Jul.1 (GMM/Inautonews.com) Jenson Button has urged McLaren-Honda to prioritise performance over reliability.
Team boss Eric Boullier said recently that, as works partner Honda’s awkward return to the sport continues, the ongoing troubles will soon begin to affect preparations for the 2016 season.
At a sponsor event this week, Button agrees: “You can’t finish this year two seconds behind Mercedes and expect to challenge them in 2016.”
Much of Honda’s problem in 2015 has been reliability, but the MP4-30 package remains badly off the pace, and the biggest issue is clearly engine power.
“We want to finish races and we want reliability to be good but personally I would rather see the improvement in pace and reliability come second,” said Button.
Amid McLaren’s struggle, it is also a particularly awkward time for Button, who at the age of 35 is on a single-year contract.
At the same time, the team’s impressive juniors including reserve Kevin Magnussen and the dominant GP2 star Stoffel Vandoorne are knocking loudly on the door.
“I have to look later down the line where I want to be in terms of where my future takes me,” Button acknowledged, “but at the moment, even though it is difficult right now, I am enjoying the challenge with Fernando and the team and that is the important bit.”
As for 23-year-old Belgian Vandoorne, he said it is too early to be coveting a race seat like the one currently occupied by Button.
“I have regular talks with the management at McLaren, with Ron (Dennis), with Eric (Boullier), we are discussing things, but it is still too early to know something about my future,” Vandoorne told Sky.