Tag Archives: Jenson Button

Formula One: Alonso could have split the Williams

Screen Shot 2016-05-03 at 09.32.13.png

Mclaren Honda continued their resurgence to the top of the grid this weekend with both Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button finishing in the points, finishing 6th and 10th respectively.

For the first time since his return to the team Alonso appears able to push the car with confidence:

“Fernando drove a brilliant race, displaying all the guile, aggression and opportunism for which he is so well known” commented Racing Director Eric Boullier

The team are confident the result could have been even more impressive. Fuel efficiency is still an issue for the Honda power unit, the Sochi circuit represents most challenging event for fuel consumption on the 2016 calendar. Yusuke Hasegawa Head of F1 Project & Executive Chief Engineer commenting:

“We knew that our longer stints were good here, but it was a job well done for our team and drivers to manage our one-stop strategy and fuel-saving during the race, which led to today’s results. 

Eric Boullier went on to comment:

“We can see that we are the team that have a lot of fuel saving for obvious reasons, But with Fernando you could see towards the end of the race he was more than 1.2s faster [per lap]. without fuel saving we’d save another 50s which we would’ve had at the end of the race.”

Had Alonso been able to approach the race without a fuel saving mindset and chased the 50s Boullier refereed to he would have had the pace not only to pass Massa, but also challenge Bottas, elevating his finishing position to 5th, challenging 4th.

Considering challenges the team faced through the 2015 season, progress seen through 2016 to date has been deeply impressive. Honda have 14 development tokens available to them through the 2016 season, leaving the scope to make further advancements significant. Boullier has been keen to point out the Mclaren Racing and Honda are not the only factor contributing to the teams resurgence;

“This race showcases the collective efforts of the entire organisation – not just McLaren Racing and Honda, but also our key technical partner, Mobil 1, whose oil and lubes have played such a key role in our ongoing development. To our partners, too, their faith and belief is starting to be repaid”

Improved performances from the team could make them a formidable challenger by the end of the 2016 season and a genuine contender for 2017. A competitive Mclaren in 2017 could add further spice to ‘silly season’ with many driver contracts expiring at the end of this season.

Mclaren Honda now sit 7th in the  Constructors Championship with all 3 of the teams drivers having scored points this season.

Formula One: Jenson “I love the track”

Mclaren Honda’s Jenson Button discusses his surprise enthusiasm for the Sochi Autodrome  with Mobil 1’s The Grid.  After struggling to pick out landmarks and differentiate corners when learning the track in the simulator, Jenson shares his thoughts on the thrill of driving through the Winter Olympic village and how the characteristics of the track encourage and rewards an aggressive style of driving.

Jenson hopes to register his first points of the 2016 season in Sochi, with the opening three races of the year falling somewhat short of both the team and drivers expectations.

Early indications suggest similar weather conditions for the 2016 running of the Russian Grand Prix to previous years despite the race moving from October to April. This should suit the supersoft tyre compound with which Mclaren have performed strongly this season.

Formula One: Button ‘Getting there is pretty crazy!’

In this film for Mobil One’s The Grid Jenson Button previews the Chinese Grand Prix and reflects on his past performances at the circuit and his experiences of Shanghai life and the traffic! Jenson talks through his first time visiting the venue with Mclaren back in 2010, a race  which saw him lead home his teammate Lewis Hamilton to a commanding 1-2 for the team.

After a challenging 2015 then team have made significant progress in performance, with the field leading chassis likely to suit the twisty second sector of the circuit, a sector Jenson particularly enjoys.  The long straights of else where on the track are likely to highlight the top end performance gap Mclaren are still looking to come to terms with, but after taking their first points of the year in Bahrain, the team will be heading to Shanghai with expectations of a repeat performance.

Formula One: Stoffel out-qualifies veteran Button on his début

Screen Shot 2016-04-02 at 20.43.02.png

Qualifying in Bahrain was almost a carbon copy of Mclaren’s qualifying performance in Australia a fortnight ago.

Both drivers conducted two runs on the Option tyre in Q1, comfortably edging through into Q2. In the second session, without a second set of tyres to take the fight to the cars at the front, each driver completed a single run, establishing us on the fringes of the top 10, just as in Melbourne.

