Jenson Button is hoping for a strong result at next weekend’s Italian Grand Prix as McLaren celebrate their 50th anniversary in the Monza paddock. The team will be hoping to gain their first podium of the season, the last time they failed to score a podium during a season was back in 1980.
The team has so far struggled during their 50th year in the sport with a best result of fifth at the Chinese Grand Prix – thanks to Button. They sit fifth in the constructors standings after 11 rounds, only just overtaking Force India after the Belgian Grand Prix weekend.
McLaren’s lead driver can’t wait to visit the historic Monza circuit, one of his favourites on the calendar. Speaking in a team statement he said: “I’ve always loved Monza. I really enjoy circuits that have a bit of history to them, and Monza has that in abundance – it’s one of the greatest tracks on the calendar.
“The place is unique: ever since we lost the ‘old’ Hockenheim, this has been the only place on the calendar where you run a really super-low downforce configuration. And you can feel it – the car accelerates up to speed incredibly quickly, feels skittish and loose when you’re running flat-out, and can be tricky and unpredictable under braking. When you have the car hooked up beneath you, you get into a special kind of rhythm around Monza: you’re going so fast that the whole lap just flows together. There’s nowhere quite like it.”
He added: “So it’s really appropriate that McLaren will be celebrating its 50th anniversary in the paddock over the Monza weekend. Both names are synonymous with motorsport history – you couldn’t imagine Formula 1 without them – so I’ll be hoping for a strong result to show the strength and depth that we have as a team.”
Team-mate Sergio Perez is keen to return to the points after missing out in Belgium due to a drive-through penalty. He said: “After the disappointment of Spa, where we had the pace to score points, I’m keen to get another shot. As in Hungary and Belgium, we don’t expect to have a car that’ll be capable of fighting right at the front, but I hope we’ll be scrapping for points positions.”
He drove one of the best races of his career at last years Italian Grand Prix. Looking back at the race he said: “Everything came right on Sunday afternoon, I looked after the tyres beautifully and overtook Fernando Alonso on my way to finishing second, which equals my best-ever result in the sport. That was a fantastic day.”
Image courtesy of Octane Photographic