SEPTEMBER 17, 2010
McLaren: Singapore will answer questions
Reigning world champion Jenson Button is among those who think that next weekend's Singapore Grand Prix will provide key pointers to the likely outcome of the world championship.
Both Button and McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh think that Singapore, more than the recent low downforce Monza, will give a better indication of whether the revised front wing/floor rule revisions will have any impact on the status quo.
"The last time we were at a low-speed, high-downforce track was in Hungary back at the start of August," Button points out. "Our car wasn't particularly competitive there, and maybe we haven't had a properly representative view of the top teams' relative pace because we've just visited two high-speed circuits. A lot has changed since Budapest - not least, some quite hefty revisions to the rulebook regarding bodywork flexibility and, additionally, a lot of work by the engineers at the McLaren Technology Centre to ensure our car is now better suited to slower circuits.
"Singapore will be interesting - we'll not only get an idea of the speed of the Ferrari and Red Bull, but we'll get to see for the first time whether all our efforts over the past two months have helped put us back in the ballpark at high-downforce tracks."
Team mate Lewis Hamilton won the '09 Singapore race and says he has already moved on from the disappointment of his first lap exit in the Italian GP.
"I've already drawn a line under Monza," he says. "Those things are sometimes what you need to sharpen your mind and raise your game and motivation at an extremely crucial time in the season."
Says Whitmarsh: "In just two years Singapore has become one of the highlights of the F1 calendar. The broadcast footage of the cars racing around in the fading evening light, against the glittering backdrop of the city, has set new standards in televised sport.
"It's the first high-downforce track we've visited since the FIA tightened up its regulations on flexible bodywork, so it's likely to give us a much clearer idea of the respective pace of the leading teams after two less-representative events in Belgium and Italy. We travel with a number of new ideas to try on our cars, feeling positive that we'll once again be in a position to race at the front."