Button: “I’ve never been so pleased to get out of a car” after Canadian GP
Posted By: James Allen  |  10 Jun 2013   |  6:24 pm GMT  |  233 comments

McLaren’s Jenson Button said he has “never been so pleased to get out of a car” after he finished a lowly 12th in Sunday’s Canadian Grand Prix, once place behind his team-mate Sergio Perez.

The result ended McLaren’s impressive 64-race streak in the points and highlighted their current plight. The team are sixth in the constructors’ championship, 164 points behind leaders Red Bull while neither Button or Perez has come close to scoring a podium.

Button, the 2009 world champion, tried a one-stop strategy in Montreal, while his team-mate Sergio Perez did two stops, however both drivers struggled and finished just three seconds apart.

There were long faces among the McLaren management – team principal Martin Whitmarsh, managing director Jonathan Neale and sporting director Sam Michael – at the airport last night.

The car does have underlying pace, though. In the race, the McLaren was 0.5 seconds faster than Toro Rosso and lapping around the same pace as Force India.

However, while Toro Rosso’s Jean-Eric Vergne achieved sixth and Force’s Paul di Resta and Adrian Sutil seventh and 10th respectively, McLaren failed to score and Button never ran higher than 10th.

Button said: “It was just one of those difficult days that you have. The team told me a lap time to follow so that we could be sure of keeping the tyres alive long enough to stay on a one-stop schedule, but it turned out that they lasted a lot better than we thought and that I could have been going a lot quicker.”

Whitmarsh admitted the team had made mistakes. “We got it wrong. With Jenson, we should have started on the prime tyre. We really stayed out on the option too long, stayed in traffic and lost a lot of time.

“In the case of Jenson, we set him lap time targets which were too slow – and he could have gone much faster. He could have pushed into the points. It was one weekend where we didn’t get it right. We were not quick enough to be at the front but we should have been able to get in the points.”

Button, 33, added: “It was quite painful out there. We got lapped, easily lapped. It was like we were in a different category.”

But the Briton remained positive ahead of his home race at Silverstone on 28-30 June. He said: “I’m still looking forward to my home grand prix. Are we going to be quicker there? Yes. We’re not going to be on the podium I don’t think, but getting into high points has got to be our aim.”

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I have never understood that statement ref “maxed out” it’s potential, development is open – if the regs stayed the same then it’s just a case of refineing what they had

In hindsight Maclaren could be so far ahead bot;h championships or have that potential


“The team told me a lap time to follow so that we could be sure of keeping the tyres alive…”

Is this where we’ve ended up in f1? How about just get in and drive the flippin wheels off the thing.


2.5s Pitstop was mighty Impressive though!

There’s a lot I don’t understand about what’s happening at McLaren this Season, but then I’m not an Engineer! But for them to have the Fastest Car Last Season, and be in the Mid-Field this season, just seems Crazy, to have Stayed still or even gone Backwards in Car Development, How does that Happen?

I still think they need to preserver with this Car, if only to Understand what not to do next Year. You have to start considering this Year a Write-Off, so they may as well try a few Development Curve-Balls and what happens!


What happened to the days of watching cars actually racing. You look at any other motor sport and you get racing to the limit. It doesnt matter whether your rooting for Vettel, Alonso, Kimi or Button, I think everyone would just like to see drivers being allowed to push and not handicapped by silly tyre compounds.

For some reason the managment of F1 thinks a sport is interesting because of the strategy behind the scenes. You dont watch a football match and enjoy watching the physio’s strategising about how to warm Ronaldo’s hamstring up in the most efficient way. You watch it for the competition. “We want to watch F1 for the competition”. The strategy you should get in a race is The choice of tyre compound, fuel load, when to make your stops and how many stops. Not being limited to how many tyres. F1 teams should be able to use any of the Pirelli compounds at any race and as many tyres as they like. Quite frankly watching an F1 car tip toe round in order to not offend its tyres is offensive to the fans. You may as well go and watch the traffic at rush hour on the M25.


“In the case of Jenson, we set him lap time targets which were too slow – and he could have gone much faster. He could have pushed into the points. It was one weekend where we didn’t get it right. We were not quick enough to be at the front but we should have been able to get in the points.”

about a sorry state of affairs.


