J enson Button is not the man for best training times. His pole position at the Belgian GP was only the eighth at the 220th start. And the first since driving for McLaren. Button had to wait a long time until he was back on the pitch in the sun.
Teams have to define setup without reference
He was most recently successful at a Brawn GP 2009 in Monte Carlo. His year of world champion. The pole position for the 31-year-old Englishman came as a surprise to many. 'Usually Jenson isn't that good on Saturday,' joked Mark Webber. Button was also astonished: 'For a fast lap I was actually on the wrong set-up.'
In Spa, the set-ups differ more than on any other track. This time even more extreme, because Friday was rainy. 'There was no reference to what the others were doing. Normally we ignore each other,' explained Fernando Alonso. The crux of the matter: The teams have to submit the gear ratio to the FIA on Friday evening.
Those who have a long seventh gear have to drive with little downforce on Sunday. Otherwise the gear steps in the curves will not be correct. On the other hand, a driver who has switched to a shorter seventh gear cannot simply reduce downforce. Otherwise he will quickly hit the limiter on the straight.
Button relies on race set-up
Button chose little downforce. Experience has shown that you lose time on a fast lap in training because pole position is decided in the second sector. Where there are many curves. If you drive too many wings, you are vulnerable in the race. Spa is a track where overtaking is possible. If you have enough top speed.
Button therefore counted on a worse training time and advantages in the race. 'I am surprised that all the guys who have put a lot of effort into downforce are behind me.' For example his team-mate Lewis Hamilton. For example Sebastian Vettel. For example, Mark Webber.
Advantage for Button in the race?
Since Spa’s old setup rules seem to be out of force, Button has high hopes for the race. 'We don't know whether we're on the right track with the setup. The good top speed will help me especially in the early stages. But maybe I'll have to pay later in the middle sector because the tires suffer with less downforce. Maybe things will turn out differently More downforce means more load on the tires, and thenthe others could get into trouble because the tires overheat. 'Alonso agrees:' Everything could turn out differently in the race. '