Button: ‘A matter of time’ before McLaren returns to form

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Jenson Button believes that it is “just a matter of time” before McLaren returns to form and is fighting at the front of the field in Formula 1 again.

McLaren has not won a race since the end of 2012 and finished a lowly ninth in last year’s constructors’ championship as its rekindled engine partnership with Honda encountered a number of teething problems.

Button and teammate Fernando Alonso have enjoyed an upturn in fortunes at the beginning of the 2016 season, scoring 24 points from the opening six races. The team scored just 27 across 19 rounds in 2015.

Button admitted that it will be a while before McLaren is fighting at the front of the pack again, but takes courage from the atmosphere at the team.

“I think it’s going to be a while before we’re competitive enough to fight for big points, but we are making good progress,” Button said ahead of this weekend’s Canadian Grand Prix.

“People would think that this is a circuit that wouldn’t suit our car. I think it’s going to be alright. We’ve come here with some updates that should help us. We’re efficient in terms of our car. I know ExxonMobil has been working hard with Honda, with fuel, so I’m feeling positive.”

Button said that despite the pressure placed on the team from the outside, it remains focused on the task at hand and the progress being made.

“From the outside, you’re always asked the questions ‘where is it? When are you going to be competitive?’ Then every time I speak to the press it’s ‘how about now?’ It’s unbelievable, the pressure from the outside,” Button explained.

“From the inside, we know where we are. We know we’re improving. The atmosphere in the team is very good. There is a lot in the pipeline. It’s always very difficult.

“We’re in a season where we want to get the best result we can. With the regulation change next year, it changes everything. But I’m happy with the progress that is being made.

“There is a good feeling. We feel a lot of the time we’re getting the maximum out of the car. We’re still quite a way off the pace, but it will come.

“It is just a matter of time. But it always takes longer than you want.”

Seattle Supercross by the numbers: Three riders separated by 17 points


Three riders remain locked in a tight battle with 17 points separating the leader Cooper Webb from third-place Chase Sexton and these are only a few Supercross numbers to consider entering Seattle.

Seattle Supercross numbers
Chase Sexton made a statement in Detroit with his second win of 2023. – Feld Motor Sports

For the fifth time in 10 rounds. Sexton, Webb, and Eli Tomac shared the podium in Detroit. Between them, the trio has taken 23 podiums, leaving only seven for the remainder of the field. Jason Anderson, Ken Roczen and Justin Barcia have two each with Aaron Plessinger scoring the other.

Webb and Tomac won the last four championships with two apiece in alternating years, but they were not one another’s primary rival for most of those seasons. On the average, however, the past four years show an incredible similarity with average points earned of 21.0 for Webb and 21.3 for Tomac. With five wins so far this season, Tomac (23 wins) leads Webb (19) in victories but Webb (43) edges Tomac (41) in podium finishes during this span.

Tomac has won two of the last three Seattle races and those two wins in this stadium are topped only by James Stewart. Fittingly, if Tomac gets a third win this week, he will tie Stewart for second on the all-time wins’ list. Tomac tied Ricky Carmichael for third with 48 wins at Oakland and took sole possession of that spot with his Daytona win.

Sexton still has a lot to say and after winning last week in Detroit, he is speaking up. The Supercross numbers are against him entering Seattle, however, because a points’ deficit this large after Round 10 has been erased only once. In 1983 David Bailey was 47 points behind Bob Hannah, and like Sexton he was also in third place. Bailey took the points’ lead with one race remaining.

The seven points Sexton was penalized last week for jumping in a red cross flag section in Detroit could prove extremely costly.

In fact, it has been a series of mistakes that has cost Sexton the most. In the last two weeks, he lost 10 points with a 10th-place finish to go with his penalty. Erase those, and all three riders hold their fate in their hands.

Plessinger’s heartbreak in Detroit is still fresh, but the upside of his run is that was his best of the season and could turn his fortunes around. Prior to that race, he led only seven laps in three mains. He was up front for 20 laps in Detroit with five of those being the fastest on the track.

Last week’s win by Hunter Lawrence tied him with his brother Jett Lawrence for 17th on the all-time wins’ list. With the focus shifting to 250 West for the next two rounds, Jett has a great opportunity to pull back ahead. The real test will be at the first East / West Showdown in East Rutherford, New Jersey on April 22.

Last Five Seattle Winners

2022: Eli Tomac
2019: Marvin Musquin
2018: Eli Tomac
2017: Marvin Musquin
2014: Ryan Villopoto

2022: Hunter Lawrence
2019: Dylan Ferrandis
2018: Aaron Plessinger
2017: Aaron Plessinger
2014: Cole Seely

By the Numbers

Anaheim 2
San Diego

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