Button ‘dreams of lighter cars’ but says F1 is ‘in a great place’

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In the round-up: Jenson Button says lighter Formula 1 cars is “always the dream” as current ground effect machines are heaviest in history.

In brief

Button ‘dreams of lighter cars’

The 2009 F1 world champion says he would love to see F1 cars reduce in weight as the current minimum weight sits at almost 800kg.

Button will be racing in NASCAR’s Cup series in three races this season. Asked by RaceFans if he felt F1 could learn anything from NASCAR to improve racing in the world championship, Button said he would like to see lighter cars in future.

“I think F1’s in a great place,” Button said. “I enjoy the racing.

“The dream is that F1’s lighter, the cars are lighter. That’s always the dream, because I think as drivers we like lightweight cars – he says, as he’s about to race a stock car. But no, I’m happy with where F1 is. As long as we’re ready to tickle things here and there, if we think it’s necessary and try it and not be afraid, I think F1’s in a great place.”

Sainz confident Ferrari can play “better game” In Jeddah

Carlos Sainz Jnr is confident that Ferrari will enjoy better performance in Saudi Arabia this weekend than during the opening round in Bahrain.

Sainz claimed fourth for Ferrari in Bahrain, almost 50 seconds behind winner Max Verstappen. Sainz says the different circuit characteristics of Jeddah will result in a different outcome.

“The tarmac in Jeddah is very different – the limitation is not so much at the rear,” he explained. “So I’m pretty sure it’s going to be a bit different in other tracks.

“Bahrain is the most extreme for deg[redation] of the year, so we only have one example. So I’m confident at other circuits we can play a better game.”

Toyota quickest as WEC prologue test ends

Toyota set the pace across both days of the World Endurance Championship pre-season prologue test at Sebring ahead of this weekend’s opening round.

The number eight Toyota team of Sebastien Buemi, Brendon Hartley and Ryo Hirakawa set the fastest time in the Hypercar class on the second and final day of running. The second Toyota of Kamui Kobayashi, Mike Conway and Jose Maria Lopez was second-quickest, while the Cadillac Racing Hypercar of Earl Bamber, Alex Lynn and Richard Westbrook was third. Ferrari were fourth-fastest in the all-new 499P.

The WEC season begins with the 1,000 miles of Sebring, which takes place on Friday.

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Comment of the day

This weekend’s Caption Competition winner is Dean Stewart!:

“Wish Lewis would leave that dog at home…”
Dean Stewart

Thanks to everyone who came up with caption idea this week and a special mention to Mr Fabulous, Tom L. and EffWunFan who all came up with particularly good captions.

Happy birthday!

Happy birthday to Armen, Pabs, Starosta and Aqib!

On this day in motorsport

  • 40 years ago today Nelson Piquet won his home race for Brabham while Keke Rosberg was disqualified from second place in the same event for the second year in a row

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Will Wood
Will has been a RaceFans contributor since 2012 during which time he has covered F1 test sessions, launch events and interviewed drivers. He mainly...

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17 comments on “Button ‘dreams of lighter cars’ but says F1 is ‘in a great place’”

  1. Oh, I’ll give Button props for this, as I also see F1 as about lighter, powerful and slender cars. I almost can’t stand those truckish monsters that has lost good chunks of their visual appeal and speed feel.

    I remember not long ago cars alone were what drew attention for any newbie, let alone building hype for a fresh season, this without even hitting the tarmac yet. Instead, now we apparently count on fakish-flix shows to do it.

    Since a man can only hope, amongst thousands of things that could produce a better product, I just wish cars went to synthfuel powering at least a flat or straight-six, ground effected, with DAS no DRS, lighter and smaller rims, a clear canopy in lieu of halo, maybe even an active suspension to deal with porpoising, and absolutely no eco-harmful batteries. And with one of the few straight regs being about narrowing front wings.

    Yeah, dream on kid, but I still want it on the record. Maybe it echoes through somewhere or someone someday.


    1. What’s wrong with a V6 that makes a straight or flat 6 better?
      And you can keep your active suspension – Roborace is the only place for that sort of thing.

  2. Thanks for the heads up on ‘The Problems of Prost’ video. I really enjoyed it, it was well put together I thought.

  3. While some may argue that the old days were better. I believe that Button has always been a reliable driver from a technical standpoint. Alonso once stated that the best drivers made more of a difference in the lighter, more powerful cars of the 00s.

    Personally, I still consider the mid-00s cars to be the ultimate F1 machines. Even though current cars can be faster in qualifying by 3 to 4 seconds, I can’t shake the idea from my mind. I believe this is due to several factors, such as the sound of the entire car (engine, shifts, brakes…), the fact that the cars were faster in race trim due to refuelling, and the camera angles and onboards that captured the thrill of the race.

    On another note, there is currently a Tsunami happening in Maranello, with several key personnel leaving the team. David Sanchez, the chief designer, has resigned or may have been forced to leave. Laurent Mekies has also reportedly resigned this weekend, according to il Corriere della Sera who are very reliable. In addition to Sanchez and Mekies, Giocabazzi and Gino Rosato have also left the team. Rueda has been reassigned to the virtual garage, which is for me a downgrade.

    Mekies for me lacks charisma and his contributions were seen as null during his four-year stint with Ferrari, apart from the embarrassment he caused the team by providing “new overwhelming evidence” to appeal Vettel’s penalty in the 2019 Canadian GP.

    While some might argue that the recent shake-up is Ferrari just being Ferrari after a bad season start, I believe that a change was necessary to get rid of Binotto’s legacy, which is still affecting the team today. Despite last year’s disappointments, Binotto was reluctant to make even the slightest changes. As a result, the team arrived at the Bahrain GP unprepared.

