen complained about getting blue flags (actually the blue light on his display). Jenson Button complained about the same thing at the same time but his radio wasn’t broadcast.

        2. They can’t broadcast it all, so someone has to decide what’s broadcast and what isn’t. When anyone decides anything, there are always people who disagree. And there would be people who’d disagree if they decided not to broadcast anything. They’ll never make everyone happy, but I think that the current system of broadcasting important/interesting messages is a good compromise.

      2. I watched the 2003 British GP on SKY the other night and it wasn’t till about 2/3 of the way through the race that I realised there was no team radio being broadcast and, to be honest, I didn’t miss it.

  7. In regards to COTD, They couldn’t ditch the pit to car radio as there pretty much required to run the cars & there’s no way a driver could be expected to memorize everything that needs controlling.

    Its not just about fuel setting anymore, Many aspects of the cars running is controlled by the wheel from the KERS, Brake by wire systems, Differential, Gearbox, Clutch & many more things.

    Its the same in most other top categories now, You need to have these settings on the wheel & need to be able to communicate to the driver to change things occasionally just to keep the car running.

    There’s also the safety concern, If the team can see something is about to fail they have to be able to get that to the driver immediately, Not just for his safety but also for the safety of other drivers.
    Also what if there’s oil on track, some other debris or a car having spun/crashed or whatever, That could be a highly dangerous situation.

    Messages on the dash would just be a distraction in some cases, Especially if the message needed to be a bit more complex. There was a message to Button earlier in the year where he was told to perform a series of button presses to fix an issue, Couldn’t have that on a dash & without the driver been able to fix the problem the alternative was perhaps retirement or at the least a lengthy pit stop taking the driver out of contention.

    Like with other things like carbon brakes, paddle shift gearboxes, aerodynamics etc…. You can’t turn back time or make everyone forget about them…. There all here to stay & its wrong to ban them just because some feel it should go back to been just car/driver with outside input limited or non-existent, Those days went with the 70s & ain’t coming back.

    1. All of your points are invalid (sorry).

      1. radio may or may not be “required” to run the car today, but it is not fundamentally required to run a racing car in general. If pit-to-car was outlawed then teams would just deal with it and design around that, and they’d all be in the same boat.

      Drivers are quite capable of adjusting things on the car, given a suitable interface to do so and sufficient feedback from the car. For more complex issues there is always the pit. You would still have a system for calling a driver into the pit, or telling them to stop the car, and things like blue flags.

      2. for emergency/safety issues there are many possibilities, from the traditional flags/lights on the track, to pit boards, to having a specific safety message system into the car. At the most basic level you tell the driver to stop or pit.

      3. On the contrary, rules can do whatever you like and in the interest of F1 being a sport and a show, limiting today’s backseat driving by the engineering crew via the radio would be excellent.

      1. @tigen,@paul-a, very true, you can go back, we don’t have traction control, we don’t have anti-lock braking, we also have never had driver operated aerodynamic aids (DRS excepted), we did have remote control of car settings from the pits but outlawed it only to have the same settings appear on the steering wheel to be operated by the driver under instruction from the same engineers that used to do it remotely.
        If a driver cannot adjust his wing angle why should he be able to adjust his differential ?
        As Paul says, it would be a very effective way of cost cutting and reducing the disadvantage the less affluent teams are saddled with, Bernie and Todt talk cost cutting but their actions always lead to more costs.

    2. You write: “there’s no way a driver could be expected to memorize everything that needs controlling.” In the currently outrageous state of F1, I agree, but… how about simplifying the cars so that the drivers can actually drive them. Side effects include cost-cutting, better understanding by spectators (particularly newcomers), and a better competitive sport if we can get back to the basic notion of “man and machine, may the best win.” If you need a dozen or more geeks in front of computer screens to give instructions to drivers, you might just as well stay home and play nintendo (“leave luck to heaven.”)

  8. Ban pit-to-car radio? Why do we want to artificially go back to the 60s and 70s? Not all races in those days were classics you know. The percentage of races that were exciting back then is same as it is now.

    1. It would be an even bigger step backwards than that – sportscar racing has been using two way radios before F1 even came into existence (the first example was in 1948).

