McLaren not well-suited to Monaco, says Button

2012 Monaco Grand Prix

Jenson Button, McLaren, Barcelona, 2012Jenson Button says the MP4-27 isn’t the ideal car for the tight, slow Monte-Carlo track.

“Our car isn?t especially suited to the tighter confines of a track like Monaco,” said Button. However, he added, “I?m optimistic of getting on top of the balance issues that have affected me for the past two races. It?s going to be a fantastic weekend.”

Button won the race for Brawn in 2009 and finished on the podium last year after a late charge was interrupted by the race being red-flagged.

He said: “I remember last year having a fantastic car beneath me and feeling really confident that I could challenge for the win.

“As it happened, circumstances beyond our control worked to pull that opportunity away from us, but I go back to Monte-Carlo with a little bit of unfinished business.”

Team mate Lewis Hamilton is looking to improve on eighth place in the last two races at the track where he won in 2008:

“It?s important not to lose sight of the fact that, despite pushing for the win, consistency and scoring decent points is currently the most sensible way to tackle this world championship.

“I?ve scored points at every race, and I?m only eight points off the lead of the championship. That?s a really encouraging statistic and it?s reassuring to see my approach is paying off.

“Nevertheless, I?m coming off the back of two relatively disappointing results and there would be no better place for the cards to fall in my favour than at Monaco.”

2012 Monaco Grand Prix

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61 comments on McLaren not well-suited to Monaco, says Button

  1. Becken Lima (@becken-lima) said on 18th May 2012, 16:57

    I guess Button could say the same about Barcelona. Lets see what Hamilton have to say about it saturday.

    • David BR2 said on 19th May 2012, 2:41

      Exactly. Jenson is going to look a tad daft saying this if and when Lewis gets a proper run at the track this year – which I think basically means McLaren not messing anything up! Given this circuit seems to have brought out the worst in the team’s clumsiness the last few years, and given the mistakes so far this year, it will take some doing, but here’s hoping.

    • jimscreechy (@) said on 19th May 2012, 8:04

      Hmmm well at least he’s getting his excuses out of the way before the race weekend. You have to give him a little credit for forward thinking if nothing else.

      • Todfod (@todfod) said on 19th May 2012, 13:25

        Dude, trust me… all we’re gonna be hearing on Jenson’s radio during the entire weekend is how he cannot find the right balance, how he doesn’t have enough grip, how the car is understeering, how the car is now suddenly oversteering, how his tyres aren’t working for him and how changing track conditions ruined his weekend.

        This is just a pre-race weekend warning given to us by Jenson.

  2. Enya said on 18th May 2012, 17:04

    Monaco will be Red Bull track, they are the best in slower sections and Marko confirmed that RB8 is well suited to this track.

  3. Tom (@newdecade) said on 18th May 2012, 17:05

    “Button not well-suited to McLaren, says Monaco”

    Sorry I thought it was meant to be a driver’s track where car deficiencies were less significant!

  4. matt044907 (@mattdavis) said on 18th May 2012, 17:06

    He’s starting to sound like the broken Trulli record from last year (my power steering is no good) when he bemoans the MP4-27’s balance…d’oh that’s down to you and your engineer to get right……

  5. maxthecat said on 18th May 2012, 17:07

    I’m a Button fan, i like him but this ‘balance issues’ thing has being his complaint his entire career, sadly i don’t think he has a great brain for setting up a car. He and Lewis aren’t strong enough in this area to move McLaren forward.

    • Tom (@newdecade) said on 18th May 2012, 17:19

      Saw some video or other with Lewis and Jenson trying to explain the significance of the EBD loss for this year, Lewis was trying to figure it out in his head as he was talking, which I expected, but Jenson didn’t seem to have a good handle on how it worked either which was a surprise. I guess Rosberg with his aerospace degree is quite an anomaly in F1.

      • Ral (@ral) said on 18th May 2012, 17:34

        I didn’t see the video you are talking about I think so I don’t know if I’m reading your post correctly what it is they were trying to explain.