Stoffel will start his first grand prix 12th; Jenson, who wasn’t entirely happy with his car’s balance during his Q2 lap, will line up directly behind him in 14th.

Stoffel Vandoorne

I think I can be pretty happy with today’s result. I didn’t really know what to expect, but from yesterday onwards I’ve felt quite confident in the car and today was all about fine-tuning it.

“Free practice earlier today was quite good; I still knew there was a bit more time to come, and I think we more or less maximised everything in qualifying today. It was a close call in Q1, but then in Q2 I had a clean lap without mistakes. We could see it was very close in front of us, and if we’d gained one or two tenths we could maybe have got into Q3. So unless you’re on pole there’s always some margin for improvement, but overall I’m very happy with the qualifying I just had.

“I knew after yesterday and this morning that I had quite similar pace to Jenson, and that if I improved a little bit I could maybe therefore challenge him. He’s a world champion, and an excellent driver obviously, so he’s been a really good benchmark for me this weekend. I have a lot of respect for him.

“I’ve won here in Bahrain before, and I like the circuit. I know it well – and it definitely helps if you know a circuit before you make your grand prix debut there. Obviously I didn’t know the car before getting here this weekend, but it helped that I knew the circuit.

“It’s a good feeling to have done a decent job, but now our focus in only on tomorrow: to try to have a good race. It’s not really sunk in yet that tomorrow I’ll drive my first grand prix – I’ve just been focusing on qualifying so far – but now I’ve got some time to think, prepare for the race and do my very best to make a good job of it.

“There’s lots to analyse before tomorrow, lots of different strategies to go through, but I feel confident I can do an okay job. What it will bring us, I think it’s still too early to say, and I don’t want to make any predictions. So we’ll see.”

Jenson Button

“The car has been really good all weekend: I’ve been mostly struggling with a bit of understeer, but, for my Q2 run, we came up a tiny bit on the front wing, and the car was the complete opposite – big oversteer.

“Oversteer is not something I particularly like – so I wasn’t very happy with my Q2 lap. Having said that, Stoffel did a good job today, and I didn’t do such a good job. He’s very competitive, he’s quick, he’s won here before, and I think he’s proven how good he is around a place like this. We knew how quick he could be – especially over one lap. He’s been a big part of this team for the past couple of years, and as I say he did a really good job.

“Still, we know the pace is in the car, so hopefully tomorrow will be a bit better. Nobody really knows what’s going to happen in the race. It’s a tricky one – we’ve got three different tyres to work with, and I think we have a reasonable understanding of what to do, but you never know until the race starts. There are so many options – and we fell foul of that at the last race, so hopefully we won’t do that here and we’ll have a stronger performance on Sunday.

“There’s definitely more to come from the full package.”

Eric Boullier

“Although we’ll never be exultant about 12th and 14th place on the grid, undoubtedly Stoffel’s qualifying performance on his first ever grand prix Saturday was pretty special.

“We already knew he was quick – he’s shown that countless times in World Series by Renault 3.5, in GP2 and indeed in testing for McLaren – but what has been so particularly commendable these past two days has been his studious dedication to the complex procedural endeavour that constitutes getting the very best out of today’s state-of-the-art Formula 1 cars. He didn’t put a foot wrong. Chapeau!

“I also want to say ‘well done’ to the team, who have prepared him so well for his grand prix debut weekend, and who made sure that he was able to slide into Fernando’s car so seamlessly here at such short notice.

“Jenson did his usual very professional job, and may well have gone quicker still had we optimised his Q2 set-up. In Q1 he’d had a bit of understeer, so we’d attempted to dial it out in Q2 by giving him a little bit more front wing. But, as things turned out, we slightly over-compensated, and the result was oversteer.

“Having said all that, both our drivers are well positioned to mount a sustained attack on the Bahrain International Circuit tomorrow evening, in an effort to score points if possible, and to put on a good show for our Bahraini part-shareholders, who’ll be watching the race in our paddock hospitality units as avidly as always.”

Formula One: Alonso “I got out quickly so my mum could see I was okay!”