      Furthermore, we’ve seen many here praise sportscar racing for supposedly having better racing, yet in sportscar racing car management via radio transmissions is far, far more prevalent. One Audi engineer discussed in advance of the 24 Hours of Le Mans how they were managing the race via radio every single lap in order to hit fuel and tyre wear targets, but the ACO tends to broadcast only very small fragments of the radio transmissions (if it broadcasts any at all) during the race.

      1. And that children is what marketting is all about!

  9. Do the decent thing, Adrian, and go for another change: leaving F1 !

    1. @ fer-no65 PLEEEEASSSE read this comment Adrian – let’s get some talent back into F1!

      1. Good idea. At the half way point of every season the teams should be made to replace their worst performing driver.
        Byebye Lewis, auf wiedersehen Seb, näkemiin Kimi, adeus Felipe, adjöss Kevin, hasta la vista Sergio, adios Pastor, do svidaniya Daniil, despedida Esteban, farewell Max and sayōnara Kamui.
        Replace those crap drivers and get some talent back into F1!

        (Note for Bernie: this is a joke suggestion. Please don’t.)

      2. Starting with the Sauber design team. Seriously, what a trolley it is this season. Two drivers who have never shown any future championship-winning potential don’t exactly help either.

  10. “If Lewis [Hamilton] was in a position to drive for us next year, as with many of the other top drivers if they were in that position, we would love to have them on board”
    Pretty clear Ron is saying that Jenson isn’t one of the top 5 drivers on the grid. Ouch. There’s no way Button is going to be at McLaren next year – the boss doesn’t rate him.

    1. Chris (@tophercheese21)
      1st July 2014, 10:55

      There’s no question that Button is not a Top 5 driver.

  11. Re COTD: couldn’t agree more, let the drivers decide what’s best for the car, make him in charge of his own machine again.

  12. Ron needs to shut his mouth and take a look in the mirror. Build the guy a better car. I could see if he was having terrible results but no, Jenson sits 8th in the championship. It was 7th before Austria, but Bottas moved ahead with his podium.

    However, the fact is, there is no way Jenson should sit in 7th or 8th in the championship with the truck that he’s driving. There is arguably, 4 to 5 teams with better pace than McLaren at the moment. I think Ron should be praising his drivers, not throwing them under the bus like Helmut Marko. What a joke.

    1. I think Ron is making his point, loud and clear. JB is an average driver whom he would never have signed. This is all part of getting the team to where they should be. You have to wonder what an Alonso or Hamilton could do in that McLaren. The problem is that any sort of unstable car and JB is nowhere. Give him a rocket and he’s up there with the best.

      1. You seriously think Alonso and Hamilton would do better? The Ferrari is arguably faster than the McLaren at the moment, what is so special that Fernando has done? He’s been more consistent but it’s hard to say that Fernando and Lewis would be world beaters in that McLaren.

        1. World beaters no. Rookie beaters, yes. Gap should be a lot bigger.

        2. Yes. Im not a Hamilton fan, so I dont keep track of many of his accomplishments, but Alonso trashed Massa (who got pole last race) and is trashing Raikkonen (who is an actual champion).

        3. @sward28

          You seriously think Alonso and Hamilton would do better? The Ferrari is arguably faster than the McLaren at the moment, what is so special that Fernando has done?

          What are you on about???

          Have you seen Fernando and Lewis drive mediocre cars? Look at 2012 for Fernando’s performance in a car that was arguably thr 4th or 5th quickest at the start of the season. Look at Hamilton in 2009.

          Would Fernando be doing a better job than Jenson in that Mclaren?
          Hell yes, the Ferrari this year isn’t any better than the Mclaren… just look at Kimis performances compared to Jenson and Kevin to get a better assessment.

          Jenson is mediocre at best. Don’t see how even Jenson himself could argue otherwise

      2. Might as well sack Raikkonen while we are at it right? Because, what the heck, he’s not cutting it.

      3. If JB is an average driver, what does that make Hamilton, considering their relative performances while team mates??

        1. You mean the disguised thrashing Jenson received in 2010 and 2012?

          If you were to judge Button’s point totals in those 2 seasons relative to Hamilton’s , you would be disguising the fact that he was thrashed on every Saturday, and was thrashed on every Sunday where setup gambles weren’t the differentiating factor between drivers.

