Button prefers penalty in Austria

Published: Thursday 18th June 2015 by The News Editor

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Jenson Button is ready to sacrifice his Austrian Grand Prix chances by taking a penalty that would boost his chances of a positive result at Silverstone.

McLaren continue to struggle in 2015 as the new Honda power unit flatters to deceive – with Button’s eighth-place finish in Monaco the team’s only points so far this year.

Both Button and team-mate Fernando Alonso retired in the Canadian Grand Prix a fortnight ago after being consistently off the pace in Montreal.

Alonso will have new upgrades in Austria but both cars are likely to face grid penalties for changing parts of their power unit – meaning the two former world champions could once again prop up the field after qualifying.

Button, who has never been on a Formula One podium at the British Grand Prix, said he would rather take the pain of a grid-drop here in Spielberg to allow him a more competitive showing at Silverstone in two weeks’ time.

“It is not going to be the easiest weekend,” he said.

“First of all, one of the cars has got a penalty and we might have a penalty as well – we have just got to decide (on Friday) what we are going to do.

“From a racing point of view, you would rather take a penalty here or Silverstone. You don’t want it in Hungary – it is a circuit where we could be reasonably competitive.

“But the heart says take the penalty here so you don’t have anything at Silverstone, so you can give it your all and you might get something out of the weekend.

“If we have to take a penalty I would much rather take it here and get it over and done with, but we will see.”

McLaren have several upgrades but only have enough parts to fit them to Alonso’s car, as it is the Spaniard’s turn to receive the latest offering, and Button is in a strange position where he would not mind being out-paced by Alonso on Saturday as it would show the team are moving in the right direction.

When asked if he wanted to be beaten by his team-mate in qualifying, Button replied: “In theory, yes. Strange to say, but yes

“It is good to see a big upgrade. Hopefully we can see a good difference in lap times as well. I know it is not on my car, but that doesn’t make any difference at this point of the season.

“We juggle it around for every race. It is important for us to find a benefit first and move forward from there – hopefully it will help us at the British Grand Prix.

“A good weekend for us would be to see a good improvement with the updates we have – that is probably the biggest thing. I don’t want to say it is a test weekend because I don’t want to come here and test – I want to race and compete.”

Alonso also conceded the team face a testing weekend at the Red Bull Ring as he looks set to be hit with a 20-place grid penalty, and went further than Button by suggesting the race weekend should be seen as a test session.

“It will be another weekend where it is going to be tough,” he said.

“So I think it is going to be a test weekend for us – that is very important as there are some updates on the car, so hopefully we get out of this weekend with some answers.

“There are important days ahead of us. I’m quite optimistic with the things that are coming to the car and for the near future but, as I said, in terms of the result it will not change too much this weekend – probably it will be even worse.”

Published: Thursday 18th June 2015 by The News Editor

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