Button still open to full-time F1 return

F1 Fanatic Round-up

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In the round-up: Jenson Button says he may still return to F1 full-time as he prepares to drive in next week’s Monaco Grand Prix.

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Comment of the day

Has another team disappointed as much – or more – than McLaren?

For me, the Red Bull car this year is as much disappointment as the McLaren (and I don’t mean only the Honda part). They lobbied so hard for these new rules thinking they are best when it comes to aerodynamics and chassis, but they came out with a dog of a car which they can’t even get closer with the much awaited B-spec.

And the thing is, after being so far behind in Barcelona, which is not an engine track, they can’t blame this solely on Renault.

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On this day in F1

  • Nigel Mansell put his Williams on pole position for the Belgian Grand Prix today in 1987.

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Keith Collantine
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84 comments on “Button still open to full-time F1 return”

  1. During an interview on Sky’s Pre-Qualifying show Jenson it was pretty clear that he doesn’t have any interest in a full time return.


    1. Well Jenson has a habit of changing his tune. He’s probably realised Alonso might not be with the squad next year, and that definitely opens up a door for him at McLaren.

      Didn’t find it particularly amusing when he said that a lot of teams wanted him to race for them in 2017… just seems like he wants to talk himself up a bit.

      1. Who’s to say that a lot of teams didn’t approach him though? In my opinion, any team would be silly not to try and approach a proven race winner and world champion when leaving a team.

        Take Renault for example, how much more would they have benefited from having Button in the car, instead of Palmer.

        1. I think hes telling porkies @jamiefranklinf1

          Given the change in regulations from 2016 to 2017 it was important for all teams to maintain a driver from last year for the sake of comparing data. It would be very hard to get an accurate comparison with different drivers.

          Thats why Williams went for Massa, and upon Magnussens departure thats why Renault went with Palmer.

          1. I think that what teams have learnt with Jenson is that yes he can win but he needs a car that is just about perfect for him. If he can’t get it just right in the setup, he suffers. Someone like Alonso or Hamilton will drive the wheels off a bad car until it can give no more. That will put off a lot of teams in my opinion.

          2. Claire Williams has already said that Jenson was an attractive option for 2017 so there is one team at least. His McLaren contract made it impossible though.

      2. Mutton is wealthy enough to pay for a drive, and Williams are up for a hand out..no brainer really

    2. I wonder when the idea of Alonso doing Indianapolis was first discussed; sometime last season probably. And I suppose that was the reason that JB seemed to have this odd, semi-detached arrangement for 2017 – just in case Alonso becomes unavailable.
      And for 2018? Just in case Alonso makes a success of Indy and decides to stay . . . McLaren have a back-up hyper-experienced driver alongside the team’s (intended) young charger.

      1. @nickwyatt copy/paste job from another site:

        In fact McLaren executive director Zac Brown, an American with a sports car racing background, has revealed that the idea of Alonso racing in the Indy 500 was initially made in a joking fashion before the start of the season. In a relaxed moment, Brown off-handedly said that one day the two should maybe do the 500 together. Sometime later, In Melbourne over breakfast, Alonso raised the topic with team racing director Eric Boullier, speaking of Honda’s great history at Indy and then declaring he’d like to become the first driver since Graham Hill to nail the Triple Crown – Monaco, Le Mans and the Indy 500.

        Brown said he and Alonso spoke more about the idea at a photo shoot in the US after the opening race of the season. Then over the GP weekend in Shanghai, the half joke firmed up with specific detail.

        1. @bamboo. Aha, thank you!

    3. Jenson has a 2-year contract with McLaren. If Fernando walks before then, he has to return whether he wants to or not!

      1. No that is incorrect. Contract or not a driver cannot be forced to drive if he refuses for whatever reason.

        I’m sure JB has had a lot of offers, mainly non-F1 in nature, and he sounds stoked about that.

        As to next year, I’d be surprised if JB is even thinking about the possibility of racing full time for Mac next year, as so much needs to be decided and clarified yet by parties he has no control over, starting with what FA is going to be doing, and what Mac will want to do. For now all JB needs to think about is Monaco, triathlons, and doing other things like Super GT such as he has mentioned. A full time ride at Mac next year for him to say yay or nay to, doesn’t even exist for him as things stand today.