Screen Shot 2016-03-20 at 21.02.37

Today’s race was overshadowed by Fernando’s accident with Esteban Gutierrez at Turn Three on lap 16.

Despite the violence of the crash, Fernando was able to extricate himself from the car unaided, and was then taken to the circuit medical centre for routine checks, before being declared okay by the doctors. His car fared less well – both the chassis and the power unit were heavily damaged, and the resulting debris was scattered so extensively that it prompted a red-flag stoppage to clear up the mess.

After the restart Jenson adopted a different strategy to the majority of runners, but failed to capitalise on it, finishing 14th.

Fernando Alonso

“I’m thankful I’m alive and that nothing serious happened – it was a big shunt.

“A combination of factors caused Esteban [Gutierrez] and me to end up crashing. I was in the car flying and bouncing around – I could see the sky, then the ground, then the sky again. Then, when the car landed, I saw a little gap and I got out quickly to make sure that my mum, who was watching the race on TV at home, could see that I was okay!

“It was a racing incident – I’m very happy we’re both fine, which is the most important thing.

“But, soon afterwards, my thoughts switched to frustration and disappointment, because we missed an opportunity to get some points in the first race of the season, and we probably lost a power unit too because the car is more or less completely destroyed.

“We risk our lives every time we get in a Formula 1 car: these things happen, but I’m extremely happy to be okay. The reason I’m still alive is probably thanks to all the fantastic work the FIA has done over the past 10 or 15 years to improve safety, work they continue to do. And I’m also grateful to everyone at McLaren, who built me such a strong and safe car.”

Jenson Button

“I’m really glad Fernando was able to walk away from that accident – I’m sure he’ll remember that one for a few weeks.

“It’s amazing how far these cars can be catapulted when they touch tyres; under braking, it can all happen very quickly when it goes wrong. But the fact that his car survived shows how far the sport has come in terms of safety.

“My car wasn’t too bad, but I think we made some imperfect strategic calls this afternoon. Also, the red flag hurt us because we’d already made our first stop. Then, after the restart, we ran the Supersoft – which lasted about 10 laps – and then fitted the Back-Up, which everyone else had been on since the restart. Around here, you can catch up but you can’t easily overtake, so we ended up at the back of the queue after making our stop.”

Eric Boullier

“Before I say anything else, I want to praise two things: the structural integrity of modern-day Formula 1 cars, and the safety features of modern-day racetracks. Fernando’s shunt was a big one, and the fact that he was able to walk out of his car after such a heavy impact is impressive indeed.

“He visited the FIA medical centre immediately after the accident, and was formally okayed by the doctors there.

“He’d been driving extremely well at the time, and we believe he may well have scored points had his race run its normal course.

“Moving on to Jenson, ironically, it was the Safety Car and then the red flag triggered by Fernando’s accident that compromised his race strategy, preventing him from being able to drive for a points-scoring finish himself. Tyre degradation was also a problem for him this afternoon.

“However, all in all, despite the fact that we scored no points here in Melbourne today, we’re quietly encouraged by the progress we’ve made over the winter, and we firmly believe that, given a less confused qualifying session and an incident-free race, we’ll be in a position to score points in grands prix to come.”

Yusuke Hasegawa 

“First of all, I am relieved that both Fernando and Esteban walked away uninjured from their accident.

“Our overall pace during the race was solid, but unfortunately Jenson lost out to the red flag caused by the crash. As the majority of drivers switched tyres during the track clean-up, sadly Jenson had already pitted four laps before. Unfortunately he struggled with his tyres throughout the race, and was unable to regain any of the positions.

“I am pleased that throughout this weekend’s practice sessions and qualifying, we were able to see the improvement of the whole package. However, it was a disappointing to not be able to prove our progress through race results.”

Formula One: VIDEO – Mclaren Preview 2016

With the start of the 2016 Formula One World Championship less than 24 hours away, Mobil 1’s The Grid present this preview of the season in prospect for Mclaren.

Watch drivers Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button give their take on the season ahead  and their podiums ambitions as they prepare promotional films for Mobil 1.

