McLaren slowdown baffles Button
MID-SEASON SLOWDOWN: McLaren's Jenson Button came out swinging in 2012 with a race win in Australia. Since then he has been off pace and trumped by rivals and team mate Lewis Hamilton.
LONDON, UK - Jenson Button will be looking for answers when McLaren's top technical brains meet to try to find out why their Formula 1 cars are off race pace.
The team had a disappointing British GP at Silverstone with Lewis Hamilton, who won in Canada in June 2012, finishing eighth and Button 10th.
Button, winner of the season-opening race in Australia, is now a hefty 79 points behind Ferrari's championship leader Fernando Alonso with 11 races remaining. Hamilton 37 points off the Spaniard's pace.
"We don't have the pace of the top three teams," Button said. "We are racing Williams, Sauber and Force India and I don't feel they had the best weekend... I feel that if Williams and Sauber had a good day, they would have beaten us. We've got a lot of work to do."
Button, who has never stood on his home GP podium in 13 attempts and qualified only 16th in a rain-soaked session, said the team had a good race strategy and its pit stops were perfect. He said he struggled to get crucial heat into the tricky Pirelli tyres but felt there was much more to it than that.
"We just didn't have the pace. The balance doesn't feel too bad, in high-speed corners the car is reasonable, low speed it's not fantastic but not bad, so when you see a car come past you like you're standing still it's a surprise... I don't know where we are missing out, I don't know how so many teams can get it right and we can't."
IMPROVE OR IT'S OVER
McLaren has now slipped from second to fourth in the Constructors' championship, behind Red Bull, Ferrari and Lotus - a shock for a team which has finished the last seven seasons in the top three.
Hamilton, the 2008 champion who has yet to agree a contract extension after 2012, feared his title hopes could disappear unless the team picks up the pace.
The next GP will be at Hockenheim in Germany on July 22. Hamilton won in 2011 and McLaren should have a good upgrade package. Immediately after that comes Hungary, which Button won in 2011.
Button said: "We've got to improve. We've got a technical meeting on Tuesday which is going to be quite sombre but we're going to be quite aggressive, everyone in the meeting, about trying to improve this car."