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banner Wednesday, 4 July, 2001, 12:44 GMT 13:44 UK
Button promised improvements
Jenson Button
Jenson Button has been struggling all season
Jenson Button has been promised a better car next year after struggling in his Benetton for much of this season.

Renault Sport president Patrick Faure has backed the young Englishman and put the blame for his poor results on the car.

The Benetton team will be re-named Renault in 2002 and Faure is convinced the support of the French manufacturer will be a major boost for Button and team-mate Giancarlo Fisichella.

I think by the middle of next season we will be at our maximum speed
  Richard Faure
Renault Sport president
"We have had a bad start to the year but that has not been their fault because they have not had the best engine or car, and I hope we are going to give them a better weapon next season," said Faure.

There has been considerable speculation over Button's future with the team as he has failed to out-qualify Fisichella since the opening race in Australia.

But Faure expects the 21-year-old to complete his two-year loan deal from Williams.

"We have not made up our minds about the drivers next year, but Jenson does have a two-year contract," he said.

"But I am very happy with what Jenson has done and he came back strong in France when he was very close to Fisichella.

Giancarlo Fisichella
Fisichella has outpaced Button
"Until the last 30 seconds of qualifying Jenson was ahead. I think we have got two very good drivers."

Faure also dismissed claims that Benetton's managing director Flavio Briatore and technical director Mike Gascoyne would be sacked after a disappointing season.

"There is nothing to these rumours," said Faure. "The situation is clear. Renault's strategy for F1 is long-term.

"We chose Flavio Briatore and Mike Gascoyne to head up the chassis division and we are sticking with this strategy.

"We started the season three seconds behind the front runners and now we are 2.2 seconds behind. I would like to finish the season around one second behind.

"Then we can really work throughout the winter to get ready for the start of the new season and I think by the middle of next season we will be at our maximum speed."

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04 Jul 01 |  Formula One
Irvine fit for Silverstone
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