McLaren: Retaining Button is “a great step”

2011 F1 season

Jenson Button, McLaren, Monza, 2011

Button has extended his McLaren contract

McLaren technical director Paddy Lowe praised Jenson Button’s technical feedback after the driver re-signed for the team today.

Speaking in a Vodafone McLaren Mercedes Phone-in, Lowe said: “Having a good driver with good feedback is still essential in Formula 1, even though these days we have far more tools to work with offline – more simulations etc…

“We’re still very reliant on the driver’s feedback and his responses to the changes we made and indeed his suggestions for changes to make. Having Jenson on board for years to come is a great step for us, it gives us a very solid base in terms of the driver that we can rely on for feedback.”

Lowe added Button’s performance on the track had been especially impressive this year: “I think what’s been really nice to see with Jenson is he’s been driving in a way that has surprised us in terms of the style.

“His classic driving approach has been to be very smooth and solid and scoring points without great show, let’s say. Whereas what he’s actually done is deliver some fantastic races – some of the most exciting overtaking manoeuvres we’ve seen all season have come from Jenson.

“That’s been great to see and he’s really enjoyed doing it.”

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26 comments on McLaren: Retaining Button is “a great step”

  1. VettelButtonfan said on 5th October 2011, 11:55

    Wouldve liked to see Jenson team up with Sebs at Red Bull Racing but British driver on a British team makes sense

  2. timi (@timi) said on 5th October 2011, 12:25

    Having Jenson on board for years to come is a great step for us, it gives us a very solid base in terms of the driver that we can rely on for feedback.”

    phwoar!! lewis just got owned by the technical director.

    anyway, this is good for jenson. he’s had a good season and hopefully next season will be even better.. for the whole of mclaren, let alone jenson.

    Im not one of those that think Whitmarsh is a numpty, but I think Mclaren would do well to get Ron Dennis back in that position. An iron fist is what they need, that last little push.

    • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 5th October 2011, 12:26

      It’s been apparent for a while now that Jenson Button is team leader at McLaren. He was asked “Who is the team leader” in Hungary – back in July – and he responded with the utmost confidence that “I am”.

      • timi (@timi) said on 5th October 2011, 12:30

        yeah, but everyone takes that quote without listening to the rest. He says “I am, but if you were to ask lewis im sure he’d say he is” he then laughs. To be honest go to any driver in a team and they’d like to think theyre team leader, obviously unless its someone like ricciardo who clearly isnt

    • timi (@timi) said on 5th October 2011, 12:28

      dammit, i meant to quote that, not make it bold!!

      Having Jenson on board for years to come is a great step for us, it gives us a very solid base in terms of the driver that we can rely on for feedback.

    • BasCB (@bascb) said on 5th October 2011, 14:22

      To be honest, in the context of having signed a new deal with him, its only normal for Lowe to talk about Button, not about the other driver (there also is no notion of either Paffet or De la Rosa as test drivers, is there?).

      What I take as a nice line is this one

      “His classic driving approach has been to be very smooth and solid and scoring points without great show, let’s say. Whereas what he’s actually done is deliver some fantastic races – some of the most exciting overtaking manoeuvres we’ve seen all season have come from Jenson.

      It seems McLaren were thinking of getting a higheer level Heidfeld, it seems, but got a real racer and were just as positively supprised as most F1 fans are by seeing some gutsy racing from Button.

  3. Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 5th October 2011, 12:25

    I think Button really embodies everything that is a McLaren driver: established, intelligent and smooth. Looking back over their history, he’s in good company – names like Hakkinen and Prost as McLaren alumni jump out. Based on his results in 2010 and 2011, I think history will look back on Button’s World Championship and re-evaluate it. A lot of people thought it was all down to the car, but for the last two years, Button has demonstrated a racer’s instinct that, if you looked closely enough, was clear as day in 2009. After all, if Button’s success in 2009 was solely down to the car, why didn’t Rubens Barrichello challenge for the championship?

    • Calum (@calum) said on 5th October 2011, 12:30

      Probably the same reason Webber isn’t this season – his team mate’s a level above. ;)

    • matt90 (@matt90) said on 5th October 2011, 13:33

      I always trusted Button’s ability once he got that first win. He was dominant at the beginning of 09, completely outclassing Barrichello. People forget that in 04 he placed 3rd in the championship behind the Ferraris with 10 podiums. That first win got him off the ground to an extent, and then being hampered by an awful car for 2 years and bouncing back so surely in 09 showed his true ability.

    • Fixy (@fixy) said on 5th October 2011, 16:28

      Button and McLaren fit together well. True, they may not win every race, but hsi character suits the team well, as, in my opinion, Fernando does with Ferrari and Sebastian with Red Bull.

    • DVC (@dvc) said on 6th October 2011, 3:18

      Good company indeed. Names like Peter Revson, David Hobbs, Bruno Giacomelli, Stephen South, Philippe Alliot, Mark Blundell, Pedro de la Rosa and Heikki Kovalainen. There’s a rich history there.

      Of course I’m joking, and McLaren does have an honour roll of really good drivers, but it does go to show that you can pick names out large pool fairly selectively if you want.

  4. raymondu999 (@raymondu999) said on 5th October 2011, 12:45

    Once being a competing engineer myself; I’d have to agree with Paddy based on what I see. Jenson’s very smooth style is a lot easier to maintain than Lewis’ driving style as it builds a rhythm very quickly that he can just repeat. This creates very very strong consistency.

    Lewis on the other hand tries to push and push harder and harder every lap.

    With Jenson; you know that the upgrade worked/not. With Lewis; you don’t know if it’s the upgrade or the driving.

    It’s also a lot easier to look at data for Button, I would surmise. It’s not easy to filter out lockups/wheelspin moments from data; and how much those hypothetically cost him.

    • bosyber (@bosyber) said on 5th October 2011, 13:03

      I agree, that’s very useful for McLaren.

      On the flip side, it also means that Hamilton can do things with the car when it isn’t working very well, out-driving the car, while Button then risks getting stuck in “massive understeer” and the like.

      Having the combination to me seems increasingly like a smart move for them to finally be able to clench another WCC. Although Hamilton needs to get a grip and show those great drives a bit more this season.

    • matt90 (@matt90) said on 5th October 2011, 13:36

      And to think that in 09 people always had a go at Button for being poor at set-up work and always stealing Barrichello’s set-up. That he’s sensitive to set-up is actually one of his greatest strengths, even if it in some ways acts as a hindrance.

  5. Eggry (@eggry) said on 5th October 2011, 12:49

    It’s great for the team.

  6. Robbie (@robbie) said on 5th October 2011, 13:17

    Great to hear this…great for Mac, great for F1…what I most like about this is that in spite of recent issues like spygate and FA accusing the team of an LH skewing, Mac is still unafraid to have two WDC’s on the team, no designated number 1 and number 2 from the start of the season. Other teams should look to this example as the way to give the paying/viewing audience the best show possible…true racing in the pinnacle of racing, not a preordained result via a team philosophy that gives it up for one driver while the other must support. Even though Mac themselves has used this philosophy at times, they aren’t now, and it’s great for F1.

  7. Don Mateo (@don-mateo) said on 5th October 2011, 22:50

    Great news. I was among the many people who thought Jenson would be blown away by Lewis at McLaren, I’m pleased he’s proved us all wrong. I believe he’s driving better now than ever before and in some respects is showing Lewis how it’s done.

  8. wasiF1 (@wasif1) said on 6th October 2011, 3:02

    I guess for 2014.

  9. I’m thankful for that post.Truly looking forward to read more. Want much more.

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