Gascoyne praises Button

Gascoyne praises Button

Reanult technical director Mike Gascoyne has praised former driver Jenson Button's performance in the Malaysian Grand Prix, saying he was impressed by the way the Englishman dominated team mate Jacques Villeneuve. Button was ousted from Renault...

Reanult technical director Mike Gascoyne has praised former driver Jenson Button's performance in the Malaysian Grand Prix, saying he was impressed by the way the Englishman dominated team mate Jacques Villeneuve. Button was ousted from Renault last year in favour of Fernando Alonso and moved to BAR for 2003. Gascoyne said he had been concerned about how Button would cope with the outspoken Villeneuve.

Jenson Button.
Photo by Honda F1 Press Office.
"Jenson had a great weekend against Jacques, all credit to him," he commented. "He's dominated Villeneuve all weekend. In terms of talent and race pace he deserves to be in this pitlane but I worried about how he'd get on against Villeneuve."

"I'm impressed with the way Jenson's done it this weekend after what happened in Melbourne. He's done all his talking on the track and he's outqualified Villeneuve."

"I've always thought Jenson might struggle a little in one-lap qualifying. He can be quick but he has to build up to it. In the race he's very strong, but he's outqualified him and drove a very strong race. If he continues to do that he's going to have a secure future for himself and quite rightly."

Despite his praise of Button, Gascoyne remains convinced that Renault made the right decision in taking on Alonso for 2003. After spending 2002 testing for the team, the Spaniard took up a race seat this year, finishing in the points in Melbourne. In Malaysia he claimed his first pole position and his first podium finish of third.

"We thought that Fernando had the spark of a future world champion and I don't think there's anyone that doubts it," Gascoyne explained. "Flavio particularly got a lot of stick, everyone was saying Alonso was in the team because he's managed by Flavio."

"The reason he's managed by Flavio is that Flavio spotted him three years ago and said that's the guy we want in our team and he went and got him. We put him in a Minardi (in 2001), he did a fantastic job there, he tested for us last season and did a fantastic job, the time was right to get him in the car."

Like some others, Gascoyne believes that Alonso, along with Malaysian winner Kimi Raikkonen, is a future world champion: "I think in a year or two's time he can win the world championship," he stated. "He and Kimi Raikkonen are the two guys who are really standing out."

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Jenson Button , Jacques Villeneuve , Kimi Raikkonen , Fernando Alonso , Mike Gascoyne
Teams Minardi