    4. @stefmeister Honestly Dennis never wanted Jenson there, Jenson finally got the boot but since then it was Dennis who got shoved to a secondary role so you never know. I’m sure Button doesn’t want to be there alongside Alonso but without him, sure.

      1. I’m sure Button doesn’t want to be there alongside Alonso but without him, sure.

        Why would Alonso being there bother him??? Button was Alonso’s team mate for 2 years – and beat him 50% of the time. Button vs Alonso currently sits at 1-1, in case you forgot. Which also makes Button the ONLY driver in history to score more points than Alonso over the course of a season.

        If Button wants to drive, and McLaren want him to drive, it will not matter who is in the other seat.

  2. Silverstone made money last year.

    How dare they!

    1. Yeah indeed, but thanks to the annual uplift in fees that Bernie has in all the circuit contracts, that will thankfully soon stop.

    2. I think the point is that virtually nowhere else makes money as it is, so Silverstone is last in the queue for pre-emptive “fairer dealing” renegotiations.

  3. Hugely excited about the 500! Never thought I’d said that…

  4. As a big fan of Dan Ricciardo, I hope that last weekend was a not a sign of things to come. Max seemed to be able to extract more out the car, half a second quicker in qualy, which is typically where Dan excels. Is Max just getting better at driving around problems?

    1. But not good enough yet driving around tufins ;)

      1. No one will ever be good enough to drive around tufins driving into each other and taking others along.

    2. Daniel seems like a nice chap, and I take zero joy in saying this….BUT… his best character traits is his smile, everyone wants him to be a better driver than he actually is…

      1. I think you’re getting Riccardo and Verstappen confused there!

        Verstappen is the most hyped driver since Hamilton – and Riccardo is better than both of them!

        1. Evil Homer (@)
          18th May 2017, 12:32

          I am a massive Dan Ric fan so you assume a bit of bias but I really do think Dan is as good as any other driver in the same car, better than Nico would have been against Lewis last 3 years and would give Alonso a good run. Yes he beat Vettel and that cant be denied but Seb wasn’t in a great place and struggled with the car, but it is what it is.

          With Max it might be that little extra ….. maybe. The kid is great so far and Daniel is holding with him (and if Max is THAT once in a generation then makes Dan look better doesn’t it). He may keep improving and be that guy that is just that 5% better than the rest and break record books for years to come or he may be a guy that peaks early and just becomes one of the top 3 or 4 guys (not trying to say being in the top few drivers is not an achievement but some folk will tell you he will win every race from next year for 5 years straight :)

          Either way I think Dan knows how good Max is and it makes him better. I think F1 looks pretty good at the moment with top driver talent so lets hope Liberty make it a bit better and we will see how it goes- next 5 years should see F1 be great again………… well it is great, so greater !

  5. All nighter for me! Monaco at 10pm, Indy at 2am, get in!

    … Anybody got a spare blanket?

    1. I feel fortunate that Monaco is 8 am, Indy at noon and Charlotte at 6 pm. I hope it rains at my house that day.

      1. @Dragon86 Lol same timing I’ve always enjoyed here in Ontario, Canada. I know someone who absolutely lives for this Sunday every year. Racing all day long across 3 disciplines, all iconic races. Totally with you about the rain day, although lol Southern Ontario isn’t all that far from Indianapolis so we might be inadvertently asking for a rainout of the 500 in hoping we are ‘forced’ to be inside all day.

    2. Is it on Ten or Foxtel?

      1. It’s on both Ten and Foxtel

      2. Its on Foxtel, not sure about 10

      3. Yes, live on TEN/WIN and Fox. Every Australian and Monaco Grand Prix is live under the new deal struck in 2015.

    3. Yea us antipodeans haven’t got it good.

      12am Monaco, 4am Indy here in New Zealand.

  6. Daily Mail,

    Thanks for giving ideas to would be terrorists. There are other targets that would make more sense. Looking forward to the Silverstone track being completely covered in 2018.

