Jenson Button says he expects the new regulations being brought into F1 to lead to an unpredictable season, although the McLaren man believes it will be the usual suspects who will be fighting for the title at the end of the year.
A raft of new regulations come into force for the new season, including the return of KERS and the introduction of an adjustable rear wing, while Pirelli also returns to the sport after the departure of Bridgestone at the end of 2010.
However, while those changes are set to spice up the racing, Button insisted that he expected it to be the fastest drivers and the fastest cars who would end up at the front.
“I definitely think we'll see more interesting races,” he told the official F1 website. “But, remember, we were sort of saying the same thing last year - that an oddly-timed safety car might mean that somebody from the midfield could end up winning the race. But that didn't happen. I think we might see more unpredictable racing - which will be great for the fans - but I still think we'll see the fastest drivers in the fastest cars ending up at the front by the chequered flag.”
Button enjoyed a solid debut season with McLaren last year having made the move from Brawn GP as defending champion, and the Briton said he felt positive about another strong year in 2011.
“Last year was a learning year for me,” he said. “That might sound strange, but it's true: it was an extremely good learning year, but my focus was still very much about getting to know the Vodafone McLaren Mercedes team, and learning how they went racing. I won two of the best races of my career and ended last season with a great race in Abu Dhabi, where I finished on the podium. Then I just dived headfirst into this year.
“I had a good break over the winter, did lots of training, and now I feel fitter and more relaxed than ever heading into the new season. Even though there were no problems fitting in last year, I really feel a lot more integrated within the team than I did at this time last year - and I think that's a big positive.”