JUNE 8, 2012
Neale defends McLaren over Button
McLaren managing director Jonathan Neale has defended his team over Jenson Button's lost track time on the first day of action in Montreal.
Button, who started the season with a win in Australia, but who has since suffered three non-scores in five races, is in strong need of a good Canadian GP result after slipping to seventh in the world championship, 31 points behind series leader Fernando Alonso.
But the weekend has not started well for the 2009 world champion, who lost much of the morning session to a gearbox problem and then only got out for the final 20 minutes of the afternoon's second session around Circuit Gilles Villeneuve.
The BBC's technical consultant, Gary Anderson, said that it is not good enough for a top team with championship-winning drivers to take so long to change a gearbox.
Neal responded: "He's entitled to his opinion but it helps if you are standing a bit nearer to the problem. Oil leaked onto the clutch in P1, the mechanics repaired the seal but when we fired up the car there was a secondary problem and we had to change the whole gearbox and rear end. Getting Jenson out was important at a place where you need to build confidence and get a strong car underneath you.
"The problem wasn't trivial and I don't think we missed anything with our first analysis that would have prevented the problem we had this afternoon."