Belfast Telegraph

Jenson Button warns Formula One unpredictability could put fans off

By Ian Parkes

Jenson Button has suggested the unpredictability of the current Formula One season could soon start to lose its allure for the fans.

History was made in Monaco on Sunday when Mark Webber took the chequered flag, which meant that - for the first time in the sport's 62 years - the opening six races yielded six different winners.

McLaren star Button acknowledges these are exciting times for F1, even if he is finding it a struggle after collecting just two points from the last three grands prix.

The 32-year-old, however, is beginning to wonder about the sheer randomness of it all and whether the fans will question a sport supposed to be the most technologically advanced in the world.

Button, now trailing Ferrari's Fernando Alonso by 31 points in the standings, said: "Fernando is leading because he has been more consistent than other people.

"Whether he is in the best car or not no-one is ever going to know, but the consistency is there.

"He is obviously doing a great job - the car is working well - whereas there aren't many other drivers that have had that consistency.

"Clearly everyone is excited about so many different winners, which initially was great for the fans and great for the sport.

"But there will come a time when the fans will say, 'So anyone can win a grand prix, everyone can lose a grand prix like that?' (snaps his fingers).

"I think they're finding it a little bit strange now.

"I don't know, but hopefully a pattern will emerge after the next couple of races and we'll understand the teams and drivers we need to beat to win the championship."

The best car/driver combination is seemingly no longer applicable, and instead it is about who can best figure out how the Pirelli tyres work on any given weekend.

That would appear to be damaging for the sport, but McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh firmly disagrees with that stance.

Whitmarsh said: "It's an enthralling sport at the moment.

"A few years ago people were talking about processional races, and the fact they were so predictable. Well, we certainly don't have a predictable season.

"I think an unpredictable race and an unpredictable season is what fans want.

"Right now the championship is anyone's to play for. We, Lewis (Hamilton) and Jenson can win it, and after six races that is good for the sport.

"If people now say this randomness is unattractive then that is a 180 to what people felt a few years ago.

"On balance I'm sure people want a lack of predictability. You want to go to each event not knowing who is going to win.

"You want to go through the course of the weekend not sure what is going to happen in each session.

"So far every one of our races this year has been very exciting."

Belfast Telegraph


From Belfast Telegraph