Jenson Button believes Formula One fans want to see a challenge to the current dominance of Red Bull and Sebastian Vettel…
Jenson Button believes Formula One fans want to see a challenge to the current dominance of Red Bull and Sebastian Vettel.
Button knows exactly what it means to reign supreme in F1, doing so at the start of 2009 when he won six of the first seven races and claiming four pole positions during that period en route to the World title.
At present, it is Vettel who is the master, with five wins and five poles from the last six grands prix stretching back to the end of last season when his late charge brought him the Championship.
In the defence of that crown, Vettel has so far this season been perfect with two pole-to-flag wins in Australia and Malaysia that have yielded a maximum 50 points.
Button is currently his closest challenger, albeit 24 points down, with McLaren team-mate Lewis Hamilton 28 adrift, and the Ferrari duo of Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa 30 and 34 behind respectively.
Naturally, Vettel is revelling in his air of superiority, however, Button feels for the sake of the sport someone has to stand up to him – and even Red Bull might enjoy it.
Button said: “When somebody makes a start like Sebastian has it’s tricky.
“We’ve only had two races and he’s already a race win in front of me, and I’m second in the Championship, so it’s not perfect.
“Although I’m a lot of points behind Sebastian, who is doing a magnificent job, I feel we are closing in on Red Bull.
“I still feel there is more to find with the set-up of the car, and hopefully we’ll have some more upgrades for this weekend in China so we can take the fight to them.
“Formula One wants to see that, and I’m sure Red Bull want a bit of a challenge as well, not to have it all their own way.
“Although Sebastian has an advantage on myself and Lewis, it’s only two races in, we’ve another 17 left.
“As we know, most years it goes down to the wire, so hopefully it will be the same case this year.”
In Friday practice at Shanghai, McLaren are certainly planning to run with an updated version of the exhaust and floor that brought them back into contention after utilising a radical system in testing over the winter that proved unreliable.
Unlike in 2009 when a lack of finances prevented Brawn and Button from developing the car to maintain the stunning start they had to that season, although an independent team, Red Bull are not short of a bob or two.
Button can only hope McLaren manage to out-develop Red Bull as he added: “This team also has resources.
“You just have to look at where we came from this winter to see how quickly you can improve, and we’re not stopping there.
“There are a lot of new things in the pipeline with this car, so they’re not alone.
“I’m sure they’re going to develop the car very well, we will as well. It’s a hell of a challenge for all of us.”