Friday 19 January 2018

F1: McLaren needs win in Singapore to put gloss on ‘tough season’, says Button

Jenson Button
Jenson Button

Ian Parkes

JENSON Button feels only a victory in Singapore will save what he claims has been a tough season.

Twelve grands prix into this year and McLaren are still searching for their first podium, never mind a race win.

Since 1997, McLaren have only once gone through an entire year without taking the chequered flag. That was in 2006, when they at least managed nine other podium finishes, including four as runners-up.

And only twice in McLaren's illustrious history has the team competed in a complete season without claiming at least one podium - 1971 and 1980.

It is what makes this season all the more remarkable that given their resources now - compared with 33 and 42 years ago - the Woking-based marque has yet to find a way to claim a top-three finish.

As far as Button is concerned, however, that statistic matters little as it is only a victory that is of concern in his eyes.

"If we get one podium I don't think it really makes much difference," said Button.

"Winning is what we are here to do, so if we get a podium people will say 'Well, why are you happy with a podium? You're there to win".

"I don't think it will be disastrous if we don't get a podium. I don't really think it would make much difference if we did.

"But winning a grand prix is something that would stand out to me, would save a tough year."

This weekend's race in Singapore offers up the opportunity of a win given the characteristics of the track and venue.

A street race run in high heat and humidity, that lasts the full two hours and has a high propensity for a crash or two during the event is one where Button and team-mate Sergio Perez could strike lucky.

The 33-year-old knows Lady Luck has to be in his corner, adding: "A win is going to be difficult.

"It can happen, but we need wet weather, everything on our side to make it happen.

"We are not quick enough, our outright speed is not there, so it's going to be tough.

"You have the three teams still fighting for the world championship, they are going to be pushing all the way to the end of the season, whereas for us we're concentrating more on next year's car.

"There are parts that will be on this year's car that will also help us next year, but we are not designing certain parts for this year's car that will be useless next year.

"We are limiting how much we will move forward this season."

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