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Jenson Button calls for ‘big change’ so F1 can be mind-blowing


Jenson Button believes that Formula 1 requires a “big change” in the near future to make the cars much quicker to drive and exciting for fans to watch.

Since making his debut in 2000, Button has driven through many different eras of F1, ranging from powerful V10-engined cars to the current turbo V6 formula.

Lap times have dropped considerably over the past 10 years, leading to a push from many within the series to make the cars quicker again by changing the regulations for the 2017 season.

Button believes that F1 cars should be by far the quickest in motorsport, and that making this change will solve many of the issues facing the sport at the moment.

“We need to see a big change in the sport. I think the cars need to be quite a lot quicker,” Button told NBC Sports.

“I remember in 2005, I was amazed how excited I was to watch a Formula 1 car go around the circuit, and the grip level – I mean it was just beyond anything. We were 10 seconds quicker than anything around a grand prix circuit, and it’s the way it should be.

“It should be out of this world fast, it should be light years above anything else. Not two seconds quicker than a GP2 car. That’s what we’ve got to get back to, and I think everyone understands that.

“It’s just everyone signing on the dotted line to actually move things forward and to make progress, because it is progress if we find ourselves five seconds quicker next year.

“You’ll have happy drivers, the adrenaline will be pumping, interviews will be great – it helps everyone, and the fans love that, seeing happy drivers. It’s what we need.”

Button also spoke about the sound of F1 – a hot topic in recent years – and said that he thinks the engines should be far louder than they are now in a bid to capture the next generation of fans.

“I also think we need louder Formula 1 cars, but that’s not going to happen for next year, which is a shame,” Button said.

“I think this year’s change hasn’t really done much for the other teams. For us, our car’s a lot louder than the other teams for some reason which is great, because it’s what the sport needs.

“It should be beyond kids’ wildest dreams. When they see a Formula 1 car it should blow their mind, and I don’t think it does at the moment.

“The sound should be there, we should be revving to 20,000 rpm. I know that we should always be moving on in terms of technology, but I’m sure there’s a way of still using the technology of a V10 engine and using it in road cars.

“I’m not sure what the engine manufacturers will think about me saying that, but that’s the dream. That was the dream as a kid, and that’s still the dream to have that feeling underneath you as a driver.”

Toyota No. 8 car wins the 24 Hours of Le Mans for third consecutive year

24 Hours of Le Mans

LE MANS, France — Toyota Gazoo’s No. 8 car comfortably won the 24 Hours of Le Mans by five laps Sunday to secure a third straight victory in the prestigious endurance race.

It was also a third consecutive win for Swiss driver Sebastien Buemi and Japan’s Kazuki Nakajima driving. Brendon Hartley was the other driver, having replaced two-time Formula One champion Fernando Alonso.

Buemi and Hartley sat on the side of the car as Nakajima drove toward the podium. Hartley won for a second time after tasting success with the Porsche LMP Team in 2017 before an unhappy season in Formula One.

The Swiss team’s Rebellion No. 1 featured American driver Gustavo Menezes and Brazilian Bruno Senna – the nephew of late F1 great Ayrton Senna.

It finished one lap ahead of Toyota Gazoo’s No. 7, with Rebellion’s No. 3 finishing in fourth place.

For much of the race it looked like Toyota’s No. 7 would win after leading comfortably from pole position. But late into the night the car encountered an engine problem and the 30-minute stop in the stands proved costly.

The race was first held in 1923. A total of 252,500 spectators attended in 2019, but there were none this year when the race started three months late because of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

“We miss the fans,” New Zealander Hartley said. “I look forward to seeing all the fans again.”

In other divisions:

United Autosports won the LMP2 division with the entry of Filipe Albuquerque, Paul Di Resta and Phil Hanson.

–In LMGTE Pro, the victory was claimed by Aston Martin Vantage AMR of Maxime Martin, Alex Lynn and Harry Tincknell (who drives for Mazda in the DPi division of IMSA).

–TF Sport won the LMGTE Am class.

The Toyota No. 7 took pole after former F1 driver Kamui Kobayashi narrowly edged out the Rebellion No. 1 team in qualifying.

In damp and humid conditions Mike Conway got away cleanly from the start, while Senna held off Buemi.

After nearly seven hours, Toyota’s No. 8 fell back after a 10-minute stop in the stands to fix a brake-cooling problem on Kazuki Nakajima’s car. Rebellion’s No. 1, driven by Frenchman Norman Nato, took advantage to move into second place behind Toyota’s No. 7.

Then came the decisive moment at 2:40 a.m. as the No. 7 – also featuring Argentine Jose Maria Lopez – encountered a turbo problem. When the car came back out it was back in fourth.

“We had a few problems early in the race,” Nakajima said. “Later they had a bigger issue than us.”

Rebellion’s No. 1 encountered a problem on the hood at around 9 a.m. and the change took six minutes, allowing the Rebellion No. 3 (Nathanael Berthon-Louis Deletraz-Romain Dumas) to close the gap.

It was becoming a tight battle between the two Rebellion cars behind Toyota’s No. 8.

At 12 p.m. Rebellion No. 3 with Dumas behind the wheel was only one second ahead of No. 1 driven by Menezes. Then both cars came in for a driver change with Deletraz swapping for Dumas on a lengthy stop, and Nato for Menezes as Rebellion No. 1 suddenly moved ahead of its team rival.

Dumas, a winner in 2016 with Porsche, appeared unhappy at the strategy decision to bring his car in first and the length of the stop. There were tense explanations in the team garage.

Colombian Tatiana Calderon, an F1 test driver with Alfa Romeo, was in the Richard Mille Racing Team in the LMP2 category. She was joined by German Sophia Florsch – an F3 driver – and Dutchwoman Beitske Visser. They placed ninth out of 24 in their category.