Button happy for McLaren to sacrifice reliability for performance

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Jenson Button is happy for McLaren to sacrifice reliability for performance as it continues to close the gap to the front of the grid in Formula 1.

Since switching to Honda power units at the start of the 2015 season, McLaren has struggled to match the pace of its rivals, finishing a lowly ninth in last year’s constructors’ championship.

However, as Honda has acclimatized to life back in F1 and McLaren has made further gains, the gap to the rest of the pack has shrunk.

In Austria last weekend, Button qualified third and finished the race sixth in what was arguably McLaren’s most competitive display over the past two years.

McLaren has continued to struggle with reliability in 2016, getting both of its cars to the checkered flag just three times in nine races so far this year.

When asked if the team’s lack of reliability was a concern, Button said: “I don’t think so. If you look at a lot of teams, cars aren’t finishing, so I don’t think that is an issue.

“I would rather be pushing things to the limit and getting better results and possibly having some reliability issues.

“We’re not fighting for a world championship this year, far from it, so it’s important for is to try to maximize what we have, enjoy the weekend and get the best out of what we have on the weekend and I think they are doing a good job of balancing that.”

Button doubts that McLaren can repeat its Austria form, barring the conditions playing into the team’s favor as they did last weekend.

“Coming here I don’t expect to be qualifying fifth, unless we get some really good British weather and have a good downpour, which I’m hoping for, because then I think we do have more of an opportunity,” Button said.

“The race is going to be reasonably tricky for us here. The car is very good in low-speed corners. High-speed corners we don’t really know.

“We do have some upgrades, aero-wise, engine-wise, so it’s moving forward. It’s just never as a quick as you hope is it.

“But the guys are doing a very good job of bringing something to every race and on the power side it should be a positive step.”

Ganassi announces multiyear sponsorship extension with American Legion for No. 10

Chip Ganassi American Legion
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Chip Ganassi Racing announced a new primary sponsorship deal with The American Legion this week, shoring up the funding on its No. 10 Dallara-Honda of Alex Palou.

The 2021 NTT IndyCar Series champion primarily had driven with NTT Data sponsorship the past two seasons. But NTT Data will move next season to McLaren Racing as a primary sponsor for Felix Rosenqvist in 10 races and on the Indy 500 car of Tony Kanaan (who drove an American Legion car for Ganassi at the Brickyard last year).

It was the latest twist in a McLaren-Ganassi saga that included a contract dispute for the services of Palou (who is expected to move to McLaren in 2024 after reaching an agreement to race with Ganassi next year).

Ganassi stayed within its own walls to help plug the sponsorship gap left by NTT Data, re-signing The American Legion to a multiyear extension. The Indianapolis-based non-profit organization, which has been sponsoring Ganassi cars for the past few seasons, also will be associated with other Ganassi drivers, including Indy 500 winner Marcus Ericsson and development driver Kyffin Simpson in Indy NXT.

The Ganassi organization will continue promoting The American Legion’s “Be The One” campaign aimed at reducing veteran suicides. The team launched an online auction for the initiative this week.

“Supporting our nation’s veterans is of immense importance to our organization and we are humbled to continue supporting The American Legion’s mission in ending veteran suicide,” team owner Chip Ganassi said in a release. “We will do absolutely everything we can to help veterans get the support they need while raising public awareness of the ‘Be The One’ platform.”

“We have received an overwhelming amount of support from fans, active-duty military members and veterans as a result of this partnership and we’re pleased to see it grow,” said Dean Kessel, chief marketing officer at The American Legion. “Thanks to the continuous collaboration with the team’s other partners, and the promotion of the ‘Be The One’ initiative, we are discovering more ways to engage with the military community than ever before. We want all veterans to know that it’s okay to ask for help.”