By Alex Kapadia
Former Formula One world champion Jenson Button is optimistic that the new Pirelli tyres will give him the edge over other drivers when the 2011 season gets under way next month.
The McLaren racer struggled to get the most out of his Bridgestone tyres last year, but he is hopeful that the new Pirelli rubber suits his driving style.
After the third day of testing in Valencia the British driver said he is already sensing a much-improved situation on the tyre.
Button told reporters after his first day of testing: “I like the feeling of the tyre.
“It has a stable rear when you enter high-speed corners, you have a stable rear when you brake for low-speed corners, and that is something that I really do need with the car. I am happy with that step.
“There are areas where it is weaker than previous tyres – but that is the way it is built. You just change the balance of the car to suit that.
“There will be degradation on the soft tyre and you do have to look after it, but there always has to be a balance. You want to be quick over one lap and you want to be quick over a long run, so there is always a bit of a compromise. It is whether you can get the compromise right or not.”
Button is determined to improve his qualifying performances for the new season and he thinks that the Pirelli characteristics are a first step in the right direction.
“The tyres help me in that area, that is one thing definitely,” he said. “And we are doing a lot of work on the car still. It does take a little bit of time but we are working on a certain area that I think will really help me and give me confidence in the car.
“In quite a few races last year I wasn’t happy with my qualifying performance, but in the races we were very competitive. It is an area I need to work on, but all we can do off the circuit is try and improve areas that I think will help me.
“One area I think is that with Pirelli we have a tyre that maybe suits me more than the previous tyre we had. We have to wait and see, but I think that may be the case.”