Jenson Button urges Formula 1 critics to give McLaren-Honda a break

Jenson Button has called on McLaren-Honda's critics to give the team a break following its wretched start to the Formula 1 season, amplified by a Canadian Grand Prix to forget

Jenson Button urges Formula 1 critics to give McLaren-Honda a break

The weekend at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve included two engine changes, and a new MGU-H and turbo charger for Button's car before a double retirement with unrelated exhaust issues.

A swathe of criticism has naturally followed, with many questioning whether the Woking-based team will return to the front of the grid at all this season.

McLaren F1 team to add resources to Honda engine programme

Button can understand the flak in part, given McLaren's history and heritage, but also feels it is unfounded as the reunited McLaren-Honda partnership attempts to get on top of its issues.

"The problem is when you are a team that has won grands prix and world championships you are massively under pressure, and nobody gives this team a break," said Button.

"But when you look at the improvements we've made, it's been massive.

"This is such a competitive sport and that is why we want to take part in it, and the reason why manufacturers take part in it.

"To come in two years younger than the rest of the manufacturers is a big deal, and I personally feel that we have done a great job.

"Confidence is high in the team, and Honda understands that help from McLaren is always positive and vice versa, so it's a good partnership.

"I feel we have the package to achieve great things in the future."

Immediately after the race, Button described the weekend as "painful" as the team appeared to take backward steps - rather than forwards as expected, on the basis of Honda using tokens to upgrade the power unit.

But as the team discovered, the car was again lacking in not only speed, but also reliability.

Team-mate Fernando Alonso went so far as to say he believed he was made to look like "an amateur driver" during the race.

"It's always a tricky balance; we all want to perform. We're also pressurised to perform. You feel it," added Button.

"It's very difficult, especially for the young guys in the team. Everyone is asking, 'when are you going to win?', so you push the boundaries.

"But we were weak in both reliability and outright pace. Hopefully in a few weeks we can solve those issues.

"What happened, though, won't hurt this team. We scored points in Monaco, which no one expected.

"So we have to take the rough with the smooth and look at the season as a whole, and know we've improved every race."

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