In the midst of a frustrating season and with the British Grand Prix a little more than a week away, McLaren’s Jenson Button reflected on how challenging the 2013 Formula One campaign has been.
Button granted a longer Q&A to the official Formula One website after the team’s scoreless Canadian Grand Prix. He noted while McLaren has occasionally had rough years (2004, 2009 come to mind off the top), it tends to bounce back rather nicely in the year afterwards.
“McLaren always bounces back, you know,” he said. “For example, in 2009, the year in which I won my world championship for Brawn, McLaren was pretty uncompetitive at the start of the season. In Melbourne, the first race of the season, McLaren’s two cars qualified 14th (Heikki Kovalainen) and 15th (Lewis Hamilton), but by the time we all got to Hungary the McLaren was good enough for Lewis to win in it from pole position.
“Equally McLaren has often followed an uncompetitive year with a very competitive year. In 2004, McLaren won only one Grand Prix, but it won 10 Grands Prix in 2005, in 2006 McLaren won no Grands Prix, but it won eight Grands Prix in 2007.”
Button didn’t quite confirm that McLaren is set to shift its focus of development to its 2014 car, but with the championship out of the question and race wins unlikely in the short term, that seems a logical step.
“So at McLaren we’re managing that balance at the moment, as all the teams are, but inevitably our focus will begin to switch more and more towards 2014 in due course,” he said.
He said new teammate Sergio Perez still has a bit to learn and that his adaptation to McLaren would be better if the car was.
“Checo is a very nice lad. Maybe he’s a bit too forceful sometimes, by his own admission, but he’s undoubtedly quick, and he’s still learning because you never stop learning in this game,” Button admitted.
“Having said that, at the moment we’re both a bit disappointed about the performance of our car. If it were a bit more competitive, I guess life would be a little easier for us both,” he added.