Button's outburst kick-starts Honda into different gear

Jenson Button remained unrepentant yesterday, following his outburst against Honda when his BAR car lasted only three laps of the recent Malaysian Grand Prix because of a problem with its engine.

Jenson Button remained unrepentant yesterday, following his outburst against Honda when his BAR car lasted only three laps of the recent Malaysian Grand Prix because of a problem with its engine.

On the eve of this weekend's race in Bahrain, where exactly a year ago he was happily singing the praises of the revitalised BAR team, he outlined the frustration he is feeling about a season in which he had confidently expected to be a leading title contender by this stage.

"I think the reaction to what I said has been positive," he said. "As soon as I had calmed down I had a meeting with Honda and then I went to their factory in the UK on the Tuesday after the race. I had put my points across and we discussed things and they apologised. It was a minor problem and they showed me what they have done to solve it straight away. The good thing about Honda is that when they have issues, they solve them."

That is precisely what the late Ayrton Senna found in his days using Honda engines at Lotus and McLaren. The Brazilian, too, was prone to the odd emotional eruption when things went wrong, and was more respected because of it. Up until now Button has tended to play the game the way Michael Schumacher does, keeping friction internalised, but he admits that dropping the Mr Nice Guy act and showing a little steel now and then is not harmful.

Button added: "I would say that I'm a corporate player, but it's more important now than ever that I've got to show emotion to the team. It's the best way to put across my point about the issue we had in Malaysia. We were quick but we had a problem on Saturday and again on Sunday. It probably helped with the team to show them that I do care, that I'm not just along for the ride."

Despite his clear dissatisfaction with his start to the season, Button is adamant that he is not yet preparing to jump ship to Williams-BMW, as he attempted to do last August.

"I am not even going to think about next year and where I might be," he declared. "There is no point. I just want to get on with the job."

The Malaysian problem will make that more difficult this weekend, however, under the qualifying rules.

"Last year we only had nine points by this stage of the season, so all isn't lost, but we are 16 points behind Fernando [Alonso]. So we need to start scoring points from this weekend. The car was strong in testing in Malaysia, but breaking down early there means we have to run early in qualifying here this afternoon, and that isn't going to help on a circuit which is always so dusty early on."

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