Jenson Button has described the 2012 season as the worst of the three he has spent with the McLaren team, claiming that the MP4-27 doesn't suit him as well as previous cars.
The Briton, who championship hopes died after he was forced to retire from the Korean Grand Prix following a collision with Kamui Kobayashi, finished fourth in the most race, in Abu Dhabi, but admits that the entire year has been a struggle. Despite winning the opening round in Australia, and adding a further victory in Belgium, Button suffered a slump in form through the middle of the season, adding just six points in the six rounds from Bahrain to Silverstone, before his record picked up again.
"This car hasn't suited me as well as McLaren's last two," he admitted to Britain's Guardian
newspaper, "Since I've been here, this has been the worst year. It's been tricky, even on good weekends. We've had a problem pretty much every weekend, lately. We need to stop it. I don't get it. The car is quite unusual in the way that it works. It works really well for Lewis, and works really well for me at times, but the consistency isn't there.
"The [Abu Dhabi] weekend was weird. Friday was good, Saturday morning was good, but qualifying and the race wasn't amazing. It wasn't horrendous, but it wasn't amazing. We've got to try a few new things with the set-up, [as] I'm not happy with where it is at the moment. Hopefully next year will be perfect."
With two races remaining, in the USA and Brazil, the 32-year old sits sixth in the standings, 99 points adrift of overall leader Sebastian Vettel. Even with two victories to end the year, his 153-point haul isn't going to expand enough to match either the 214- and 270-point totals he amassed in his first two years with McLaren. However, more importantly for both Button and team-mate Lewis Hamilton - who leaves for Mercedes at the end of the season, McLaren's chance of snatching second spot in the constructors' championship is also fading.
"Next year is exciting, but we've still got two races where we want to do well in," Button insisted, "We still want to get Ferrari in the constructors' [standings], but [the gap is] 22 points now, which is quite big. We need some good points in the next two [races]."