    Your sincerely,
    An F1fanatic.

    1. Yes – simply because Silverstone have new super-duper security measures does not make it a good idea to loudly publicise those measures. (Unless Silverstone has told the press to publicise these measures, and the lack of quotes from Silverstone makes me a little doubtful of that).

    2. Yeah, I’m sure the tarrorits are already taking notes.

    3. Usually it is government departments telling the press to print. Is there a threat? Highly doubtful. But we got new toys for that threat so we would like to remind you you are safe from that event. Was I unsafe before? No. But just in case you thought you might be safe we have decided to tell you that maybe you shouldn’t feel safe. We can’t do our jobs if people feel safe most of the time. Our budgets would be reduced.

  7. Chris (@tophercheese21)
    16th May 2017, 4:23

    +1 on the COTD.

    I don’t think Red Bull are as much of a disappointment as McLaren are, that’s something that is incredibly hard to top (or bottom, which ever way you want to look at it), but certainly they’re the second most disappointing team this season.

    They made a huge fuss over the aerodynamic regulations last year, finally got their way this season and they fluffed it.

    1. This rule book was pretty much written for them and they disappointed by bringing a car that’s not even close to what Mercedes and Ferrari produced chassis wise. It seems so basic compared to them while we were all expecting a Newey master piece.
      Hulk is able to get close to them in Qualifying occasionally, so you can’t blame Renault. Palmer of all people made Q3 in Bahrain and to say he’s as good as Hulk?

      Maybe Newey’s talent has always been finding the maximum amount of downforce on a smaller surface compared to other teams.
      When was the last time McLaren had a dominant car? 1998, when the cars were made thinner instead of the size we have again this year. Plus the grooved tires that got rid of even more grip. If Schumacher wasn’t at Ferrari during those years, they would walkover like Mercedes did the last few years.

      When the cars were changed drastically back in 2009, RB turned good while Ferrari and McLaren struggled having to leave their successful previous designs. Maybe this is why their car is so disappointing so far.
      Teams now have more area’s to play with while the older rules restricted wings and flaps as much as possible which gave Red Bull a massive advantage since they were ahead on aero by a lot.

      Hard to get rid of something if it worked well for you for so many years.

      1. As we’ve been discussing further down this page, COTD may not be accurate.

        Did RBR ‘lobby so hard’, or ‘make a huge fuss’ and was the current rulebook ‘written for them’ or are those just assumptions?

        It would seem that what RBR was really pushing for was that F1, whilst talking about drastic changes over a year ago for this season, simply wanted F1 collectively to not squander the opportunity, and to make sure they took the time to research the proposed changes for their effectiveness. Newey feels they (all) got cut short from the research process.

        RBR was not pushing for exactly what we have on the track today. They have not ‘dropped the ball’ after having had the rules written exactly for them. Had they had their way ALL teams would have had more time to research the proposals and come to agreement that would likely have meant something a little different than what we have now. I’d like to think that would have been less aero, and more ground effects for closer racing. They can still get there under Liberty/Brawn, and I’m confident will do so, but just less quickly than RBR would have done it. They would perhaps have already seen to closer racing this year, but anyway F1 is always a work in progress and at least now they have proper current-format cars on which to test tires going forward, which they didn’t have for Pirelli to test with last fall.

      2. Newey didn’t worked on the 2017 car. In an interview he said he started to read the rules at the Australian GP. This last upgrade that was the start of Newey’s work. That could be the main reason why Red Bull isn’t faster.

        1. Miane, where exactly was that reported?

          That is strange, because it seems to contradict what Newey had been saying a month earlier – back in February, he had been talking about how he had found it difficult to set priorities for the future development direction of the car, which would indicate that he was already quite active in the development of the car at a far earlier stage than he claimed in that later interview.

  8. Interestingly, no one seems to be moaning about the engine failure on car 77 calling it a sabotage. Good thing. It seems people have understood the importance of patience and time (dig intended) while jumping to conclusions about such incidents.

