Jenson Button has described the tyre pressures being imposed by Pirelli at the Austrian Grand Prix as “unbelievably high”.
Pirelli suggests minimum tyre pressures for each race weekend, which can be revised following Friday practice but then become mandatory. In Austria, Button says the minimum front tyre pressures are four psi higher than last year’s pressures at the Red Bull Ring and
“I think the only issue is we are four psi higher on the front pressures than last year here,” Button said. Regulation from Pirelli, which is unbelievably high considering we didn’t have any issues here last year.
“It’s very high so front graining is going to be a massive issue. So that’s tough considering we’ve got the soft, supersoft and ultrasoft here. It’s going to make the weekend reasonably tough for everyone. So it’s about cooling as much as you can and driving in a certain way and having to run loads of engine braking and stuff like that, so it’s a shame.”
However, Button understands Pirelli’s reasons for imposing such high limits, even if he is not happy with them.
“The end of last year I thought we were going to have lower pressures this year – we were told we were going to have lower pressures this year, and we haven’t. So it’s really difficult. We’re not in a range where they work I don’t think. Maybe for one lap but not after that.
“I think the issue is Pirelli are seeing very low pressures behind the safety car and at certain instances in the race because people are doing certain things. So I think that’s why they are putting the pressures up, so the minimum pressure is higher.”
Aside from the tyre pressures, Button is confident McLaren will enjoy a more competitive weekend in Austria than in Canada or Azerbaijan.
“This should be a pretty nice place for us after the last two which have been tough. I still think to finish 11th in the last race behind a Williams is as good as it every was going to get on a circuit which has got a 2.4km straight! So I think we made the best of it there.
“Coming here, straight line speed is important, probably similar to Canada in terms of power needed but you run a lot more downforce. Downforce is also important here so we should be in better shape than Canada. We should be able to fight for points and a strong point of our car is braking. So Turn 1, Turn 2, Turn 3, the last corner should be good corners for us.”
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