Wednesday, October 5, 2011

McLaren lock up Jenson Button

McLaren have made the long awaited smart choice in re-signing 2009 World Champion Jenson Button to a multi-year contract. Button has certainly earned his spot in the McLaren team after initially making a curious move to the squad in 2010. Many saw the move as a reputation destroyer because he was moving in on Lewis Hamilton's turf. Well safe to say now, Button made complete liars out of those people. 

Button was nominally beaten by Hamilton in 2010, but in 2011 he sits second in the title fight behind runaway leader Vettel. Button has shown his true value with the three C's: He has been calm, cool, and consistent. With a smooth, Sade-like style, he has maximized his tires and his results while his teammate Lewis Hamilton has struggled mightily this year in the three C's area and failing to capitalize on his speed. What is most notable is that Button has been able to complete many overtakes this season without trouble, where as Hamilton has had some high profile struggles in this area.   

According to McLaren, they view Button as crucial to their future development. For me, most of it is the niceties of complementing a driver that you just signed however certainly there is something to be said about Technical Director, Paddy Lowe's view on, “having a good driver with good feedback is still essential in Formula One. Even though these days we have far more tools to work with offline - more simulation, etc. - we’re still very reliant on the driver’s feedback."

"Having Jenson on board for the years to come is a great step for us as it gives us a very solid base in terms of a driver that we can rely on for feedback through that phases that you described. And Jenson was obviously very experienced for many years before he came to McLaren, so that all contributes.”
Read into that what you will about his opinion on Hamilton's ability in this area, but given the rules package and what Pirelli is being asked to do in terms of tire degradation, you can not have much better than Jenson. He might not be the fastest, he might not be the most talented or naturally gifted, but he will certainly get the most out of the car while bringing it home in one piece.


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