    1. I never believe that a professional race team would deliberately sabotage their driver.

      That said the Bottas engine failure, an engine past it’s expected life span doesn’t quite compare with a brand new engine going boom.

      It was quite impressive really. One because of how close they engineer the lifespan, and two because he was so close on pace with that old engine.

      1. Bottas’ situation was the same as Rosberg’ Monza 2015.

      2. If you believe an engine past its expected life span goes boom, then you watch too much Mission Impossible ;)

        And I’m not sure if you were skipping classes when watching MI:
        – Maths: race 5/20 in a 4 PU season is hardly ‘past its expected life span’;
        – Physics: a brand new PU when first used is more likely to fail than a used version.

        1. There’s a “U” effect in mechanical design: very new units more likely to fail than mid-life units, but very old units are also more likely to fail than mid-life units (though unlike an actual U, the old-life slope is shallower than the new-life slope).

      3. Renault Piquet Singapore

    2. Yeah that’s funny. If it was car #44, the internet would be full of this…

    3. @sravan-pe, I have seen some people on other sites peddling conspiracy theories that Mercedes were sabotaging Bottas this weekend, so it is happening – just less so here.

      As @philipgb says, the idea that the team would intentionally sabotage a driver seems very far fetched – however, the idea that an engine which had already done four races, especially when Bottas had been pushing that engine fairly hard in the previous race (remember the calls from the team telling Bottas that he could use the overtake button to defend against Vettel), might then fail in the 5th race is less unexpected.

      1. I’v seen theories they used Bottas to take out the competition.

        1. And colluding with Massa ;)

          1. Some more cash off the Williams engine bill ;)

    4. petebaldwin (@)
      16th May 2017, 10:10

      Unfortunately, when you have to watch a highly controlled battle between two team mates for several years in a row, these rumours will happen. Thankfully we’ve got a battle between two teams again this year so we can go back to talking about racing.

  9. OmarRoncal - Go Seb!!! (@)
    16th May 2017, 6:35

    @sravan-pe I agree. And loved that pun!!!

  10. RE COTD and Red Bull, Adrian Newey says he wasn’t actually involved with the RB13 until March. It’s neither his design not his product. He’s only worked on improving it thus far. Which strikes me as very unusual. Surely Red Bull would push for the new rules only if their big wig designer was on board for designing it? Wasn’t the idea that the new regulations would be the challenge that got Newey back interested? All very odd.

    1. Well he would say that now wouldn’t he! ;)

      1. So as we’ve been discussing elsewhere on this page, likely RBR was not pushing for this exact format. They were pushing for F1 to allow time starting over a year ago for them all to get the proposed drastic changes right for a better product on the track. What I find odd is the assumption about what Newey’s role is, what challenges him anymore, and what his level of interest is. Only he knows that and that may depend on the direction F1 goes. Or it may not. Even if RBR had gotten for F1 the added time they wanted for F1 collectively to get the drastic changes right, AN may have still taken a secondary role in the same manner he has.

        1. @Robbie Either way, Christian Horner recently confirmed that ANewey was working flat out, night and day on the Barcelona upgrades. Redbull were definitely the ones pushing for 2017 aero reform and their proposals were tempered by other teams. Mercedes were against changing the aero regs.

  11. (according to Andrew Benson)

    there is not a corner on an F1 circuit anywhere in the world that is taken as fast as the average lap speed Alonso will be doing in the race at Indy, let alone qualifying.

    But that is an empty ridiculous statement by Benson (what’s new?). Even on the Indy track itself ‘there is not a corner that is taken as fast as the average lap speed’.
    Corners tend to be slower than the straights, hence slower than the average :p

    He probably could have said that in F1 there is not 1 straight as fast as the average at Indianapolis.

    1. Yeah, speeds at indy are breathtaking. 230 mph average speed.

    2. I see what you meant, but at least in F1, corners can be taken faster than the average speed, because in F1 there is a blend of low to high speed corners. In Barcelona for example, the turn 3 and 7 are very fast, certainly faster than the average speed.

      1. I think you’re missing the point. As if AB doesn’t understand that corner speeds are slower than straight line speeds.

