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New Pirellis suit me - Button

ESPNF1 Staff
February 3, 2011 « Jenson Button's new experience | »
Jenson Button left Valencia in a bouyant mood © Sutton Images

Jenson Button is confident the new Pirelli tyres will work in his favour this season, especially over one lap in qualifying.

He got his first taste of the tyres at Valencia on Thursday and, while many drivers have complained about excessive degradation, Button appeared upbeat.

He did acknowledge the degradation issue but said the construction of the tyre should play into his hands; most of all in qualifying where he struggled on occasion last year.

"The tyres help me in that area, that's one thing definitely," he said. "We're doing a lot of work on the car still, but we're working on a certain area that I think will really help me and give me confidence in the car. At quite a few grands prix last year I wasn't happy with my qualifying performance but races were very competitive. It's an area I need to work on, but all we can do off the circuit is work on areas that I think are going to help me and one area is with Pirelli. I think we have a tyre that suits me more than the previous tyre we were on, but we'll have to wait and see - I can't be sure yet, but I think that might be the case."

He said the Pirellis gave him more confidence on corner entry, a characteristic that would play to his style of driving.

"I like the feeling of the tyre," he added. "It's got a stable rear on the entry of the corner and it's got a stable rear when you break for low speed corners - that's something that I really do need with the car so I'm happy with that step. There are areas where it is weaker than previous tyres but that is just the way it's built and you have to just change the balance of the car to suit that.

"I think there will be degradation of the soft tyre and you do have to look after the balance. You want to be quick on one lap and you want to be quick on longer runs. There's always a bit of a compromise and it's whether you get that compromise right or not."

He also said simulator work had helped over the winter and McLaren's predictions of how the new tyres would behave had matched his experience on track on Thursday.

"It's been a good year for simulator work, I think we have a good simulator model for this tyre which is very lucky as we've done a lot of simulator work with these tyres and a lot of set-up work. We're had a good winter and I think that id all the set-up work works when we put it onto the car in reality, we'll be in a very good position already in Jerez."

Another problem Button had last year was his seating position. The design process of the car started way before he joined the team in the winter and his taller frame did not suit the cockpit. However, he said the new MP4-26, which will be launched on Friday, had been built with him in mind.

"I feel a lot more at home in the car, I haven't driven it yet, but the position in the car - I'm actually properly in and I feel very comfortable," he said. "I can really feel that the car has been built around me and obviously that was something that wasn't possible last year because I arrived so late at the team. I'm the tallest driver so I'm the limiting factor and I fit in very well and I'm in a much more comfortable position, which is important."