          2011, was Button’s best season to date, and 2011 was Hamilton’s poorest. So there is no arguing that Jenson did better in that year.

      4. The answer to what Hamilton or Alonso would have done with that car is probably “not much more” – the car itself is fundamentally flawed in its conception, something that Ron seems rather unwilling to admit.
        Besides, wasn’t the entire point of hiring Magnussen because he was expected to be close to Button’s pace quite quickly? If Magnussen wasn’t able to at least sometimes beat Button, wouldn’t that imply that McLaren had made a mistake in hiring him?

        The bigger problem with McLaren is not the drivers, but the designers – they’ve tried lots of gimmicks over the years, but have not managed to produce one that yielded a decisive competitive advantage.
        Ron, to my mind, seems to be singling Button out not because of his performance, but because he makes an easy target due to his association with Whitmarsh.

      5. “JB is an average driver whom he would never have signed.” Thing is Ron did sign him, in 2009. Whitmarsh wanted to sign Heidfeld but Ron signed Button instead.

      6. “You have to wonder what an Alonso or Hamilton could do in that McLaren.”

        We saw Hamilton in the same Mclaren as Button for three seasons, and what he did was … pretty much exactly the same thing as what Button did. I see no reason to believe that Hamilton would be doing any better than Button if he were driving this years McLaren.

    2. Not to mention, if Ron thinks Jenson, 14 pts up on his rookie teammate, in a dog of a car is not good enough. Then what the heck is Lewis Hamilton doing, down 29 pts to his. When clearly Lewis has had more pace than Nico over the season. Just misfortune has nabbed him. Ridiculous comments from Ron.

      1. 2 car failures for Lewis compared to 0 for Rosberg – first one when on pole, second when in the lead. Simple maths.

        1. Jenson has outraced Kevin 6-2 over the year so far. Don’t know what more he could do to beat him.

        2. I apologize, I think it’s more the way Ron has worded it that has got me fired up. The fact that he says Jenson needs to “try harder” really gets me. If you are professional race car driver, would you not be giving everything you have to beat your teammate or anyone else for that matter. Just such a silly statement in my opinion.

          1. And once again you have to realise this is Ron answering questions, it’s not a report of Jenson being hauled over the coals in Rons office. Also keep in mind that Ron and Jenson are preparing to negotiate Jensons pay for next year, Jenson hasn’t a care in the world, he knows how valuable he is, conversely Ron hasn’t a care in the world, he knows there are lots of talented drivers who would pay millions for a drive at Mclaren, that’s their stories and they are sticking to them.

    3. The words “highly paid grand prix driver” leap out at me from that quote. Looks like Ron is arranging a pay cut for Button.

    4. @sward28

      Ron isn’t a fan of mediocrity. Which is why he is asking Jenson to try harder.

      The car isn’t great, but if Jenson is the #1 driver at a top team like Mclaren, he should be pulling one out of the bag once in a while. No crying, complaining and moaning his way throughout the weekend

      Fernando has had c r a p box cars last year, this year, 2012, etc. Yet he gives it his all and still pulls podiums out of the bag. A top team like Mclaren is ging to demand the absolute best of it’s drivers, no matter how bad the car.

      The fact is that Jenson just isn’t good enough to be #1 driver at Mclaren, and I don’t see how he could be driving for them again next year.

    5. Considering that Jenson is probably paid like 10x more than Kevin, I imagine Ron wants more speed than +0.3 secs to your rookie team mate in Q. In my mind, it is 4-4, but Kevin was unlucky to get in a tangle with Kimi at 2 races, skewing it to 6-2.