        It is exactly as he has stated. If the average speed at Indy is let’s say 215 to 220 mph, with them topping out in the low 230’s on the straights, then AB is correct to say there isn’t a corner in F1 that the cars will hit even the average speed at Indy, let alone the top speed. I think the highest speed they hit in a corner in F1 is in the low 200’s isn’t it. FA will be doing well above that all day at Indy.

        1. 2014 Italian GP at Monza – Daniel Riccardo topped the race speed trap at 362.1kph which is about 225mph.


          1. Ok but that race speed trap would not be the speed the cars were hitting on a corner, right? It would be the speed at the end of a straightaway. AB’s claim is that no CORNER in F1 has the cars hitting the same speeds as even the average lap speed at Indy.

          2. True enough, I wonder what the apex speeds are through somewhere like Blanchimont though, have had a quick look but can’t see anything.

          3. @Robbie, AB’s statement is correct, but a bit superfluous.

            PS At Indianapolis the initial corner speed (to the apex) is actually higher as they run down from the bank!
            PPS (@asanator) – I’d say 130R at more than 300kph (excl. pseudo corners like #1 at Sochi)

          4. @f1-liners Yes I thought about 130R initially however I suspected Blanchimont would be faster, having (I think) a longer drag to it and higher exit speed from Stavelot/Paul Frere than from Spoon as well as Spa being a lower downforce circuit.

            In fact I’ve just found a track map from 2014 that shows Blanchimont apex speed to have been 315kph and the same site suggesting 130R to be 300kph as you say.

  12. Anyone else watched Indy stream? was watching entire afternoon. Alonso driving a circle.

    It was entertaining. He was even semi competiive and his Honda was stuck in the pits with a problem.

    As fun as F1 then, Liberty take note and stream practice sessions.

    1. you’ll be busy this week. @jureo

      From what I found (never followed Indy500 before):
      – this week there are 6 hour practices every day;
      – Saturday practice in the morning, and pre-qualifying from 11:00 (almost 5 hours!)
      – Sunday practice in the morning and final qualifications (split between Fastest 9 en rest) in the afternoon.

      Not sure how Quali works; best lap or average lap.

      1. @f1-liners All qualifying is based on a best 4 lap average.

  13. God he suddenly looks so old in that picture

  14. Genuine question – I’m a pretty dedicated follower of F1 news and I can’t remember ever reading something last year or before suggesting that Red Bull were strongly pushing for this specific set of aero rules. Don’t get me wrong, I’m massively disappointed by how badly they’ve come out of the blocks this year – it’s not all down to engine that’s for sure. But people are talking as if this was somehow RBR’s brainchild and that they were given their way in spite of everyone else.

    As far as I understood, the aero tules were a collaboarative effort which were ratified by the teams, the FIA, and FOM in line with the normal procedure.

    If anything, RBR have been strongly lobbying for changes to engine rules, not aero. As far as I was aware anyway. Happy to be proven wrong if someone can link me up to something concrete.

    1. @mazdachris I take your point and have also wondered about this sort of talk. I wonder if it is borne of a combination of assumptions such as that the added downforce format would/should play into Newey’s hands, and that change itself was meant to disrupt Mercedes’ run just as RBR’s run was disrupted with the erosion of blown diffusers and the PU change. A return to diffusers, even if not hot blown, was to play right into RBR’s hands. That perhaps got extrapolated as being something they pushed for, but I agree with you that I thought it was moreso engine regs that they were the most vocal about.

      1. @asonator Yes I do remember there being a bit of back-and-forth between teams about who wants what, as is always the case. What’s not clear from the linked article (for obvious reasons) was whether the package we ended up with was the big-diffuser, high-downforce package RBR favoured, or the ‘watered-down’ version which Red Bull (and two other unnamed teams..) voted against. The fact that two other teams were opposed also suggests that Red Bull weren’t alone in wanting something specific, so I think if anything (in spite of the obvious preference towards talking specifically about RBR in the article), it demonstrates that this characterisation of Red Bull pushing for a change in aero regs while other teams didn’t want the change is clearly false.

