Jenson Button does not believe drivers will be forced to make radical changes in order to adapt to Formula 1’s sweeping 2014 regulation changes.
Both Ferrari and its outgoing driver Felipe Massa have voiced concerns that the F1 spectacle could be dulled by fuel efficiency next year, but Button thinks such fears are wide of the mark. He predicts instead that the dynamic of races will not change substantially from this year, and that teams will master any new techniques by the season-opening Australian Grand Prix in mid-March.
“It’s standard stuff; it’s not like the car has been turned upside down,” Button said of the 2014 changes. “I don’t think we are going to see anything different next year; I don’t think you’re going to see much fuel saving. I think we are still going to see great racing.”
Asked whether teams and drivers would need to focus more on race strategy next year, Button said: “I think it is already [strategic] with the tire saving that goes on. You spend so much time with the engineers and tire engineers to understand where the tires will work, what temperature range you need to be in, which corners you can push and which you can’t.
“There is so much information we run through before and during the race to stop blistering, stop graining, stop overheating, stop degradation. The drivers will not drive any differently [in 2014], because this year you already have to look after the tires.
“It’s all there now, its just going to be slightly different next year. That’s all stuff we’ll learn for the first race.”
Button also said he expects the majority of engine acclimatization to be completed by testing, adding that the addition of an eighth gear would also make little difference.
“It’s eight gears [but] first will only be used at the launch, so you’ll use seven gears. Nothing will be different,” he added. “Testing will be a lot busier with understanding the power unit and the torque curve with the KERS, but it won’t be that different a driving style compared to this year.
“A lot of people are saying it will be completely different, but by the time we get to the first race it will all be forgotten and we’ll be well into what we think is right.”