Mclaren have been most unlucky this season. Personally , I think they made a judjement error by going for a super agressive design this year, rather than progress the fast platform which they had at the end of 2012. This is always a risky stratergy, as was witnessed by Ferrai early last year. Sometimes a great idea and very agressive design pays off and produces a winning car, but I think Mclaren took a big risk taking this route, considering the new regulations in 2014, when all teams will be taking a new agreesive design approach. Red bull, Ferrari, Merc, Torro Rosso have all built on the 2012 platform they knew worked well at the end of 2012.Macca took a risk and got it wrong. They will improve the car no doubt, but they are playing catch up this season with a big gap to start with. They will do extreemely well to catch Ferrari and Red Bull! Ferrari always have the added pressure of tifosi,Monti, Fiat and an etire nations angry criticism to propel their development into the stratosphere when they get it wrong of course. Macca on the other hand don’t quite have such a cattle prod to drive them when they get it wrong. Neither do they have an Alonso, Hamilton or or Vettel to help. Button is good, but I’m not sure he is the right man to drive a team forward?

Macca seem to have had a lot of operational problems in the last 4 seasons, and one has to ask what is wrong at the team, they seem to have gone stale. paddy low’s and Lewis’ exits, to me speak volumes. The team is lacking excitement and energy, and seems incapable of moutning a real challenge. lets hope the team is not going the way of Williams.


It’s so obvious what the problem at McLaren is…

1.) Whitmarsh

2.) Button

They are bosom buddies – they keep each other around at the detriment of McLaren.

Their combination is a nightmare.


I agree – combined with a decline in working relations with Mercedes over several years – they do after all run their own team against Mclaren now.


James. Some folk here drawing a comparison with Ferrari’s poor start to the 2012 season. Interesting parallel between the two is that they both changed from push to a pull rod (or was it the other way round?) suspension set up. To what extent do you think that this is a contributing factor to McLaren being unable to understand the performance of the car given the different aero and ride issues that this brings up? If I remember rightly it was noted as a reason for Ferrari’s slow start last year.


Get rid of Whitmarsh, he has taken this team no where since he took over running it. And Get rid of Sam Michael, he cursed Williams, and has now cursed Mclaren


See what I mean?


Just scrolled down and fell off my chair!


I’m with Roger W and Peter C.

Lovely comment above Peter 🙂


Peter C – my kinda guy – agree 100%


Tale of the tape. 2010 Turkey. Both drivers told to conserve fuel in the races closing stages after Vettel / Webber pranged and handed the one / two grid positions to Macca. Button pulled a Vettel and overtook HAM. HAM didn’t mess around and regained the lead in a couple of corners. Not in four / five laps, in a couple of corners! Very telling,that. In 2012, James has said that HAM left over a 100 points on the table due to pitstop errors and reliability issues. Come on. HAM made ALO look very ordinary in his rookie year. You wouldn’t say that BUTT is better than ALO, now would you? BUTT is better? Maybe on the political end of the spectrum. Checo is now HANDILY outperforming BUTT in both quali and race pace. All things being equal, HAM is better in quali, and raw pace, and his overtaking moves are often the stuff of legend. Wake up and smell the espresso.

roberto marquez

A lot of the same people that said nothing good when Hamilton went to Mercedes are now recognising his value as a quick driver. ???? People be serious. Quoting from the article “we set him lap time targets which were too slow – and he could have gone much faster.”, the team telling the driver how to drive ????. What is this The Scalectrix World Driver Championship ???????????


When drivers have to drive to timed laps and not push at all, they may as well give up and go home… F1 is becoming entirely pointless. DRS and now time restricted laps – what a total joke F1 is…


Wow, im amazed at so much negativity, ive just read all these posts from the armchair enthusiast. Yes Im not a fan of Mclaren’s silly mistakes whether on track, in the design office, or in the driving seat behaind the wheel. Its way too easy for us all to critique every, word, error, and desicion. I think every one just needs to show a little bit more respect..

After all, like me im sure all you that post make poor descions from time to time. imagine if every time you did you had 1000 so called experts having an opion on why you are so rubbish.