        If anything, I’d say the article seems to suggest that RBR didn’t get their way, since it was the smaller scale set of changes which were ratified by the other teams at the time the article was published.

      2. That’s a good link. Sounds like they were talking sensibly about collectively being given time to get the regs right, and were concerned about not squandering the opportunity for F1 to get it right while they had drastic change in mind. Ie. I can see where articles like this have given people the impression RBR pushed for the current format, when in fact they were pushing moreso for the time and the research for F1 as a whole to get it right, which I’m sure RBR would agree isn’t quite where it should be yet.

        They agreed to drastic change, they wanted all F1 to have the time to research and test the proposals, drastic change has happened, and that doesn’t mean they agreed to this exact format that we have, and just to add, this format is not written in stone either. I think they need to head toward less aero, more ground effects, and softer tires with tread wear deg similar to this year.

        In line with RBR’s concerns from that article from over a year ago, F1 will now have actual 2017 cars on which to test tires going forward, so that will help them ‘get it right’ as they evolve in the coming years.

  15. @robbie Yes I get the impression that what RBR/Newey wanted was a far more fundamental change which would alter the core concept of how the car generates downforce rather than some dimension changes to the elements.

    Here’s a further article from January last year, shortly before the article linked above was published, with Newey talking about how he thinks the chanes don’t go far enough, but also praising the FIA for looking at the possibility of an independent engine supplier. http://www.espn.co.uk/f1/story/_/id/14506879/red-bull-adrian-newey-doubts-2017-changes-go-far-enough

    The impression I get is that, if anything, Red Bull racing didn’t get the changes they wanted, which would explain why Newey hasn’t been significantly involved in the development of the RB13.

    The other thing I take issue with in the COTD is the reference to this supposed ‘b-spec’ car that RBR were bringing. For a start, they never said that they were introducing such a thing – this seems to be a case of fan speculation mixed with media hype from certain quarters – and secondly if there is such a revised spec car in the pipeline it certainly wasn’t brought to Spain last week. The car they ran there, while having some small detail changes, was effectively unchanged from the previous races (bar the obvious tweaks to suit the downforce/drag and cooling requirements of the circuit). There’s no evidence of any major updates going onto the RB13 in Spain at all. Certainly nothing comparable to the mega update package run by Mercedes!

    1. @mazdachris Good stuff. I’m not entirely convinced AN would be playing a greater role if they had moreso gotten ‘their’ way, as I do wonder if he is generally just in a happier place as an ‘advisor’ to the aero crew or what have you, no matter the style of the drastic changes, but no need for us to split hairs over that. I just wonder if the only thing that would get him ‘excited’ again would be a return to more open development such as he was accustomed for years, and which he himself freely admits also drives up the costs of competing in F1 which can particularly negatively affect the smaller teams. Probably safe to say he’d rather they all be able to save money on pu’s/engines and gain back some development freedom (read expenditure) on the aero side.

    2. I suspect that the fact that RBR did not bring a huge update package was actually kind of telling and definitely disappointing.

      RBR have traditionally been the innovators in F1 but this year they seem to be completely stagnant. They haven’t even experimented with then T-wing (even though I hate it) – something every other team is using, and obviously finding some benefit from.

      Yes I’m sure some of it (by a fair percentage) is PU and the news for that is worse because the major upgrade keeps getting delayed but there seems to be a fundamental and pretty major chassis shortcoming that they don’t seem all that frantic to fix.

      Disappointed – very much so. And like the COTD mine is right up there with the disappointment on Mclaren/Honda.

  16. Rick Lopez (@viscountviktor)
    16th May 2017, 15:35

    Give it up Jenson.

  17. The reality is that up till this point Stroll and Vandoorne have both struggled. They have both had to contend with vastly experienced team mates, and F1 teams are not normally renowned for their patience. People can say what they will about Jenson Button, but the man can drive and is a dependable person who can attain points.
    Again, alot rides on where Alonso will be in the future whether its in F1 or elsewhere.

  18. Button isnt going to come back and drive the current heap of junk, contract or no contract

    1. Not for a season that is

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