Skip to main content

Button aims to improve qualifying form

English driver Jenson Button surrendered his world title to Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel in his first season with McLaren.
English driver Jenson Button surrendered his world title to Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel in his first season with McLaren.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Jenson Button vows to work on his form in qualifying ahead of the 2011 F1 season
  • English driver finishes fifth in overall standings in his first season with McLaren team
  • He says he was encouraged by his third-place finish in the final race in Abu Dhabi
  • Button says he feels part of the family at McLaren alongside teammate Lewis Hamilton

(CNN) -- Deposed world champion Jenson Button is looking forward to building on a "fantastic" first year at McLaren team with another tilt at the Formula One title in 2011.

The Englishman helped Brawn GP to claim two world crowns in 2009 before the British team was bought by Mercedes, but he could finish only fifth this season after struggling to start races high up the grid.

"I'll be putting additional focus on qualifying for 2011. This year, I think I've had some very strong Sunday afternoons, but I probably haven't always made life as easy as I would like on Saturdays," he told his official website.

"And we know how crucial that is in modern Formula One -- if I can get qualifying sorted, then I think we can have an even stronger season next year.

"Over the winter, it will be a case of sitting down with my engineers, looking at how we can move the car a little bit closer to me when it's on low fuel and how we can just extract that final tenth [of a second] from it during Q3."

We have the momentum and fighting spirit to take us into the winter feeling very positive. There's a lot we can do to make this team stronger and better
--Jenson Button
RELATED TOPICS

Button led the drivers' standings after early-season victories in Australia and China, but after that was overshadowed by teammate Lewis Hamilton until his title hopes ended with a fifth-placing at the penultimate race in Brazil.

However, he and his compatriot finished in the top-three behind Red Bull's new world champion Sebastian Vettel in Abu Dhabi, giving McLaren hope for next year.

"We have the momentum and fighting spirit to take us into the winter feeling very positive," Button said.

"It will actually only be my first full winter at Vodafone McLaren Mercedes, because I only started working here in January this year.

"There's a lot I think we can do to make this team stronger and better for the new season -- we've got a year's worth of experience under our belts, we've pushed hard all season, and I think we can take that all away and learn from it over the winter."

Despite his difficulties in qualifying, Button said he was satisfied with his year as a whole.

"It's really been a fantastic year -- I've been made to feel so welcome, and such a part of the team, that it feels like I've been here far longer," he said.

"Obviously, the highlights for me were the two wins earlier in the season but there have been plenty of others: I had some very strong races in Turkey and Canada, and almost took another win at Monza.

"There are plenty of positives to take away from the year. The relationship with Lewis, my engineers and my mechanics also worked out really well. I do feel part of the family now."