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Button against efforts to mix up F1 grid

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Button against efforts to mix up F1 grid
Apr 14, 2016, 12:55 PM

McLaren driver Jenson Button has insisted that Formula 1 should not be trying to artificially mix up the grids for its races, saying that the fastest cars should continue to line up at the front.

Jenson Button, McLaren
Jenson Button, McLaren
Start action
Jenson Button, McLaren MP4-31 and Pascal Wehrlein, Manor Racing MRT05
Start action: Nico Rosberg, Mercedes AMG F1 Team W07 leads
Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari SF16-H leads at the start of the race
Start action: Nico Rosberg, Mercedes AMG F1 Team W07 leads
Start action: Nico Rosberg, Mercedes AMG F1 Team W07 leads
Jenson Button, McLaren

The push towards a mixed grid has been cited as the reason behind the universally unpopular elimination qualifying and, while that format has been abolished, F1 continues to look for a way to change up the starting order so as to make grands prix more exciting.

F1 veteran Button, however, suggests that the championship should focus on other ways of spicing up the show, instead of trying to introduce a bigger element of randomness to the grid.

"Formula 1's never been like that and it shouldn't be like that," he said.

"Mix the grids up in other formulas but in Formula 1, it's not necessary. There are other things we can do to make the sport better."

Reacting to the idea that having the fastest cars start out front was a problem for the show, Button said: "That's Formula 1, that's what we do. It's like going to Wimbledon and the guy who got kicked out in the first round ends up in the final.

"It's supposed to be the quickest guy starts at the front and the slowest starts at the back - and then you deal with it in the race..

"It's the way the sport's been in the last 60, 70 years. It's not changed."

However, the Briton did say he trusts the teams to jointly come up with an appropriate qualifying format should a change be deemed necessary.

"I think it's a great idea [for the teams to look into qualifying]," he said.

"I think they're the right people to look at changing the format if it's necessary. New ideas are always exciting, it's a sport that's always moving, technology is always moving on and I think it's great that we see improvements and trying new things.

"The important thing is that if we try something and it doesn't work, we need to revert back to what did work."

Bigger gaps are the issue

Button also posited that a perceived lack of spectacle in grand prix racing did not stem from the faster cars starting out front, but rather the faster cars being much quicker than the rest of the field.

"I think, the pace delta is a little bit different, bigger than it has been - but it's not the fault of Mercedes, it's the fault of everyone else not doing a good enough job," the Briton said.

"So... no, qualifying should be exactly as it is, the quickest guy starts on the front row. It's still getting mixed up, you know, with Lewis' bad starts of the Ferrari's great starts in Melbourne - it's very mixed up.

"I think the problem is there's such a difference between the first two teams and everyone else that the racing doesn't look as exciting. But where I've been racing, it's been very exciting, there's been a lot of action.

"I watched the Brazil qualifying from 2003 and one second, I think, covered the top 15, five tenths for the top 10. And we're so far from that at the moment.

"It's a shame because you look at the cars and they all look the same, so it's amazing there's such a difference in laptime."

Button also admitted that bunching up the field might take a change in the regulations.

"We just gotta close that gap - maybe it takes a rule change to do that, I don't know.

"I'm sure next year Merc and Ferrari don't want any more rule changes, whereas every other team, they do want the rule changes - it's a tricky one."

Interview by Adam Cooper

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Series Formula 1
Drivers Jenson Button Shop Now