    There were several issues, such as the nose deflection problem during testing, the rear wing issue, and the bodywork failures on Leclerc’s car during Q1. Additionally, there was a PU failure during the race. These issues are unacceptable for a team of Ferrari’s calibre and can only be described as amateurish.

    The thing is while someone has to be accountable for the never-ending clown show at Ferrari, It’s extremely difficult to find the right people to take over. With the departure of the technical director and chief designer, two crucial positions for the development of this year’s car and the design of the 2024 car, the team is left in a difficult position.

    It’s unclear how much of this is down to Vasseur, as he is a General Manager rather than a Managing Director like Binotto was. This means that every decision he makes has to be validated by CEO Benedetto Vigna. So, Ferrari have added another degree to complexity to the decision making process because they are paranoid of another Binotto bis.

    Rumours suggest that tensions between Vasseur and Vigna have escalated, particularly since Vasseur vetoed Mekies’ departure, who will now join F1 with Stefano Domenicali. There were also rumors that Vasseur was reprimanded for sharing a flight with his friend Toto after the Bahrain GP. It’s unclear how much of this is true, but these rumours only add to the drama surrounding Ferrari’s recent shenanigans.

    1. It doesn’t sound like Ferrari will be getting their act together this year then. We all might have to wait until 2024 to see the full effects of these changes.

      1. @phil-f1-21
        The issue is that they need get the right people in a timeframe of 2 months so they will be able to have a significant contribution with regard to the 2024 car. I would say 2025 and this will be only possible if they can hire the right people for the job.

        1. @tifoso1989. I hope they are successful with their plans as, despite the issues of last year and the problems at Bahrain, the team is not very far off having a really strong car capable of delivering or at least getting close to a championship. The sport needs to have a strong challengers to Red Bull.

    2. Thanks for the summary, such personell stories rarely make it out of the Italian press.

      Clearing out the disfunctional figureheads of the failed Binotto era is a good thing, and while it may take some time for new people to become recognised by name, that doesn’t mean that it’ll be a slow process to get them up to speed in their new role. After all, it’s common for team efforts to be credited to the recognisable leadership figure, even if their role was rather limited.

      As for political; I doubt other teams are less so. Office politics are everywhere, it’s just a bit more exciting at Ferrari because of what Ferrari represents. In F1, and in motorsport more generally.

      1. MichaelN,
        Vigna to overseeing F1 activities raises concerns about added tension and pressure on the engineers. Vigna is a highly accomplished engineer and regarded as one of the top European scientists in his field. He boasts over 100 patents to his name. However, his impressive track record may create additional stress on the engineers, especially the ones from inside the company who will take over after the clean-up operation.

        To improve their performance, Ferrari should consider hiring some of the big wigs from both Mercedes and RBR. As Vigna, I would make a move right now for Mercedes’ technical director, Mike Elliot, who is currently under intense pressure from Toto who didn’t refrain from contradicting him publicly.

        Reports indicate that James Allison has been brought in to review the W14 concept, further undermining Elliot’s confidence. Not to mention Hamilton saying that Mercedes didn’t listen to his input. This presents an ideal opportunity to poach Elliot before he regains his confidence at Mercedes.

        In addition, it’s crucial to bring in someone with inside knowledge of RBR’s chassis and suspension system to figure out what they are up to.

    3. Personally, I still consider the mid-00s cars to be the ultimate F1 machines.

      @tifoso1989 For me it’s the early/mid 90s as I just never liked the narrow track cars introduced in 1998 as I always felt they looked squashed & a bit boxey.

      The 2m wide cars used until 1997 with the wing dimensions the way they were just looked right as everything looked correctly proportioned to me. I preferred the wider tyres used up until 1993 as well for similar reasons.

      The biggest problem with current cars for me is the length & the size of the front wings. I’ve never really liked the wider front wings used since 2009, They seem to make the cars look larger somehow even though they are no wider than what was had pre 1997. I also hated the tall/narrow rear wings used between 2009-2017 as those along with the wide front wings just made the cars look really weird.

      I think if the current cars were shorter with the front wing dimensions as they were in the 90s we would have some beautiful looking cars.

      1. + 1. Appearance wise, my favourite cars are I think those from the mid-nineties, about ’93 – ’00. I too like the appearance of the wider flatter rear wings and smaller front wings. The proportions are just better. The current cars are too long and too heavy. All the current and recent drivers say so.

      2. PeterG,
        Absolutely agree with you. From a design perspective, the pre-98 F1 cars were just perfect, although I have limited memories of F1 from that era. I recall some glimpses of the 1996 Monaco and Spanish GP, as well as the 1997 season, including the final race at Jerez. In comparison, the current F1 cars are way too big and more complex. They don’t have the simplicity of the older cars.

  4. Race weekend at Sebring is shaping up nicely. It’ll be good to see so many new LMH and LMDh cars on track together.

    1. CD (@clipperdael)
      13th March 2023, 10:14

      Next weekend’s gonna be insane – Rally Mexico from Thursday to Sunday and Sebring with both the WEC 1000 miles on Friday and the IMSA 12 hours on Sat/Sun. Hope I can make my life fit around these!

  5. Anyone else having troubles with this site. I tried to enter CC but it didn’t let me in the page. Still sometimes it lets me and sometimes it doesn’t. It just says the same error cannot enter the site no matter what device I use

  6. F1Fanatic have managed to create 3(?) separate articles now out of one interaction with Jenson.
    This seems to happen a lot, must be a sign of the times to strip and drip feed soundbites from one article over an extended period of time.

  7. „Nothing against F1 cars these days, but this is better.” -Jenson Button at the wheel of the Brawn GP 2009 car.

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