SEPTEMBER 4, 2010
McLaren wants Button back in the hunt
Despite Lewis Hamilton re-taking the world championship lead by three points from Mark Webber with his third win of the season at Spa, McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh also wants to see Jenson Button back in the championship fight after his non-finish at the hands of Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel in Belgium.
"Even though, on paper, Monza's characteristics appear to suit our package," Whitmarsh said, "developing a car that performs well on one of the most unique venues on the F1 calendar is no easy job. The low-downforce, extreme high-speed nature of Monza demands its own bespoke aero package - and getting that downforce level correct is not as straightforward as it seems. We require a complex number of mechanical and aerodynamic variables to work harmoniously if we are to provide both Jenson and Lewis with front-running machinery.
"Obviously, Lewis's victory at Spa was perfectly timed, and has substantially motivated the entire workforce ahead of these closing races. After Jenson's unfortunate failure to finish in Belgium, we are determined to reignite his championship push and get him back in the hunt for the drivers' title."
Button himself added: "My non-finish in Spa wasn't ideal, so I head to Monza determined to put myself back in the hunt. Our pace over the whole weekend in Belgium was extremely encouraging - we're developing the car at a very rapid rate, and we're learning more about it all the time, so I'm optimistic that we'll be able to maintain that form in Italy next weekend. I love racing at Monza - it's a totally unique experience; running minimal downforce at incredible speeds along the straights, and then coping with the lack of grip and an extremely skittish car through the low-speed stuff. Given the competitiveness at the front, it could be an intense, thrilling race."
McLaren has not said whether it will use its F-duct at Monza, where there is a lot of high-speed running but relatively few true corners. Back in the late sixties and early seventies, cars actually removed their wings for extra qualifying speed on the pre-chicane Monza layout.
Hamilton, meanwhile, makes no secret of his desire to win another of F1's 'classic' races that has so far eluded him. The 2008 champion has won at Monaco, Silverstone and now Spa and a win in Monza national park would be most timely in his bid to claim a second title.
"I hope that Spa is only the start of a run of stronger form for us as we head into the final races of the championship," he said. "I've made no secret of my wish to win this race. Monza is an incredible circuit - full of history and stories from the past. It has a special feeling in the air that you don't find anywhere else in the world. It's a circuit that inspires you to race at your limit."