By Jonathan Noble
Jenson Button comes to Turkey as a dominant championship leader, with the benchmark car underneath him, and amid increasing speculation about whether he will commit his future to Brawn - and if so, for how much.
He tackled all these topics on more as he addressed the media at a damp Istanbul Park this afternoon.
Q. Have you found out why Brawn was slower than Red Bull in the last wet race in China?
Jenson Button: I think the Red Bulls are bloody quick in the wet. Maybe not with the way the diffuser is now, maybe that might make a difference, we'll have to see. We know a lot of the reason why we weren't so competitive, and it's amazing how you can find that chunk of time. We were over a second slower than the Red Bulls, but we know where a lot of the time is and it's an easy thing to put right, we just haven't had any practice to see if it does work.
Q. You've won on every type of track so far, surely there's no reason why that won't continue this weekend?
JB: If everyone had the same car coming here, then maybe not. But we do have a couple of improvements, we have something different with the aerodynamics. It's not really a big step, it's just trying to stay ahead of the game. I think that the Red Bulls should work quite well here. The car that they had in Barcelona, if they brought that here they would be competitive. We'll have to see if their diffuser makes a difference on this circuit.
But they're expected to be competitive and I think they will be. If you look at the times in the races previous to Monaco, they were very competitive. You could say that they have been as quick as us, they just haven't got it together over the race weekends. You can't blame KERS cars, I think strategy is important, and a few other things. They haven't had race wins, but I think they're quick enough to fight with us for sure.
The Ferraris will be quick here too. I think they've made up ground at every race and they performed very well, especially in Monaco. You can say it's a different type of circuit, but there's a lot of slow speed here and they've got KERS for the drag up the hill, which should help them quite a bit. So those two teams will be strong.
McLaren I think will be quick for most of the circuit but I think they'll struggle so much with Turn 8 that maybe they won't be there over a lap time. And Toyota maybe will be competitive because they've reverted to a previous aero package and they'll be quite good at a circuit like this.
Q. There have been stories suggesting you are discussing big pay deals to stay with Brawn beyond 2009...
JB: I haven't spoken to anyone about it. I've read the articles and that's about it. Even after reading the articles I haven't spoken to the team about it because I'm not interested. I'm here to race and I don't want to talk about money. I don't want to talk about anything else. It's irrelevant at the moment. I've got to concentrate on this weekend, and that's what I've got to do at every race we go to. I'm not thinking about money at all. I was with this team and continued with this team because I thought the car would be competitive, that's all.
Q. Do you see yourself staying at the team long term?
JB: I'm very happy here, as you can imagine, I've won five out of six races. It's not something that I'm going to talk to the team about until much later in the season. A lot, lot later in the season. Because I'm having a great time, but I know that it could end very quickly if you take your eye off the ball, so that's not what I'm going to do.
Q. Fernando Alonso said today that he expects him to wrap up the title by early summer, what would you say to that?
JB: That would be nice, but I can't see it happening with the way the system is. We've had six races and I've only got a 16-point lead. It's not a lot. If nothing changed now it would only two races before the end of the season when I would have won it, and there's so much that's going to happen before then. It's definitely not going to be a walk in the park. You can see that by the competitiveness of the other teams. If you look through all the data after the races, their lap times are the same as ours, we've just done the better job on the weekend. But they will get it right, for sure. But hopefully not too often.
Q. You're now a hot property, presumably there is interest from other teams wanting to sign you?
JB: It obviously looks good when you read it, but I have no interest in discussing anything with anyone at the moment. I'm very happy, I'm doing what I'm here to do, and that's winning races and leading the championship. I'm not thinking about next year yet.
Q. Turn 8 must have been horrendous in last year's car, presumably you're now looking forward to it?
JB: I am, but it's probably the weakest corner on the circuit for our car. I think that the Red Bull will be very competitive through there. If you look at Barcelona in the two high speed corners they were taking one and a half to two tenths out of us each of them, which is massive. Everyone says 'your car must be amazing' in high speed, but it's not compared to the Red Bull. So that's an area we need to work on, for sure. We're not as weak as the McLaren, for example, in high speed corners, but it's an area we've got to work on because it's not only going to gain or lose you a lot of time in Turn 8 because it's such a long corner, but it can damage the tyres if you haven't got the balance right.
I've been watching a lot of data from previous years. The good thing is there's only one high speed corner on the circuit. Coming here I was thinking Red Bull are going to be very, very strong - are we actually going to be able to touch them? But if you think about it, it's not a high speed circuit. There are so many long straights you think it's a high speed circuit, but it's only really Turn 8.
Q. So is that more of a worry for Silverstone then?
JB: Yeah, that is a bit of a worry, but I hear it's not so much of an issue, just one long corner, it's not as much of a problem as Silverstone.
Q. So are you concerned about Silverstone?
JB: Not really concerned, but we're going to have a lot of competition there and it won't be an easy race, that's for sure. But at the moment I'm not thinking about it too much. Let's think about this one for now. I'm sure we can sort out some of our issues in the high speed corners. We've got something different aerodynamically, the front wings are a bit different, and hopefully that will help us.
Q. Do you find yourself being congratulated more these days?
JB: People in the past were very friendly and saying 'we know it will happen in the end' but this year's obviously very different. But it's the same in a way because you never get anyone trying to be funny or cocky.
Q. If Ferrari keeps getting quicker, do you think you will have to start running shorter first stints and carrying less fuel in qualifying?
JB: The problem is if you do that and you do get trapped, you're screwed completely. It's a difficult one, because going into qualifying and thinking maybe you haven't got the pace of the others and you go a bit shorter, then everyone starts going shorter and shorter and then if you don't get the perfect lap you're totally screwed in the race because you're stopping early and you might get stuck behind someone. So it's a difficult one. But also if everyone's going shorter, say lap 13 or 14 for example, and you think 'I don't want to go that short' so you go to lap 18, then you could end up sixth on the grid. So it's a really difficult one.
You have to read what's happened this year. Sometimes you've got to do something completely different. It might work, it might not. Qualifying's difficult at this point of the season, to know what to do. Hopefully we'll have good pace, and if we haven't it's going to be a tough one.