JULY 21, 2011
Upbeat Button: we all respect Whitmarsh
Jenson Button says that McLaren can take the fight to Red Bull in this weekend's German GP and rubbished stories of any internal discontent at McLaren.
Button spent two days in the simulator at the McLaren factory after his disappointing exit from the British Grand Prix with an unattached wheel, which dropped him from runner-up spot in the world championship. He joked that he visited many departments at McLaren's cutting edge technology centre, "even the department where the wheel nuts are machined!"
"It's just one of those things," he added. "When the guy with the problem at the right front raised his hand to go for the other gun, the front jack man thought he was raising his hand to confirm that the job was done, and dropped the car. The rear jack man tends to take a lead from the front and then the lollipop man from that, so there was a sequence of events that couldn't be stopped.
"But there's still a good atmosphere, even though we had a tough time at Silverstone and a tough race the one before," he added. "The stuff that has been written about (team principal Martin (Whitmarsh) for example, is simply not correct.
"We all respect Martin very much. He is very passionate in terms of the sport and, I think, a very intelligent guy who does a great job. He gets the troops in order and is very positive. We can move on and up."
Despite disappointing showings in the last two races, Button believes that updates to the McLaren, plus the lifting of the one-off Silverstone ban on the off-throttle use of blown diffusers, should see McLaren return to competitiveness at Nurburgring.
"I think the blown diffuser (at Silverstone), compared to the Ferraris, hurt us a little bit. I think we are probably doing a better job with our diffuser than maybe a lot of other teams. So when they took away the blowing, that hurt us a lot, so having that back should help us.
"It will help Red Bull as well, but I don't think we're scared of anyone this weekend, and I don't think there will be anyone who has a big advantage over us.
"Ferrari was very quick at Silverstone because they have a good car around high speed circuits," he said. "They also had some good upgrades and the engine mapping changes. I'm sure it helped them, because suddenly they were so much faster than Red Bull and us. In the race Red Bull and us were quite similar to what it was in the past, but not Ferrari - suddenly it was a big step for them."
The mixed weather conditions forecast for the Nurburgring weekend should also play to Button's strengths. "I don't really want it to be fully wet, but mixed conditions would do nicely," he said, as team mate Lewis Hamilton confirmed that the McLaren switched on its tyres well in such conditions.