Button targeting “small step forward” in Monaco

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Jenson Button is hopeful that McLaren can make some progress at next weekend’s Monaco Grand Prix after a disappointing start to the season.

The 2009 world champion has recorded a best finish of 5th at the Chinese Grand Prix in 2013, with the pace of the McLaren MP4-28 preventing him and teammate Sergio Perez from challenging the front runners so far this season. However, he is confident that some progress can be made in Monaco.

“Everyone at McLaren has been working flat-out since the Spanish Grand Prix,” Button said in a team statement. “We’re not yet where we want to be in terms of competitiveness, but I’m confident that we can make another small step forward in Monaco.”

The team brought a comprehensive upgrade package to the race in Spain, but it failed to produce a significant improvement in pace as Button and Perez finished 8th and 9th respectively. However, a repeat performance would suit Button as the team looks to overtake Force India in the constructors’ championship.

“We’ll continue to chip away at the performance of the MP4-28 until it’s capable of challenging at the front; there’s no other agenda for a winning team like McLaren. The aim for Monaco is to get both cars home in the points, as we did in Barcelona.”

Although the result in Spain was by no means spectacular, the performance was solid, and Sergio Perez did run as high as P5 at one point. He may not be in a position to win for a second time at Monaco, but Button could challenge the front runners if the streets of Monaco catch a few drivers out.

Audi bids farewell to Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich upon retirement

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Audi bid farewell to its iconic head of motorsport, Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich, at its end-of-season ‘Race Night’ event in Germany on Friday upon his retirement.

Ullrich took over the reins as Audi’s head of motorsport in 1993 and stayed in the role for 23 years, overseeing its arrival in the prototype class of sports car racing and domination of the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

Ullrich stepped down from the position at the end of 2016, handing the reins over to ex-Audi DTM chief Dieter Gass, and attended his final racing event with the German marque at its first works Formula E outing in Hong Kong earlier this month.

Ullrich was honored at the Race Night event on Friday and thanked for his efforts in developing Audi into a force within global motorsport.

“In 566 factory-backed commitments during this period he celebrated 209 victories, 13 of them in the 24 Hours of Le Mans, eleven in the 12-hour race at Sebring and nine in the ‘Petit Le Mans’ at Road Atlanta,” a piece on Ullrich’s tenure for Audi’s website reads.

“31 driver titles in super touring car racing, in the DTM and in the sports prototype category are credited to him. 57 campaigners were Audi factory drivers during Wolfgang Ullrich’s era and he was responsible for 18 new developments of racing cars – an impressive tally.”