The SMP Racing driver sampled running in the wet in the #11 BR Engineering BR1-AER during a damp and rainy Friday and has said that while the car is running well, it is still lacking in speed, with weather and track conditions hampering efforts.
“Here in the wet it’s interesting,” said Button of the Shanghai Circuit. “It’s very cold. It’s very hard to get the tyres working – very very low grip.
“So far the car is working really well. The balance is good. Lap times are very slow but I just think it’s because of the low grip and the way the circuit is. It looks like it could be a fun fight this weekend.”
The turbocharged BR1-AER LMP1 received an increase in petrol energy allowance per lap as well as increases in fuel usage and refueling in the latest Equivalence of Technology (EoT) bulletin from the WEC for Shanghai.
While the EoT changes might help to close the gap with other non-hybrid LMP1 cars during the race, Button was unconvinced that they will produce meaningful gains to match the pace of the hybrid Toyota TS050s.
“The Toyotas in qualifying will be much quicker. But I think in terms of race pace hopefully it will be a little bit closer than normal and we can actually have a little bit of a ding dong at least.
“Compared to Toyota, I don’t think it’s going to change anything, but compared to Rebellion, yes. Our pitstops were 5 seconds slower on average in Fuji. It costs us a lot of time.”
Driver changes will be a key area for improvement for Button and his co-drivers Mikhail Aleshin and Vitaly Petrov in the #11 car.
“The only problem for us now is we got to learn how to change drivers quicker because are on the limit. We are 3 big guys with 3 big seat inserts!”
“It’s not the easiest thing to get in and out of. Lots of bruises – cuts, what have you. But we are getting there.”
Image: Antonin Vincent / Michelin
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