  13. WilliamB (@william-brierty)
    1st July 2014, 8:30

    It’s strange that Ron feels inclined to put pressure on his lead driver when Jenson is currently one of the few assets McLaren have. Yes, he’s no Hamilton or Alonso, but right now the MP4-29 is certainly no W05, and ever since his win at Sao Paulo JB hasn’t had the car to win, but has invariably had the speed on his teammate; with both Perez and probably Magnussen two impressive scalps to add to the fact that he outscored Hamilton during their partnership. Magnussen was intended to pressurize Button, but with Kevin having outraced JB in just two races so far, I would suggest he has failed to do so, and with Honda technical challenge of 2015 requiring and experienced and calm head, why is it so inconvenient for Ron Dennis to admit that Button is continuing to do an excellent job and has experience that would likely be invaluable in 2015?

    1. Because Ron Dennis never really does compliments.

      It’s always a nuanced over-worded explanation on how the team is striving for perfection, all the while painting any fault at anyone’s door other than Project 4.

      1. Yeah while I get that Ron is Ron, and maybe he even thinks he is going to push JB by saying what he has, I’d be quite surprised if JB wasn’t already trying his hardest. In an era of fuel, tire, and brake conservation it can’t be easy to push harder without stretching one or more of those three components, while at the same time being told by your engineer when you can and cannot race. The Mac is obviously not great, and one must wonder, and not just for JB, how often, when he IS allowed to race the car, is it actually feeling hooked up and he confident in it at those particular times, to race.

        1. We havent had much fuel or tyre conservation, I dare go as far as saying most drivers shouldnt be using 100kg of fuel per race anymore.

        2. WilliamB (@william-brierty)
          1st July 2014, 15:20

          @robbie – It’s perhaps an even more superficial remark than that, in that a) he was answering a question from a journo, and b) the entire ethos of a profoundly floundering McLaren must be one of universal internal improvement when they don’t have a convenient culprit engine manufacturer to blame like Red Bull have. So instead of Ron saying, “the technical guys have lost the plot”, which would not be inaccurate, it is far more in the spirit of F1, the ultimate team sport, to suggest that all concerned need to raise their game. In reality Button has been outraced on just two occasions this year by Magnussen and is continuing to do a perfectly decent job.

        3. I’d like to add that Jenson along with Hulk is one of the tallest drivers in F1. They reckon that can be a couple of hundreths per lap which is what someone said Jenson was short on Lewis ,Alonso and Vettel. Therefore if Jenson was shorter he’d be up there with them

  14. Looking at who is currently out of contract for 2015, the only top driver available really is Grosjean, who I feel is doing much better at the moment than Button. I’ve seen lots of suggestions of Vandoorne too but he’s simply not delivering the results on a consistent basis in GP2 at the moment.

    1. WilliamB (@william-brierty)
      1st July 2014, 10:24

      @craig-o – The problem with Vandoorne is not that he’s under-performing in GP2, the fact that he won his first race in a series so dependent on experience in evidence enough of his prolific brilliance, but that a Magnussen-Vandoorne partnership would likely struggle to carry the weight of the Honda powertrain’s setup and development on such little F1 experience. And with McLaren’s sight ultimately set on Alonso for 2016, signing Grosjean to replace Button for a single season would simply be a turbulent stop-gap period. If Alonso can’t be lured, and if the influence of James Allison becomes felt on the 2015 Ferrari, Grosjean would be an excellent alternative though; especially with Boullier already at McLaren. Hulkenberg could also be an option, but it appears his destiny is to replace Raikkonen at Ferrari in the near future.

      1. The problem Vandoorne has had is the Pirelli tyres.

        At Bahrain they didn’t suffer much degredation & getting the lead early he was able to manage the pace a bit anyway.
        In the latter races where they have suffered a lot more deg & required much more management he’s had a harder time understanding them when compared to the experienced drivers who have had a years years on them. Au Austria they were back to suffering very little deg & he was back on the podium.

        With the old Bridgestones you could push hard all race as you could in the other lower categories so a driver jumping from F3 to GP2 just had the cars to figure out. These Pirelli’s are so different to anything else in terms of how they work & how you best use them that I don’t think were ever going to see a rookie jump upto GP2 & be immediately fighting for regular wins/championship (Something Will Buxton has said many times is also the belief in the GP2 paddock).

        People often complain that the drivers who do well in GP2 the past few years have been the drivers that have been there a while & I believe a big part of that is that they understand the Pirelli tyres.

