Jenson Button predicting more inconsistent starts as a result of radio changes
"Hopefully F1 is listening to the fans," says JB on overhaul
By James Galloway
Last Updated: 18/09/14 6:06pm
Jenson Button believes Formula 1 fans can expect to see a bigger difference between drivers’ getaways from the grid at the start of races as a result of the crackdown on team radio advice.
One of the most controversial aspects of the FIA’s sudden decision to ban all car-to-pit messages related to team performance centres around drivers’ preparation for the start of races.
Whereas previously drivers have been given specific instructions on the formation lap for what settings to apply for their launches from the grid, from Sunday onwards race pitwalls are prohibited from relaying information on start maps relating to clutch position and the number of burn-outs required on the warm-up lap.
With such a sudden overhaul in radio regulations concerning one of the most crucial aspects of a grand prix, Button is expecting more drivers to select the wrong settings and therefore be slow away when the lights go out.
“The only thing you’ll see I think is more of an inconsistency in the starts,” the McLaren driver told Sky Sports News HQ in the Singapore GP paddock.
“We normally do a practice start and get a feel for where the clutch position should be and adjust it for the start. That’s why most people get pretty much the same start off the line.”
The 34-year-old is, however, optimistic that McLaren will be in good shape to profit from any such confusion elsewhere.
“We’ve done a good job that our clutch is pretty consistent throughout the year, so hopefully we’ll have consistent starts and other people will falter,” he added. “So hopefully that’s a positive for us.”
Although the timing of the dramatic team radio changes six races before the end of the season has been criticised by some drivers and fans, the move has been made with the input of the F1 Strategy Group amid the wider aim of changing what were growing perceptions that drivers were being spoonfed by their race engineers on the track.
Button, the most experienced driver on the grid, has welcomed the clampdown and thinks fans will appreciate more control being given back to the drivers.
“I think it’s good and hopefully it’s because Formula 1 is listening to the fans. It’s definitely going to attract more people and people will think ‘well, we’ll see how they get on now they’re not being given every bit of information and it seems the drivers are actually driving the cars now," the 2009 World Champion said.
“It’s never been the case that the team are driving the car, but they’ve helped us along the way. Now it’s a lot more in our hands saving fuel around here, because it’s tricky, looking after the tyres which are obviously very different around here and balancing the car with diff and brake balance.”
The 2014 Singapore GP is live only on Sky Sports F1 this weekend, with our coverage beginning with Practice from 10.45am on Friday.