        But I think there is a not insignificant chance that the problem they were having is not how the EBD worked, or what it did or felt like and what not having it feels like this year, but rather how to explain that in layman’s terms. There is so much jargon in any job that goes into any sort of detail, that sometimes it’s hard to say what you mean without resorting to jargon. And that might be simply because there are no equivalent “normal” words, or because “normal” words have been appropriated and used in non-standard ways. Like for example “primes” and “options”.

      • Victor. (@victor) said on 18th May 2012, 21:01

        Wikipedia says he was merely offered a place at Imperial in 2005, which he rejected. Makes sense – can’t see him holding a degree while focusing on his racing career.

        Anyway, bright chap.

      • Drop Valencia! said on 19th May 2012, 3:10

        Some people expect the drivers to know it all, this is almost never the case, infact there has only ever been one driver that practically knew it all…..

  6. Hallard (@hallard) said on 18th May 2012, 17:10

    I wonder what Button means, more specifically. He Usually provides a lot more detailed fedback. Considering that the MP4-27 has been there or thereabouts in almost all circumstances, Im surprised to hear him say this. The car doesnt seem to have any major fundamental flaws, and Hamilton does not seem to suffer from the balance issues that have plagued Button of late.

    It just seems to be an odd thing to say, I guess. It only adds to my anticipation for this race though!

    • timi (@timi) said on 18th May 2012, 17:15

      @hallard well every driver has a completely unique balance they favour, so it’s unfair to compare one driver’s complaints about balance, to another’s. For example, I remember a BBC interview last year asking whether or not driver’s prefer understeer of oversteer. JB said understeer and LH said oversteer, so you can bet the balance they like/can manage is hugely different.

      • Nigelstash (@nigelstash) said on 18th May 2012, 17:22

        Jenson seems to have a narrower range that he can work within.

        • Gezzy said on 27th May 2012, 20:08

          I agree timi , also the garage should be able to locate everything that happens on track,
          Also they afraid of losing Lewis so Jenson no chance this year

      • SatchelCharge (@satchelcharge) said on 18th May 2012, 17:24

        @timi Yea I think this is fairly telling when we’re talking about setting up two identical cars in very different ways. No simple feat. Yes, they have massive resources and data, but working with a bleeding-edge machine will never be easy no matter what the situation is.

      • Hallard (@hallard) said on 18th May 2012, 18:54


        That’s a fair point and I agree, but my post actually wasnt intended as a criticism of Button. I’m a big fan of Button, actually, and I really like how he typically provides more detailed information than most drivers (to the fans/press, at least) about how his car is behaving. Thus, in this case, I suppose I was looking for him to elaborate more on why he thinks the Monaco circuit wont particularly suit the MP4-27.


        • timi (@timi) said on 18th May 2012, 20:06

          @hallard Ahh I get you, my bad. Yeah you’re right, I can’t make out what to think of his lack of detail this time. It seems as if it’s intentional. May be the car sucks in general (looking at it’s pace in the last few races), so he doesn’t want to raise expectations. Who knows!! I just hope it’s a good race and he’s in the mix.

          Sorry again for misunderstanding your original comment!

          • Hallard (@hallard) said on 18th May 2012, 21:10

            No worries, and no apologies necessary :)

            I, too, get the impression that maybe Jenson is just trying to temper expectations to a certain extent. That said, I do think he’ll bring a good haul of points from Monaco, even if he doesnt get the win.

  7. Funny Button says that, since the McLaren was the quickest car through the tight-twist last sector in Barcelona, which is historically a good sign for Monaco performance.

    Button getting his early excuses in?

  8. Zahir (@zahir) said on 18th May 2012, 17:26

    That’s interesting to hear from Button because it seemed that Mclaren were strong in the final sector in Barcelona. Hamilton set the second quickest time in the final sector in qualifying so you would assume that would indicate that Mclaren have decent package for Monaco. Button set the 8th fastest time in the final sector in quali so maybe its more he doesnt feel comfortable in the Mclaren through slower corners, but that doesn’t seem like what he was getting at. Will be interesting to see how the Mclaren boys get on.