Formula One: Mclaren Honda still lacking reliability

Screen Shot 2016-03-07 at 11.53.16

With pre-season testing having concluded last week in Barcelona all eyes are now fully focused on Melbourne in two weeks time. Mclaren Honda’s performance in testing was a vast improvement compared to their 2015 preparation, with the team achieving eclipsing total pre-season running from 2015 in a single day as they prepare the MP4-31.

Despite this huge step forward the team remain some way off the pace, reliability, and consistency of their competitors. Mercedes AMG Petronas completed in excess of  6000Km over 8 days, all of which was a achieved on a single power unit. Mclaren Honda by contrast managed 3300KM over the same period, and worked through 3 power units.

The use of multiple power units may have been a deliberate strategy by the team to experiment with new components, but this coupled with a mid field performance when it comes to out right pace suggests that Mclaren Honda fans are set for another testing year. It is true the team are making progress and both Mclaren and Honda have always been keen to stress success will take time, but questions from drivers around the true ability for the project to succeed can not be far away.

Honda have confirmed that the power unit specification used in the final pre-season test was close to that which will be used in Melbourne with only minor changes for reliability and tuning expected. Neither of which will impact the performance of the ICE.

Formula One: Mclaren MP4-31 Launched

Screen Shot 2016-02-21 at 10.24.47

Mclaren Honda have launched their new Formula 1 challenger, the MP4-31 ahead of pre season testing starting tomorrow. The striking and innovative MP4-31 chassis integrates the new Honda RA616H power unit, developed exclusively for the team.

Although a high level of continuity in Formula 1’s technical regulations has enabled the team to strengthen and mature many of the design concepts developed on last year’s McLaren-Honda MP4-30, the new car also incorporates a significant number of all-new innovations. The result is a balance of remarkably elegant aerodynamic solutions with a highly space-efficient integration of Honda’s new-for-2016 power unit.

While McLaren’s race team has spent an extremely busy few months developing the MP4-31 right up to the very tight deadline dictated by the truncated modern off-season, its marketing team has also enjoyed a very strong winter, announcing a raft of prestigious new commercial deals to add to a roster of equally valued existing partners.

Joining McLaren-Honda’s partner group for 2016 will be the world-renowned luxury watch brand Richard Mille, which commences a 10-year marketing, branding and licensing collaboration.

Global luxury goods giant LVMH will continue its long unbroken association with the team, through its premium sparkling wine brand Chandon, whose rising-star identity will adorn both the MP4-31 and the drivers’ race suits.

Other important and valuable recent acquisitions include a brand-new haulage supplier, Volvo Trucks, and a brand-new technical services provider, IT Lab, while official services supplier ISS has renewed and extended its partnership. Also, official electronic communications supplier Kenwood celebrates 25 years as a McLaren partner this year. Finally, 2016 marks the second year of a 10-year alliance with KPMG.

In addition to the aforementioned acquisitions and renewals, McLaren-Honda is once again privileged to count on the loyal support of an impressive portfolio of partners old and new, including Johnnie Walker, SAP, Hilton Worldwide, CNN, Santander, GSK, Mazak, AkzoNobel Sikkens, Segafredo Zanetti, Akebono, Norton Rose Fulbright, Enkei, Repucom, Sparco, Maxi Nutrition, Asics and TechnoGym.

Last but very far from least, McLaren-Honda’s preparations for 2016 have once again benefitted enormously from the unrivalled resources and expertise of ExxonMobil, which is celebrating 22 years of partnership with McLaren this year. ExxonMobil’s engineers, together with their counterparts at Honda, have been tirelessly developing pioneering new technologies and formulations of Esso fuels and Mobil 1 lubricants for the all-new Honda RA616H V6 turbo power unit, and Mobilube 1 SHC racing gear oil for McLaren’s bespoke eight-speed gearbox.

Importantly, the size and calibre of our partner roster – and its collective commitment to the team – underscores the confidence that all at McLaren have in our journey back to the podium.

2016 McLaren Honda MP4-31 Front Three Quarter

Fernando Alonso (#14) said:

The start of a new season is always a special feeling, characterised by a lot of anticipation for the year ahead. This year is no different: I’m excited and raring to go.

Last year the spotlight was very much on McLaren-Honda as we embarked on the first year of our renewed partnership. It was a tricky season for all of us, but we learned a hell of a lot.