Its a shame that in this age, there is so much media platform easily available and opportunity for people to express their opinions, without respect or true understanding of the whole situation.

I wish Mclaren well in thier quest to resolve the issues, whilst privately having a little chukle at the situation they are in.


Andy, thanks for a very civil, respecting opinion, I appreciate that. Now, can you please step down from the pulpit?

Are we following Kiddie soccer? People here have invested years and years of time (some have bought expensive sports tv packages) and have a passion following a particular team/driver and will get emotional when things don’t go their way. I’m sure James will remove abnoxious comments from here before it gets published, so lets not get too corporate & politically correct here.


I think what he’s saying is that most of the posters on here haven’t a clue what they’re talking about.

The only thing that most people want to do is a character-assasination of someone they don’t like.

As for comments about Sam Michael, when JA has already said that he doesn’t design the car or manage the Team / pitstops, people just go on moaning “He’s got to go….& take Whitmarsh with you”..etc….etc.

It’ll happen the same on a Ferrari thread, or a Red Bull one – I’ve even seen it about Caterham & Marussia

Childish in extreme, a product of the internet. The general negativity, I mean – not just re. this thread.

On another F1 blog I read, many of the above posts would not be accepted & the posters would be banned.


Absolutely spot on, Peter. And get rid of Sam Michael whilst you’re at it. Rubbish designer, he is… :0)

Derek Stevenson

Mclaren seem to be suffering from far too many routine operational problems eg gearbox on JB ‘s car on Friday in Canada -losing time in the only dry session, fuel pump problems which have cost race wins the last few years as well as quali positions. They need a good organiser and IMO Sam Michael -with his track record at Williams and Mclaren – is a large part of the problem. Perhaps if he was replaced the cars would leave the pits with all 4 wheels attached an example of mistakes other teams don’t seem to make


think pretty much all has been said about the design of the car so I will focus on the other problem that is being masked to a degree by the bad car and that is the amount of strategy and pit errors that Mclaren have made this year. For a top team it is way too high and has pretty much continued from last year. Even if they had a reasonable car right now they would still be failing. They have lost a whole bunch of points through errors in quali or the race.


I remember a few years ago when BAR was doing ok, cant remember which season now, I think it was the year that he won Sepang, or maybe Hungary. Anyway Button was there and the team was doing ok for a while. Then things turned sour as the car became less competitive and there was an incident that struck me. Button had just had an engine failiure and walking back through the pits he took the time to stop at the pit wall and with quite an air of ‘confidence’ shall we say, he continued to demand answers to his questions from the Honda engine guy. Then, not liking the answers he was getting he turned and walked away as the guy was still speaking to him. What I didnt like about this was that Button has no clue what it takes to build an F1 engine, yet he thought this guy was wasting his time. And he did it, fully knowing that a camera was on him. This showed me that when Button gets any kind of higher ground (like a few good results, or say, a drive with a top team), he turns into quite a snob. Success corupts so people and Button is one of them. Why berrate your team in public, does to help your cause and deffinitely does not inspire confidence within your team..


Is it my imagination but Sam Michael seemed to drag Williams down from a front running team to back of the grid….died on his sword then moved to McLaren and did an even faster job there! Why is he rated so highly by some?


Firstly he is a Sporting Director at McLaren, so not responsible for the car, but for the sporting side, dealing with FIA, rules, procedures etc

Secondly he is only one person in the chain.

McLaren’s problem is the car isn’t fast enough.


James, Thank you for hitting the nail right on the head “The car isn’t fast enough” … nuff said.


Didnt realise you had already done this just commented above for you to explain this out to people.


Mclaren is a mid-field team this year. I’m sure they have already written-off the 2013 campaign.

Save up for 2014.

Perez appears to be the faster driver of the two. Button is still a typical slow driver. IMO his 2009 WDC is really a lucky gift from Honda and Ross Brawn.


And Rubens Barrichello who by that time was already the most experienced driver in F1…. Just like Mansell you put a team mate waaaaaay past his prime in the other seat & it discretely allows you to back one man for the title.


Same as Vettel & Webber actually, and Alonso and Massa.


Ok, we all know McLaren have had some shocking seasons – especially at the beginning. 2009 awful start, 2006 no wins that year, 2004 bad first half, and if your memory is as long as mine 1994-1996 had no wins, 1987 was poor.

