Jenson Button has revealed that his retirement from the Austrian Grand Prix on Sunday was a precautionary measure to save his engine parts for future races.
Button started the race at the Red Bull Ring from the very back of the grid after being handed a 25-place penalty due to a number of changes made to his power unit.
Despite having a fresh turbocharger, MGU-H, MGU-K and internal combustion engine on his car, Button retired from the race after just nine laps on Sunday, with the team saying after the race that there had been an “intake system sensor failure”.
Speaking after the race, the Briton revealed that although nothing was broken, the team did not want to damage the power unit any further and risk incurring more penalties at the British Grand Prix in two weeks’ time.
“Nothing was broken on my car, but something was wrong and the switch-changes didn’t make any difference,” Button said.
“So the team took the decision to retire the car – we’d fitted a brand new engine this weekend, and we didn’t want to unnecessarily damage it, so we decided to stop.”
Button hopes that McLaren can make some progress at his home race on July 5, and is keeping his head up in spite of the team’s struggles.
“Silverstone will be another step forward,” Button said. “Hopefully, we’ll have got rid of our issues so I can have a stronger race in front of my home crowd. And, after that, Hungary is a circuit that should suit us, so we can get a good result there.
“In times like these, you’ve just got to stay positive. Everybody back at the factory listens to our post-race interviews, and both Fernando and I want to keep everyone motivated.
“We’re in a good place, because we know what this package can achieve, so hopefully everyone will continue to stay strong.”
Button’s retirement brought McLaren’s day to an early end after Fernando Alonso crashed out of the race on lap one thanks to a mistake by Kimi Raikkonen.