Jenson Button says that it would have been impossible to complete qualifying in today’s rain – and says that Sunday morning should provide a better show.
He also gave an illuminating explanation of what it’s like to drive a modern F1 car in heavy rain.
“When it gets too wet for these tyres it doesn’t matter what speed you drive around, you will aquaplane,” said Button. “The tyre cannot take a certain amount of water. Especially when there’s a river running across the circuit, you don’t know where it is when you arrive.
“When it is this wet out there there’s no difference between the rivers and the circuit, it’s just one big lake. When you hit a river, you are completely out of control. You might as well close your eyes and take your hands off the steering wheel, because it does what it wants.
“And that’s not what F1 racing is about. It’s about a guy trying to tame a 750bhp F1 car, but in conditions where he can possibly tame it, because in this you can’t. We’re not in control of the situation. You can say 30 years ago we probably would have raced in these conditions, but safety’s come a long way since then in terms of the circuits and the way that we view safety.
“I’m very happy that I’m racing at this moment in time, because this is correct, to not run today. Many times we’ve questioned the FIA’s decisions when it comes to safety, sometimes we say that they don’t call a red flag early enough in a race or in qualifying, but lately they’ve been great, they’ve really called it well. They understand what an F1 car can do what the drivers can do in these conditions. The fans will get a much better show tomorrow than if we tried to run in these conditions, because we’d all be piled up at Turn One.”
Button made the point that many other sports do not run in wet weather.
“Not even talking about the safety side of the sport, there are so many sports that don’t play if it’s raining. Motor sports, and other sports, ball sports. So we are not alone in not playing and not racing in these conditions. We have a car and tyres that are good enough in certain conditions, but this is just impossible. It’s not about the show when it’s like this, this is way too dangerous.
“It is sad, because for us there is so much energy and adrenaline running through us when we get into qualifying, and we have to go through that again and again and again, and suddenly it’s all over.
“But that is minimal compared obviously to the fans sitting in the grandstand and getting wet all day, and we don’t put on a proper show. But it is the sport, hopefully the fans understand that, and we will make sure that we will do a great job in the morning.
“It’s not easy for any team to be working in this situation of having qualifying in the morning and the race in the afternoon, but I think we’ve got the best teams in the world racing in F1, and we’ll be able to get it done.
“I’d rather it was wet, but it is what it is. If it’s not wet then we can see where we stand compared to our competitors at this moment in time, and if it’s not where we want to be we know we’ve got work to do, and we know what we need to do to improve the car.”