Lewis Hamilton says he is confident of a stronger showing from his McLaren team during the 2012 F1 season as the Briton looks to take the fight to Red Bull and defending champion Sebastian Vettel.
Hamilton endured a difficult 2011 campaign as, despite three victories, he was unable to challenge for the championship crown and suffered a series of set-backs both on and off track over the course of the campaign.
Having suffered a raft of problems with the MP4-26 prior to the start of 2011, McLaren will now hope there is no repeat when the new MP4-27 hits the track for the first time in pre-season testing next month – with Hamilton confident it can be the car to take the fight to Red Bull.
"It will be up to us to be able to surpass it [the new Red Bull]," he told Gazzetta dello Sport
"From what I've seen, however, the new McLaren seems a lot better than last year's.
"Basically, the Red Bull is an evolution of the aerodynamic concepts introduced in 2009. Midway through 2011 it was phenomenal, it was at the highest level and on top of that it almost never broke down. By contrast, when we had the same reliability, we lacked the same performance."
Hamilton added that he was keen to try and hit the ground running when the new season gets underway in Melbourne to ensure that he doesn't find himself playing catch-up in the title race.
"During the winter you always dream of arriving at the start of the season with a car that goes quick immediately," he said. "This hasn't happened in the last two seasons. I want it to happen this year. If we start well, we'll stay at the top more easily."