Button hopes to overhaul Ferrari with upgrades
Jenson Button thinks McLaren needs to use the upgrades it is bringing to Austria as a platform to start closing the 21-point gap to Ferrari in the constructors' championship.
Austria was earmarked as the start of McLaren's development push several weeks ago, and comes after Button finished fourth in Canada. Button does not think the upgrade will significantly improve McLaren's standing in the pecking order but says it is all part of a long process of catching Ferrari in front.
"It's not that big," said Button on the expected impact of the parts McLaren has taken to Austria. "We have upgrades, yes, but we've had upgrades most races this year so we're not going to suddenly be fighting up at the front. But because the pack behind the first team is so close, even one tenth in a race makes a big difference; 70 lap race, seven seconds.
"Hopefully it will make a big enough difference to score some good points, like we have done in the last two races. Interestingly we're only 21 points behind Ferrari in the constructors', so I don't know how that happened, but that has to be an aim for us, to close that gap."
As well as targeting Ferrari in the championship, Button thinks McLaren can take the fight to the Italian outfit on track in Austria too.
"Our aim has to be to hopefully be at the top end of the pack behind Mercedes, and Red Bull I think. The rest of that pack we've got to hope we can fight nearer to the front of and hopefully we can come out with some relatively good points. If Mercedes and Red Bull were reliable you would look at that and say fifth is what you could get out of the car."
One of McLaren's biggest issues has been its inability to get anything out of the supersoft tyre, a stark contrast to fellow Mercedes customer Force India, but Button believes the team has rectified this issue and should see an improvement with the compound in Austria.
"We're very good on the soft tyre but we're weak on the supersoft, so we've been working out why that is and I think we have a solution for that here. So that shouldn't be a problem for us, we hope anyway. We destroy it very quickly, graining on lap two of the tyre. We were amazed to see what Force India could do on the tyre, we would have no chance of doing that. Then on the soft tyre, obviously Mercedes are quicker than us, but other than that we're close to the other competitors."