The 2009 Formula 1 world champion Jenson Button, who will make his testing debut with McLaren on February 3, predicts a strong showing for his new team. Whilie acknowledging that McLaren poured substantial resources into their 2009 car, in order to raise its performance, which was dismal at the start of last season, to a competitive level, Button feels that this hasn’t detracted from the development of the 2010 car.
Typically, teams develop their cars in a leapfrog fashion: in any given year, the construction of the car for the following year will generally begin halfway through the current season. However, when a team becomes embroiled in a hotly contested championship battle, or is otherwise focused on developing the current racing package, this can draw resources away from development of the newer car. Many paddock pundits have speculated that this was the reason behind the relativelyy lackluster performances of both McLaren and Ferrari in 2009, as those two teams had been arch title rivals in 2008.
Jenson Button doesn’t believe that McLaren has fallen prey to this syndrome for 2010, however. He believes that the many improvements made to last year’s car will be carried over to the 2010 package, and will stand the team in good stead. Certainly, the performance of the car jumped dramatically midway through the season, as result of the team’s continued efforts. Button believes that the evolutionary approach was the right one. This is in contrast to Ferrari’s decision to scrap all upgrades on the difficult 2009 car halfway through last season, in order to focus all their energies on developing the 2010 package.
Speaking recently at the Autosport International Racing Car Show, Button said, “The amount of parts [McLaren] put onto the car in 2009 was immense – there was no other team like it. People will say, did they concentrate too much on 2009? I don’t think they did. A lot of the parts that were used in 2009 will be carried over to 2010 so I think they did the right thing. It made them realise that they can build this amount of parts to put onto the car and improve it through the year. And maybe we all sometimes need a wake-up call. So I’m positive they will be there this year.”
(Image source: AutoMoto TV)