But how far back do we have to go for a year when Mclaren had no podium finishes or front row starts? Because that could be the outcome in 2013! Here’s hoping!


1980 was the last year that McLaren (and Ferrari too!) didn’t podium.


1996 was the last year McLaren scored zero front-row starts.


Bad as this McLaren is, Jenson’s driving worse F1 cars!


Conspiracy theory 101- Paddy Lowe designed an impossible car knowing he might leave. Perhaps another Mercedes strategy ?

No seriously I am not surprised by Mclarens woes and I suspected they would struggle for half the season as I posted on the unveiling of the MP4-28!. What is maybe less surprising is the lack of real or comparative progress so far.

Im not sorry for Mclaren management one little bit. I was a huge fan BUT since Button joined in 2010 and more particularly 2011 Mclaren were just plain stupid with their clear favouritism of Jenson. Something very politically incorrect was happening in that team. Montreal 2011 was just plain wrong – everybody blamed Lewis but blind freddy could see Jenson pushed him into the wall yet everybody including Whitmarsh sided with Jenson. Many other fights with Lewis were not defended by the team) rightly or wrongly) instead the team &other drivers copped earfuls of Jensons manoievres and bagging his teammate rather than minding his own business and getting on with the job. Spa 2012 Lewis made a call completely different with high downforce that led to tweet gate – Lewis acknowledged it was his decision but something led him to make that call & even more so publically air it-people can say he was childish but I think there was always much more to it. I think right now we are seeing a team with no ability to identify, and push through developments at the very limits – something which only a top level driver can do- because only that type of driver can find those limits- Hamilton, Raikkonen, Alonso, Vettel.

At the same time last year with the same radically different car Ferrari started to find pace.Mclaren with a similar concept of car as Ferrari last year is not going forward because they have a driver that cannot adapt his driving style sufficiently enough to switch on the tyres properly and exploit the limits to help drive aero development AND a complete idiot driver going over the limits destroying his car ( and others in the process) -costing the team track and feedback time when they need it most !.

Great coaching Mr Whitmarsh now find another scape goat to take the fall–oops sorry but your best driver and best technical director are gone!


Cannot agree more on the paragraph you wrote explaining about what you think happened when Jenson joined in 2010. I was thinking exactly the same thing. They backed the wrong driver, and ultimately it has harmed them in the long term. Now even to the point that Button looks as if he wants to get out of McLaren.


Also, you need to note that the data/setup was centralized for the benefit of Jenson. As, Jenson could take advantage of Lewis’s setup details. One of the reason Lewis was so frustrated was that Jenson was able to use his work effectively, while some of Jenson’s find never was shared, like in Australia 2012.

Now, that Lewis is gone and Perez is here looking at Jenson’s data – he is under extreme pressure to lead Perez here. Now, Jenson is in a situation similar to Lewis before. He will do all the hard-work while Perez piggy back on his data and starts beating Jenson… as is happening now. Very soon you will see a frustrated Jenson.


Another interesting question is whether Hamilton had a feeling that things would not work out for McLaren this year …

Just imagine how frustrated he would be now if he had stayed for another year at McLaren!


Yeah one could sense that things weren’t quite right at Mclaren. Lewis must know a lot more than he said anything about.


What’s winning races got to do with staying or leaving a team ? If you are unhappy and being screwed through countless f/ups by the team and the management -you are going to leave – I said this all through early last year that he should leave and go to Mercedes -so you don’t have to be a soothsayer or some genius- you just have to understand people and have some belief in the truth. I could see it coming after the crappy year and ridicule he had in 2011.

Same thing happened with Raikkonen I said at winter testing when he returned to F1 he would be on the podium many times and he would win a couple of races- even when people were writing him off. Common sense would tell you a driver of his calibre would be successful if he chose to return to F1 in a decent team. If you listen and watch people long enough you understand what makes them tick and you can form opinions that unfold over time.

Also on different note-Your definitely wrong about predicting the future because 2 days in a row I mentioned people I haven’t heard from in more than 13 years and both times they rang me out of the blue- 1 offered me a job!