Likewise, it’s been a very productive winter for me. I’ve been training extremely hard, as usual, but also enjoying time with my family, and keeping tabs on all the hard work going on at the McLaren Technology Centre, Woking, where the McLaren guys have been doing an incredible job to get everything ready in time. The Honda boys have been working flat-out in Sakura, too.

The aero package shows fantastic attention to detail. The whole car is beautiful in fact – it’s particularly nicely packaged from an aerodynamic point of view as I say – and I’m 100 per cent ready for the challenge ahead.”

Jenson Button (#22) said:

I really can’t wait to take the wheel of the new MP4-31 tomorrow. All Formula 1 drivers need a winter break, but I’m massively excited to get started on the 2016 season now, and I have to say the brand-new McLaren-Honda MP4-31 really looks the part.

Moreover, having spent quite a bit of time at the McLaren Technology Centre recently, I can tell you that there’s a huge amount of palpable positive energy there at the moment, despite the challenging yet steep learning curve we all travelled along in 2015.

In fact, the immense amount of sheer hard work that has gone into the development of the MP4-31 over the winter makes me immensely proud, and consequently I go into the new season with even more motivation and belief.

Despite the ups and downs we saw last year, there were steady improvements all year long, and that gives us confidence in the design direction we’re taking. There are a lot of positives we can build on, and a strong platform to take forward. I’m not about to make any over-optimistic predictions – Formula 1 is far too unpredictable for me to do that – but, from what I’ve seen so far, the aero detailing on the car looks fantastic, and I’m really looking forward to beginning the process of testing those new innovations when I get behind the wheel tomorrow.”

2016 McLaren Honda MP4-31 Overhead

Ron Dennis (Executive Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, McLaren Technology Group) said:

As we embark on the second year of our renewed McLaren-Honda partnership, all of us remain united in our purpose. That purpose is to develop our team towards our shared ambition: to win.

We’ll make no predictions as to when those wins will come, but I can say without fear of contradiction that every member of our team has worked with truly relentless dedication over the past few months. The result is that MP4-31’s developmental trajectory has been usefully steepened over the winter, and I’m consequently very proud of our team’s efforts.

We remain resolute in our commitment to our goals, and we maintain an indefatigable commitment to the winning potential of a full works team. Believe me: the full works backing of a multinational automotive manufacturer is the only platform from which real success in modern Formula 1 can be achieved. As McLaren-Honda, therefore, we’ve vowed to work together, and to win together, and that determination has become further cemented as our relationship has deepened through the shared challenges we faced last year.

We have the best driver line-up in the sport. We have an engineering team that has been meticulously hand-picked, restructured, guided and inspired; the blend of technical skill-sets and attitudinal mind-sets we now possess are fit-for-purpose and state-of-the-art. And, thanks to the relationships we’ve nurtured with a hugely impressive roster of loyal and powerful partners, our commercial position is equally robust.”

Eric Boullier (Racing Director, McLaren Racing) said:

First of all, we must recognise the very hard work performed over the past few months by everyone in Woking, Sakura and Milton Keynes.

The guys have shown intense dedication throughout the winter period, and the result is that they’ve successfully kept our aggressive build and development programmes on schedule. As such, all our team members are a credit to McLaren-Honda, and consequently we’re incredibly grateful to everyone involved in the development of the MP4-31.

But we’re never satisfied, which is why we’ve continued to strengthen our engineering team in recent weeks and months, and we’re confident that the changes we’ve made will improve and accelerate our car-development progress in the future.

So the two Barcelona tests will merely herald the continuation of the huge collaborative task that all departments have been engaged in during the off-season. We’ll be aiming to spend the four days of the first test carefully and methodically: extracting the maximum from the time available, and concentrating our efforts on proving out our central systems, operational procedures and electronics checks. We’ll need to verify our work in the garage before we can expect any miracles on track – essentially, to ensure we walk before we can run. After all, testing is just that: testing.

But be assured, we’re motivated and determined, and we’re pulling together.”