        If they want to have the High-deg tyres in F1 fine, But I always felt that the lower categories should have rock hard tyres that allows drivers to push hard for the 40-60 minutes there racing.
        The racing in GP2 was also better Pre-Pirelli anyway, Wasn’t much (If any) management because the races were so short & drivers raced hard throughout. What you have now is 90% of the race there managing tyres & then you get the final 5-10 laps of interest at the very end while those who have saved tyres move forward & those who haven’t drop back.

        Perhaps no coincidence that Austria was a great race considering that the tyres were very conservative & allowed drivers to race hard.

        1. WilliamB (@william-brierty)
          1st July 2014, 13:20

          But we should be seeing rookie champions in junior series, as it is in this respect that a Hulkenberg or a Frijns sets themselves apart from a Valsecchi or an Aleshin. You are of course right about the Pirellis, and it is not just Vandoorne being penalized, but Marciello, Evans, Abt and Rossi, whilst Palmer is looking set to be the fifth consecutive GP2 champion with at least three full seasons of experience prior to their successful championship campaign. That is completely unacceptable. Whilst FR3.5 is remarkably dull compared with GP2 due to the lack of degradation, GP2 and FR3.5 is about finding stars of the future, and I think a GP2 adoption of the Michelin rubber that is consistently finding the best of the talent would be an improvement for the series.

          1. Why is it considered so unacceptable that a driver should have to spend a few seasons in a lower series before entering F1?

            There was a quite well written argument by Will Buxton that, if anything, drivers should spend more time in junior series rather than being rushed through into F1.
            Just consider the fate of a driver like Jan Magnussen – a talented driver, but one who, by his own admission, was completely mentally unprepared for F1 and completely overwhelmed by the experience. Hulkenberg, too, has stated that, in retrospect, he made the jump to F1 with Williams slightly too early and almost paid for it when unable to deal with some of the more frustrating races that season (remember his outburst during the qualifying session of the 2010 Singapore GP?).

            There is a fine line between “finding stars of the future” and burning them out through forcing them into a higher series before they can develop their skills properly.

          2. WilliamB (@william-brierty)
            1st July 2014, 21:47

            The task of the junior divisions is simple, we want to find the best young talent in the world and help it reach the pinnacle of motorsport, the process however is highly complex. On that record, the balance of experience, between finding a Frijns or prematurely promoting a Sirotkin, is crucial. Your point, or rather Buxton’s, is valid, we want drivers, like Vettel, who season with the seasons, and we also want the prolific talents of Hamilton and Hulkenberg. However the question posed by GP2 is whether these seasons of experience are making the drivers in question better racing drivers, or merely better GP2 drivers. The fact that experienced champions Valsecchi and Leimer have been blanked by F1, and that Maldonado had to buy his way in, whilst FR3.5 frontrunners Bianchi, Magnussen, Ricciardo and Vergne are all making good impressions suggests the later.

            Another central issue is the fact that the expiry date for a young hopeful with F1 ambitions is growing ever younger, and whilst GP2 drivers are racking up the seasons, the attention of the teams in F1 will always naturally shift away from the older drivers and onto those that impress with less experience. In that regard it appears logical to me for GP2 to have a formula that doesn’t require prerequisite knowledge of the chassis/tyres, as with FR3.5, GP3 and FIA F3, thus allowing drivers to be on the pace straight away. This prevents drivers hitting the age ceiling, as Sam Bird did, but with most of the drivers promoted to F1 in recent the young performers of FR3.5 and GP3 already, a move to harder tyres and a more benign chassis in GP2 would not see drivers prematurely promoted but simply widen the pool of talent teams have to choose from to include GP2.

            Could you give me a link to Buxton’s article?

            Regarding Hulkenberg, the only occasion I can recall where he claimed he had been promoted prematurely was after Williams dropped him, and was clearly attempting to rationalize the decision. And yet, he was clearly ready. He was on Barrichello’s pace most of the season and managed a sensational pole in Brazil – not exactly the performance of your average rookie. To suggest he was prematurely promoted on the basis of emotive outbursts in Valencia and Singapore is to banish Vettel to retirement for being frustrated with his various Q2 eliminations and car failures this year or to immediately sack Hamilton in the aftermath of the 2011 Monaco GP – passion is hardly a bad thing.