I have to disagree – noone is that good at predicting the future and as of decision time in 2012 both Lewis & Jenson were winning races.

He was unhappy @ Mclaren, not a soothsayer. That is all.


Paddy doesn’t design cars, unlike Newey.

He manages the team that does


But Adrian is Technical Officer for RBR. Rob Marshall designs the cars.

Isn’t this the same sort of set up as Ross Brawn and Rory Byrne at Ferrari?


James, the guy who manages the team that designs the car has more responsibility than the guys who actually does the design – this is how it is atleast in my line of work.

We can’t absolve Paddy completely from 2013 car. However, I don’t think the car is as bad as it is projected now – just that the driver switch has unsettled their regular process of gathering & analyzing data. They seem clueless on what direction to take as they couldn’t get consistent on-track data, atleast this is my view.


Of course he does James, but surely he has a say in the development direction. He could easily say lets push in with the 2012 concept. I said last year the Mp4-27 would be the best car on the grid on its release and I was right about that also.


Sorry, just clarifying Of course he manages the team not design the cars.


Its good you correct posters like this at times they just mention names without realising what they do exactly.

In other posts as well I have read people blaming Sam Micheal as well thinking he’s part of the design team.


I’m not one of those posters buddy and I do know what & who the hell Im talking about after watching it for over 30 years. I think Ive also clarified this already


The leadership at McLaren has to change. Very poor descision making has led them here. Why go with pull rod suspension when making changes to it takes twice as long as push rod? Jenson always makes incremental changes to his car and pull rod suspension is the last choice for this type of driver. I can’t believe they are still using deltas to make the tires last! Ferrari proved in Spain that you go flat out to win. Red Bull caught on in Canada and McLaren did not. Just sad, very very sad.


McLaren have said there was very little development potential left in the 2012 car, as they designed the car they should know. That would mean they would be struggling all season with the 2012 car. Apparently the new design showed a great deal of potential and on paper and simulation etc. was very fast. Yes, it is not ideal to have a radical change for just one season but they probably felt they had no choice. The question should not be why they changed the car but how did it end up so far of the pace and what does that mean for the 2014 car if their predictions and simulations were so inaccurate?

Strategy for this race.. did they have one? They would have had better results if they had turned the radio off and just sent the drivers out to have some fun.


The strategy was awful. If they had ANY inclination to do a one stop, then ALWAYS start on the hard tire! Mind-boggling in the extreme. I’d start looking for moles in their strategy group, with calls like these.


That is a convenient excuse – “development potential”


My Only question – If Mclaren knows that 2013 season is done for them then why are they developing that car. I mean to fix the car and win so many remaining races to out-do Vettel, Alonso, Kimi and Hamilton is remotely impossible even though it Mathematically is.

Mclaren should do what Ross Brawn did for Honda in 2008. Junk the current car and develop next years car as there is are a huge lot of regulations changes next year.

Moreover Please Mclaren dont go down the Williams way !!!!!


McLaren has definitely joined Williams as a washed up champion team.


And what’s the common denominator?

We are told that Sam Michael is highly thought of in the pit lane, and I know that one person can’t be totally responsible for everything that goes wrong in a team – but what has he ever achieved to be so well thought of. It’s a total mystery to me.


Circumstantial. Sam Michael was with the team all through 2012 and they had a really good car that year. What is SM’s role at McLaren anyway? I don’t think it has much to do with car design?


Agree 100% Mike Michael talks a goog gave in Tv Interviews but he was a disaater at Williams and since he arrived at McLaren the team has gone backwards quickly.


I’ve worked with a number of people over the years that senior management had a high opinion of, yet no-one else in the company that worked with them or under them could understand why.


Ditto Mike Gascoigne – went on gardening leave from every team he worked for just before or just after some very below average cars were turned out.


I’d forgotten about Gascoigne!


It is unfair to point fingers at Sam. The problems Mcl have at the moment isn’t where Sam is directly responsible for.

If Sam is on the chopping block, so should JN, MW, JB & SP.


A year ago, same track, Button: “I don’t know why I’m so slow”. While Hamilton won the race.

I hope for Honda’s sake, that McLaren current line-up is not part of their plan.


That sums it (and Button) up.

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