Yasuhisa Arai (Senior Managing Officer and Chief Officer of Motorsport, Honda R&D Co Ltd) said:

From the start of tomorrow’s testing, the second season of McLaren-Honda’s new adventure begins. It was a short winter break, but nonetheless Honda was able to make the most of the off-season in preparation for 2016, strengthening our team and working tirelessly alongside the McLaren and ExxonMobil engineers.

Learning from last year, we’ve made changes to the compressor and other hardware of the power unit during the break, maturing our overall concept from last year. Our focus will be to test the car’s balance with the new chassis and power unit, and specifically the ERS direction during the eight days of winter testing.  

We won’t know exactly where we stand until we reach the end of the two tests, but we’re looking forward to getting back on track, gathering data, and feeding back the information to our engineers so as to prepare for Melbourne and onwards.

It’s good to be back.”

Formula One: McLaren-Honda and Jenson Button renew partnership with Santander

Jenson Button in the garage.

McLaren-Honda have announced  the extension of its partnership with leading bank Santander UK plc.

The agreement is set to continue the partnership for a further five years until the end of 2020, with British driver and 2009 F1™ World Champion, Jenson Button, continuing to feature prominently in Santander campaigns.

Having first partnered together in 2007, McLaren-Honda and Santander have enjoyed a long and successful relationship. Since then, McLaren-Honda and Jenson Button have appeared in many of Santander’s campaigns, including a number of TV adverts, the launch of Santander’s vision for a London Grand Prix in 2012, ‘Secret Santa’ customer surprises and, most recently, the ‘Summer of Cycling’ events on Santander Cycles across London.

McLaren has played an important role in helping establish and grow the Santander brand in the UK, where it is now a household name and has become the nation’s most switched-to bank, attracting one in four new retail customers.

Ekrem Sami, managing director of McLaren Marketing, said: “Santander and McLaren-Honda have enjoyed an incredibly strong and mutually beneficial relationship since 2007. Our renewed partnership demonstrates a well-founded belief in the team’s ability to successfully activate brands around a shared, common vision for the future. I look forward to developing the relationship and hope to see it continue to go from strength to strength for both brands.”

Keith Moor, chief marketing officer for Santander UK, added: “Our sponsorship of McLaren and Jenson Button has played an important role in helping Santander build a strong awareness across the UK, helping to establish ourselves as a scale challenger to the ‘Big 4’ banks with the 1I2I3 Current Account and, more recently, support our launch of the Santander Cycles scheme in London.”

Jenson Button, McLaren-Honda driver, said: “I’m really pleased to continue working with Santander, as is everyone at McLaren-Honda. We’ve enjoyed a great partnership to date and I look forward to that continuing. While first and foremost I’m a racing driver, I’m also a passionate cyclist, and so I’m looking forward to doing more with Santander Cycles and helping encourage more people to get involved.”

So we can expect more FANTASTIC adverts like this in 2016!

Click here to follow the SantanderGP Twitter feed.

Click here to follow Jenson Button on Twitter.

Formula One – Mclaren Honda – #TurboHeros Campaign

#TurboHeros

Over the last 24-hours, you may have noticed McLaren-Honda’s social channels sharing some rather unusual posts…

Introducing the #TurboHeroes campaign.

Join the mighty Turbo Heroes, McLaren-Honda’s Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button, as they battle the evil racer Exhaustus. Follow the thrilling journey across the globe in a tense battle to return mythical artefact – the Jade Dragon of Suzuka – to its spiritual home in Japan.

Turbo Heroes evokes the classic 8-bit gaming era of the 1980s with a series of innovative and unique gaming scenarios involving McLaren-Honda’s two racing heroes.

Watch Now

Opinion – Keen to move on from what must be one of the most challenging racing weekends in the history of the team, Mclaren have started the week well with the announcement of new sponsorship agreement with Chandon this morning, alongside kicking off this #TurboHeros campaign. This, hopefully first of many, films plays on the 80’s style games console memories, similar to the short film the team released prior to the car launch at the beginning of the year. The team successfully bring some much needed humour back to the sport in general and for themselves. These kind of Japanese themed campaigns will hopefully put to bed the continued rumours of unrest between Mclaren and Honda. They may also hint towards future additional Japanese partners….