Button open about where it went wrong
Button open about where it went wrong
Posted By:   |  23 Jun 2009   |  9:06 am GMT  |  13 comments

I have posted before about Jenson Button and his openness this season. Despite his reputation as a bit of a playboy, he is very serious about his racing and always has been. Now he’s at the sharp end and very focussed, he analyses situations very clearly and is good enough to share them with us in the media, on and off the record.
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After the British Grand Prix he did his usual media debrief and I have picked out a few comments which enhance our understanding of his situation and how the season is unfolding for him.

Silverstone wasn’t a great weekend; he failed to win the British Grand Prix, which is a major disappointment and he failed to make the podium for the first time this season.

Jenson’s trademark this season has been calmness and he maintained that throughout the weekend, apart from one rather frantic radio call complaining that the car was not handling well in the fast corners. It wasn’t desperation, but there was a strong note of anxiety there.

He believes that Silverstone was a blip, caused by a combination of circuit characteristics and cool weather. His team mate managed a podium and there wasn’t another car which looked like seriously challenging Rubens’ Brawn, so Button will be reassured that on hotter tracks with fewer fast corners he will be able to compete with Red Bull and manage the points gap he has to Vettel, which is currently 25.

“I would love to win the British GP, but it didn’t happen,” said Button. “I came away with three points, which is not great. But, I am not massively disappointed. I go to the Nurburgring positive and thinking that we can take the fight to Red Bull there.”

Button highlights the braking capability of the Brawn as a key weapon, something we have heard before and as Silverstone doesn’t feature too many important braking zones, it was a weapon they couldn’t use there.

“The braking on our car is the strongest point at the moment, ” he said. “We are stronger than the Red Bulls under braking, but there is no braking here. You never hit the pedal that hard here, and that is another reason why we cannot get tyre temperature.”

He then explains how the pecking order is worked out at Brawn. Both drivers are given an equal shot at the pole by carrying the same fuel load. That has happened quite a few times this season. It’s then down to how is in front after the start to come in on the appointed lap, while the slower car has tom pit a lap early.

“I was fuelled to lap 19, as was Rubens, and obviously he was in front and he, as he should, got lap 19. I stopped a lap early, as did Trulli.

“We knew we wouldn’t get him in the stops so we fuelled it long. I had a lot of fuel on board, the most I’ve had all year, on the prime tyre. That tyre just did not work at all. I had such little grip, and Rubens struggled with it as well even though he can work the tyre more.”

Other sites have published the whole debrief as a Q & A and it’s worth having a read, but the above are the most interesting points for me.

Silverstone was a wake up call for Brawn and Button but they are still on course. Red Bull will fight them at the remaining races, but Vettel has already lost a couple of his 8 allocated engines for the season so that might count against him later on and the Red Bull car he and Webber use is still a bit heavy on tyres at some venues, which is another weakness.

Everything still points towards Button and he is staying calm, but we could be in for some competitive weekends.

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It’s not over yet! In this case, I think that Jenson’s driving style has not been optimal for the conditions.

JB is known for his smooth style, kind to tyres, and blisteringly fast in a well sorted car. Just as his style doesn’t translate well to a poorly handling car, in this case, his kindness to the tyres has prevented him attaining the necessary heat and grip to do well.

I don’t think red-bull are as far ahead as they appear; the problem here was related specifically to silverstone, the tyres, and the cool climate.

Brawn have a round of significant upgrades on the way, while RB will likely be tweaking and applying minor changes for the next while.


What about the choice of tyre brought to the track? Presumably some compounds will favour one type of car and driver over another? How is it decided what compound will be used ?


At the Silverstone weekend I noticed Hamilton had won last years championship with the Number 22 and it looks like another Brit this year has a chance of winning the Championship with the Number 22.

Northern Munkee

Never mess with good karma or wining formula, call it superstitious mumbo jumbo, but put the fluorescent yellow helmet design back on!


regarding the engine usage info, I found this on the planet-F1 forum earlier: http://forum.planet-f1.com/index.php?t=msg&th=76099&start=0&


Interesting point you make at the end regarding engines. Is anyone in the media keep track of the engine situation? I would have thought that was quite key information (how many engines blown) how many engines used etc. Could certainly give some insight into how each team is managing their engine allocation for the season.
Do the teams not publish this information James?


My gut feel is that Jenson and Brawn are playing down the step that Red Bull has made.

While Silverstone was always going to be a Red Bull Racing track, I think the gap they acheived – particularly visible in fuel corrected quali – was significantly bigger than just track and weather factors account for.

The weather of the European summer could ultimatly decide this championship. A hot summer is going to play into the hands of Brawn, a cold one to Red Bull’s advantage.

Whatever the reality of the gains or otherwise, I just hope it is a titanic battle to the final race. It is certainly great to have 4 of the nicest and most open drivers (in 2 of the most fan friendly teams) fighting at the front.

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