A few days after declaring that ‘a win in 2013 is going to be difficult’, Jenson Button believes that McLaren can still win a race this year and has played down the severity of his team’s well below par performances thus far this season.
Speaking to journalists in Budapest, Button said, “We still want to win a race and I think we still can win a race – it’s not going to be a completely bad year.
McLaren are enduring one of their worst ever seasons in their illustrious history. They could be heading for their first win-less season since 2006 and are way off emulating their seven wins scored in 2012.
Button mused, “Since the start of the season we have had a tough few races, but sometimes that’s good for the team. I think at the last race it was a good step forward and morale is high after that race, which is good to see. We’re still not going to be happy finishing fifth or sixth, we want to win. For us to see a definite step forward in terms of performance was very positive and here we have some more parts that should help us get closer to the front.”
With Pirelli rolling out their latest model tyres – featuring a combination of elements of the 2012 and 2013 range – the weekend is something of an unknown for teams who sampled the tyres under restrictive conditions at Silverstone… and of course in a much cooler environment, as a heatwave is expected over Budapest during the grand prix weekend.
“I don’t know what we are going to do here [Hungaroring] in terms of where we are going to finish. I don’t think anybody knows with these high temperatures,” said the 2009 world champion.
Looking beyond Hungary, Button won the Belgian GP last year and is feeling confident of a strong showing at the classic circuit in the Ardennes which he believes will suit McLaren.
“Spa is a race I am really interested in and excited about fighting for a podium, I think that has to be our aim. I think we can and it’s definitely moving forward, our main aim is still to win a grand prix this year and Spa is the best venue to go and look for that,” declared Button.
“We understand that circuit and we understand what we should bring to that circuit in terms of aero. Also we’re chipping away all the time with the car and finding things and one thing helps many different things. As a team it’s sometimes good to have issues because you start looking at every single tiny detail.”
It is no secret that many teams are already focussing on the all new turbo era which dawns in 2014. With McLaren’s 2013 title aspirations well and truly buried, Button believes that the Woking based squad will re-emerge next year as a front running force once again next year.
“When you put it all together it can make a big difference. I think we’ll be a stronger team next year, I really do. We found it before in 2009 [his championship winning year at Brawn GP] and I think it’s a positive thing for us in the future. It hurts when you’re going through that period but I think it helps us in the long run,” predicted Button. (GP247)