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.”