      2. A Vandoorne-Magnussen partnership would mean McLaren accepting staying a midfield team in the medium term. That probably isn’t the best way to attract sponsors, particularly as there aren’t likely to be that many coming from Belgium or Denmark. It would be cheap on the wage bill front however, and they could probably grow into a strong partnership in 4-5 seasons. I can’t imagine McLaren wanting to wait that long.

  15. So,Ron says
    “Do I want him to try harder? Of course I do. He’s a highly paid grand prix driver. Yes, we are not giving him the best car; yes, it would be challenging for him to win in this car to say the least, but he could do his bit and Kevin has to make it as difficult for him as possible.”

    Jenson should reply:
    ” Do I want Mclaren to try harder?Of course I do. This is a highly rated ,big budget and one of the top teams in there.Yes,we are not doing better now,but having the best PU at present,we should have been beating medium-budget teams like FI and Williams.It would be challenging for the team to give us a car that could compete for wins at the moment,but the technical team has to do a bit more and give us a more competitive car,so as to finish higher in the coming races.”

    1. He already has said that, and had a little dig at the signing of his rookie team mate. I’m surprised it took Ron so long to respond.

      1. Jenson hasn’t ‘had a dig’ at Kevin – it’s not what he does.

        He was answering a journalists question where he was asked ‘do you think McLaren should have let Hamilton go’.

    2. Ron Dennis at it again. Ron Dennis is clearly fabricating a story so he can justify not re-signing Button. I’m now sure that the plan is to drop Button even though in fact Button has done very well, even if he hasn’t shown the blind confidence and trust that Mag has put out in 2 tough GP’s the 1st race in autralia and the new race in austria, Button has pushed the team forward.

  16. Ron Dennis’ comments on Button got me thinking…
    What is the purpose of publicly criticize their own driver.
    Don’t get me wrong, I like his honesty, but I just don’t see the point.
    Couldn’t he just tell him in person, that he expects more from him?

    1. He was asked a question, he answered it. The problem is Ron Dennis has a habit of over-speaking

  17. That’s a fantastic clip from Dijon all those years ago. Wonderful racing. But two things jump out at me –
    Firstly, (and it may just be the lack of image clarity) there do not seem to be many marbles off line. That must have made it easier for drivers to take alternative, attacking lines through the corners. Can we have fewer marbles today and see what affect that has on overtaking, please.
    Secondly, look at the people actually standing on the track at the finishing line! Not just on the last lap, either. How was that ever thought to be sensible?

    1. There was a lot less marbles back then because the tyres were rock hard since there were no planned pit stops back then so tyres were built to go the full distance.
      As tyre compounds got softer & pit stops started to be used the marbles increased & its been a far greater problem in the Pirelli-era because of the way the tyre degredation works.

      Pirelli keep saying every year that there working on reducing the level of marbles & that there latest tyres will produce less, Doesn’t ever actually seem to happen though.

    2. @timothykatz, that is just one of the reasons I keep saying that gimmick tyres are making the racing worse rather than better.

  18. “Hamilton: In karting, some of the kids had more money than me… I was just faster! (Daily Mail)”

    OMG! Will Lewis ever stop with his attempt to portray himself as a dirt poor kid?? Come on Lewis, after Alonso, Your my second best driver because of talent alone but these coments are really getting boring and distastefull. Just drive for God´s sake!!!
    The man has his own jet for crying out loud! Enough with the comments!!!!

    1. Why is Hamilton taking so many trips down memory lane to his karting days lately? Is it just that having Rosberg as a teammate is prompting a nostalgia quest from the paddock journalists?

      I don’t see other drivers being asked about their karting time so often. Van der Garde was a kart world champion and you don’t seem to get journalists asking him to hark back to his glory days at all.