    On a slightly separate note, the fastest driver in the final sector at Barcelona? Maldonado.

    Monaco is always a GP you look forward to, but I really really can’t wait for this years race

  9. BBT (@bbt) said on 18th May 2012, 17:32

    Not stating anything we didn’t already know really. Fast corners where RBR dominated last year are where the MP4-27 excels. Wasn’t too good on traction in Spain and Mclaren haven’t had a great car at Monaco since I don’t know when. If they are not bringing a version of the MP4-27 specifically for Monaco they could easily be fighting for anything from 3rd – 13th IMO.

    • BBT (@bbt) said on 18th May 2012, 17:36

      Although Hamilton and Button are more than capable of making the difference on a track that rewards precision and consistency. They won or done well before in a less than perfect car.

    • Alehud42 (@alehud42) said on 18th May 2012, 21:19

      Mclaren haven’t had a great car at Monaco since I don’t know when.

      How many times has McLaren won the Monaco GP again?

      • BBT (@bbt) said on 18th May 2012, 22:56

        How is that relevant, how many times have they won in under the recent regulations, when did the last win it.

        BTW 15 times the last in 2007 and 2008 before the regulations changed big time.

    • Harvs (@harvs) said on 18th May 2012, 21:34

      Yea the RBR of ’10 and ’11 dominated in fast corners like you stated but it also won both the Monaco GP’s of those two years…

      • BBT (@bbt) said on 18th May 2012, 22:53

        Yeah but is also was a good allrounder and had a short wheelbase and good traction not something you can say about Mclaren, although last years car did have decent traction.

    • David-A (@david-a) said on 18th May 2012, 22:29

      Mclaren haven’t had a great car at Monaco since I don’t know when.

      Since last year when one was on the front row and podium, and the other one squandered his car in both qualifying and the race.

      • BBT (@bbt) said on 18th May 2012, 22:59

        Not a great car but great drivers that make the difference. ;-)

        Anyway argue with Button, I agree with him. Seriously though it doesn’t play to Mclaren strengths this year (or last year for that matter)….. it will be a 1 – 2 then in 2012

  10. Lin1876 (@lin1876) said on 18th May 2012, 17:40

    Should be interesting at Monaco, as once again there are several teams with a chance of success and a big result, and a few more who won’t be that far behind the 8-ball such as McLaren.

    And all that’s before we take into account the annual Monaco madness which can rip up the form book like nothing else. Case in point, Panis winning in 1996 from 14th. It’s happened before and it will happen again.

  11. OOliver said on 18th May 2012, 19:12

    Is this a pre excuse , excuse?
    I can’t help but think Button is being pampered all the time.
    When he finishes ahead of Hamilton, he is better than Hamilton, when he finishes behind, he couldn’t find grip. I don’t believe grip is in the garage and the engineers are not adding enough of it. Grip is on the racing line and every driver is making do with what they’ve got without complaining.

  12. electrolite (@electrolite) said on 18th May 2012, 19:34

    I think Button knows more about his car’s strengths and weaknesses than any of us do, somehow. He could be very surprised however, after all, the only other street circuit of this year so far was where he won.

    And what’s this with everyone complaining about Button complaining when he doesn’t finish in a higher position? If a driver has an off-weekend, it’s often because they can’t find the sweet spot or the balance, after all…

  13. AndrewTanner (@andrewtanner) said on 18th May 2012, 19:49

    While I would associate RBR’s usual downforce philosophy with a track like Monaco, it really is anyone’s track on the day. All it takes is a mess up in qualifying and the pole sitter has the race to lose. That’s why I see Button not doing well, just because he’s not spectacular in qualifying, not because of the car.

  14. tkcom (@tkcom) said on 18th May 2012, 20:10

    This could be a bluff. We’ll find out when the chequered flag falls.

  15. OOliver said on 18th May 2012, 20:21

    We could argue that Alonso’s car didn’t have any sweet spot, yet he was able to tame it these past 5 races. The great drivers are those who can compensate for the flaws in their cars and augment the capabilities.
    If you can only operate in a narrow window, then you are ordinary.

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