Briatore gives boost to Button

Benetton team boss Flavio Briatore has given his driver Jenson Button a boost after the young Brit has failed to match the performance of team mate Giancarlo Fisichella this year

Briatore gives boost to Button

Button has outqualified Fisichella only once this season and has been unable to get on terms with the Italian. But Briatore, who has publicly criticised drivers in the past, does not believe Button is at fault.

The Italian team chief says Button's under performance is down to a combination of factors, including set-up problems and a lack of experience.

"Jenson is in his first year with the team," Briatore told this week's Autosport magazine. "Giancarlo has been here since the end of 1997. Jenson is finding it difficult driving the car with Giancarlo's set-up, but he is now trying to find his own. They have different driving styles and we need to figure that out."

The gap between the Benetton duo has increased as the season has progressed, but some believe the problem has been compounded by the fact that Fisichella has raised his game this year.

"Giancarlo has done a very good job," said Briatore, "and at this moment, Jenson is doing a less good job, but we need to figure out this one second gap between them. Giancarlo is very quick, very consistent and very mature."

Button was given the full attention of the Benetton test team during a three day test at Magny-Cours last week in an effort to find out where the 21-year-old was losing out to his team mate.

During the test Button tried out the Enstone-based team's new power steering system, which is to be used for the first time in Canada this weekend. The F1 sophomore has been nursing a shoulder injury which has been made worse by the B201's heavy steering.

Button has a contract with the team until the end of 2002, but Fisichella's current agreement comes to an end this year. An announcement regarding the 28-year-old's future with the team is not expected until August. Jordan ace Jarno Trulli is under contract to Briatore and could be brought in as a replacement.

"I would expect something at the beginning of August," said Briatore. "Both [Trulli and Fisichella] have done a good job this year."

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