Apr.5 (McLaren) Jenson Button goes to China lying third in the world championship standings thanks due to his fine win at the season opening Australian Grand Prix,but a week later, the 2009 Formula 1 world champion, drew a blank at Sepang. He will be looking for a reversal of fortune in Shanghai. here he looks ahead to next weekend’s Chinese Grand Prix.
You called the Malaysian Grand Prix a ‘bad day in the office’ – does that change your preparations for this weekend’s race in Shanghai?
Jenson Button: Not really, it makes you a little keener to get back in the cockpit as you’re always a bit more determined to be looking ahead rather than looking back. But, like I say, it doesn’t really make any difference. In fact, the three-week break has been extremely relaxing – I was able to get away, relax and keep training. It’s still the start of a very long season, so it’s good to keep fit and refreshed. I’ve usually gone well in Shanghai, it’s a circuit I really enjoy and I’m looking forward to the race weekend.
You memorably won here in 2010 – what is it about the circuit that makes it special?
JB: Well, the facilities are amazing, but it’s a very good, modern circuit – the first two sectors are pretty technical, there are some interesting combinations of corners and you need a good, responsive car to go well. Then the track opens up, the straight is one of the longest in Formula 1 – it just keeps going – then you’re into the hairpin and the final turn, both of which offer good opportunities for overtaking. There’s no one particular corner that stands out, but that’s good, because it means they’ve done a good job with the whole track. And if it rains, then it’s going to be another extremely unpredictable race as we’re all still learning about the cars and tyres in damp conditions. Whatever happens, it should be interesting.
What will be the key to a good race performance in 2012?
JB: There will be the usual set-up compromises: setting the car up to offer good downforce through some of the faster corners, but without sacrificing too much speed along the straights. We saw different teams address that balance in different ways over the first two races, so it will be interesting to see if things start to converge this weekend after a few weeks back in Europe. Tyre wear will also be very important – last year we saw a real disparity between the compounds – so getting the preparation right will be crucial.