x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 23 January 2018

Button tells Grand Prix critics that the season has a long way to go

Jenson Button, the Formula One world champion, has said the changes made to the sport this summer cannot be judged after just one Grand Prix.

Jenson Button, the Formula One world champion, has said the changes made to the sport this summer cannot be judged after just one Grand Prix. The Bahrain Grand Prix, won by Ferrari's Fernando Alonso, was notable for a lack of overtaking - but Button echoed comments made by Bernie Ecclestone, the sport's commercial rights holder, when he said that fans of the series need to be patient.

"I'm not going to say 'What are we going to do about it? It's terrible' because I think we've got to wait and see," he said. "It's only one race in, so it's not the end of the world. There's still another 18 races to go. There's still every chance it's going to be a fantastic season. We just have to see what happens over the next few races and then people have got to start making the decisions if it's not going in the right direction."

Button pointed out that Formula One has always had vocal critics as well as supporters, and said he had certainly not been bored stuck behind the returning Michael Schumacher. "Even last year, people were saying that the racing can be boring, there isn't enough overtaking. But for me last year the balance was good," he said. "You had overtaking, not a lot, but you had overtaking and when you did make a move it was a hell of a move and it was exciting."

Button said Formula One had at least finally got the qualifying right, with all cars running on low fuel rather than the different loads of last season. "I think that's great. In that area we've really made a step forward, having low fuel and cars on the limit with low fuel," he added. "There are positives but maybe there aren't enough right now. We've got to hope we get them in Melbourne." * Reuters