Jenson Button has said that, after learning the ropes at McLaren last season, he is ready to make a start on the 2011 campaign with a second F1 world championship firmly in mind.
Speaking during the unveiling of the MP4-26 on the streets of Berlin, the Briton admitted that, despite being successful almost immediately with his new team last season, he had had a lot to learn while driving a car that was not really to his liking. With a year of getting to know the set-up, and months of being able to add his thoughts to the design process of the 2011 challenger, he is a lot more confident that year two could be even better.
“It's strange to think that this is only the start of my second season at Vodafone McLaren Mercedes, because I've felt so comfortable since joining the team last January," he noted, "Even so, I'd still consider 2010 something of a building year, albeit, with two victories, a pretty solid one!
"For the new season, I've not only got a year's McLaren experience under my belt, but I've also been able to offer input into the design and development of the new car – something that I was naturally unable to do last year. Now I really feel I know how McLaren goes racing, and I'll be driving a car that's been fully developed around Lewis and myself – that's a very empowering feeling."
The Woking team continues with an unchanged driver pairing - the only one featuring two world champions in the same car - and, having helped McLaren to a total of five race wins, three 1-2 results and second overall in the constructors' championship, Button is confident that the MP4-26 - now equipped with KERS, adjustable rear wing and Pirelli tyres as per the 2011 regulations - can be a contender for honours along with expected rivals Red Bull and Ferrari.
“I'm really looking forward to getting to drive the new car for the first time," he enthused, "Our pre-season simulations suggests that the new Pirelli tyres should be well-suited to my particular driving style, so I'm hopeful of being able to derive a good advantage from the tyres during the races.
“Today really marks the beginning of our 2011 season after what seems a very long time away from the track. It's been a really exciting event for all the fans who attended, but now I can't wait to get behind the wheel of MP4-26 next week.”