LONDON, July 1st, 2012 (AFP / Tim Collings) - Jenson Button will be aiming to rediscover his best form and put an end to an unwanted record at his home British Grand Prix next weekend.
The 32-year-old Briton, who has struggled for pace with his McLaren car since April after an excellent start to the season, has never finished on the podium at his home event at Silverstone.
Over the last decade and more, he has enjoyed some strong races and a few near misses, but has found success elusive, just as it has become in this extraordinary year of unexpected results.
Button, who won the drivers' championship in 2009, said: "I always enjoy racing at home because the atmosphere is unbeatable, and while the race itself hasn't always been too kind to me, I come here every year knowing I can count on the support of the many thousands of fans.
"That really does make a difference and it would be great to repay that terrific support with a really good result."
Button believes that the unique circumstances at last weekend's European Grand Prix at Valencia masked his progress in sorting out the problems he was experiencing with his car and tyres.
Once again, in a succession of poor results, he said an issue with his tyres in qualifying and then the way the race and strategies unfolded left him a low-key eighth at the finish.
"We've been making progress in a lot of areas even though I wasn't able to show that in terms of the result at Valencia," he said.
"This was mainly because I got boxed in at the start, then wasn't very lucky with the safety car - our strategy was fine and the car improved throughout the race."
A winner of 13 Grands Prix, Button started the season in winning form, but has since seemed to go backwards and his form is a concern to McLaren team chief Martin Whitmarsh.
McLaren have also had problems with their pit stops and strategy for fellow-Briton Lewis Hamilton in the second McLaren, and Whitmarsh is keeping an open mind on the team's prospects for their home race.
"We have to keep an open mind from the minute we arrive to the moment the chequered flag is unfurled," he said.
"The team that best manages the performance delta of the tyres is the one best placed to win -- and to do that you have to take every opportunity to gather data and learn from it quickly and effectively.
"Today, Grands Prix are no longer sprint races that are won or lost on the first lap.
"While that means hard work for us and for our rivals, it is excellent news for the fans in the grandstands and for those watching at home - even if it is tough at times."