      1. because he’s a millonair who wants to appeal to the working class fans, portraiting himself as one of them. It happens in football too, with Tevez being born in a shanty-town vs Messi who was silver spoon fed by the Barcelona. It’s a marketing issue…

        1. @matiascasali

          It’s a marketing issue…

          That´s what I have been thinking all along for a while now… Starting with clean cut “wonder boy” Vettel. Now that everybody is bored with vettel, they have to market a new clean cut guy and who better than Britney??

          Will we ever have a pure championshipagain?

  19. Looks like the writing is on the wall for Jenson. I think he better try finding a berth in another team or this could be his last season. It’s a shame because he’s a nice guy but as a staunch Button fan I fear we may have seen his best by now. Perhaps a final couple of years with the Scuderia would be in order if Alonso jumps ship.

    1. Ben (@scuderia29)
      1st July 2014, 14:03

      noooo button is nowhere near good enough for a ferrari seat, they wouldnt even consider him

      1. Yes, sure…nowhere near good enough…
        But Badoer surely was something special, huh ?

      2. In answer to that both Ferrari and Red Bull wanted to sign Jenson last year.

      3. coefficient
        2nd July 2014, 11:16

        Well, ferrari can’t attract top tier drivers anymore surely. I think JB is probably the best they can hope for these days. They have been panta since Ross Brawn jacked it in really. Once the echoes of his genius had faded in the hallowed halls of maranello it was game over.

  20. Those articles in Racecar Engineering about the RA109 from Honda are absolutely fascinating. I, like most people I think, always assumed that the BGP001 was basically the RA109 with a different powertrain. While it is true that it did retain a couple of features, notably the double diffuser, it’s interesting to see that Honda had actually developed an incredibly innovative car which never really saw the light of day. In particular its interesting KERS system, very innovative gearbox and differential design, and a few aerodynamic bits and pieces which were totally unique.

    Obviously it’s impossible to know how good a car could have been just by seeing the specs, but it does look like it would have been a very technically innovative car. By contrast, the BGP001 appears just to be a relatively ‘normal’ car whose success came about mostly through the double diffuser and the fact that a few other top teams dropped the ball.

    I wonder how much of that innovation will have been developed further behind the scenes, and whether we could hope to see some of it appear on the McLaren next year.

  21. Ben (@scuderia29)
    1st July 2014, 14:02

    hamilton really needs to stop going on about how he was somehow less privileged or poorer than the other kids in karting, this aint x factor lewis…a sob story isnt gonna get you anywhere, you were hardly poverty stricken

    1. So when asked by a reporter what his karting days were like, he should lie?

      1. no, but he can say “fun” or “useful” or “great experience” and any other thing anyone can say about their childhood activities. Besides, he was poor against what? did he ever see what was the places some footballers grew up? scarce money is quite different from NO money

  22. Ron is the founder, he believes everyone is an employee, therefore dispensable. He even said in a radio interview in Hamiltons last season the he should remember he is an employee.
    He likes to have the best drivers, its unlikely he thinks Button is one of those, very few think he is the best.
    Button was a Whitmarsh signing; AND its contract time so anything to drive down price.
    Surely Boullier is pushing for Grosjean.
    In Buttons defence,
    it would not be the best time to throw out such an experienced driver just as new engines are coming for what must be an interim year.
    His team mate should have been beating him on speed to secure his position, i feel he is under the real pressure at this stage unless he suddenly starts displaying startling speed.
    Honda. I think they will want Button and really only a Vettel, Alonso or a Hamilton could justify loosing Button.

  23. Corrado (@)
    1st July 2014, 18:34

    I may be wrong, but I think RDennis is thinking a lot at Alonso… and probably he expects comparable performances at all levels from Button given the cars are pretty much matched. That being said, I also think it’s too late to ask more from Button. He’s too old, for too much time in F1 to prove anything else than we know already, to change his driving style a lot for better, to be faster in particular. The moment McLaren will get rid of him, I think he’ll end like Massa, at a team good for P10-P16. We shall see if he’ll be lucky enough, like Massa, and that “team” will make significant progress in performance when Button will be there.

  24. Michael Brown
    1st July 2014, 19:26

    Bernie threatens to drop Monza after 2016:

  25. I think they will really try to get back Hamilton.

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