Button aims for battle with McLaren

Jenson Button has high hopes for Renault this year and believes they will be battling with McLaren later in the season. Button had an uncomfortable time with Benetton last year but his recent fourth place in the Malaysian Grand Prix has given him...

Jenson Button has high hopes for Renault this year and believes they will be battling with McLaren later in the season. Button had an uncomfortable time with Benetton last year but his recent fourth place in the Malaysian Grand Prix has given him fresh optimism. The Englishman has such confidence in the car and its development potetntial that he thinks Renault will be able to race with the top challengers by the middle of the season.

"I'm really looking forward to going head-to-head with David (Coulthard)," Button said. "I started right behind him in Malaysia and the way things are going we should be battling with them (McLaren) by midseason, and could be ahead of them by the end of the season. Last year we got lost with development but this season is different. (Renault F1 UK technical director) Mike Gascoyne has designed a great car. It is so predictable and really gives me confidence to attack the times; and the drivers. And Renault have got such an incredible development programme things are only going to get better. Last year I was starting 20th or 21st on the grid. Now we are seventh or eighth; that means we are always looking for points, or maybe even podiums."

Button is currently fifth in the Driver's championship with his three points from Malaysia and thinks Renault could be fighting for wins later this year: "Everyone is going to make up ground on Ferrari and you will see Williams, McLaren and maybe even us pushing Michael (Schumacher) for wins later this year," he remarked. "And there is a very good chance that Renault could lift the championship in 2003. The car will be a race winner by then."

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Jenson Button , Mike Gascoyne
Teams Ferrari , McLaren , Williams , Benetton