Jenson Button says he is hopeful of a strong partnership with Sergio Perez for the 2013 F1 season and beyond.
The pair will join forces at McLaren after the departure of Lewis Hamilton to Mercedes, with the young Mexican selected as his replacement on the back of an impressive 2012 campaign that saw him take three podium finishes for Sauber.
The signing of Perez leaves Button as the senior driver in the McLaren team and he said he was looking forward to working with his new team-mate during the season ahead.
“I had three fantastic seasons racing alongside Lewis, but nothing stays the same in Formula 1 and people move on,” he said in an interview on the official McLaren website. “It's always interesting to have a new team-mate – there's that inevitable getting-to-know-you period when you're settling in, but I'm really pleased to have Checo at Vodafone McLaren Mercedes. We all saw what he was capable of doing behind the wheel of a Sauber last year and I think he's a very good addition to this team.
“The most important thing is that you have a good working relationship, that you can share ideas and information freely and that you're working together with the engineers for the good of the team. That's never been an issue at Vodafone McLaren Mercedes and I think we're going to work well together – Checo may only be 22, but he's very sensible and he knows what's needed to get the most from the car, so I predict it'll be a very strong partnership.”
Button added that he expected the season ahead to be another closely-fought campaign due to the fact that there haven't been any major changes to the regulations, while he also insisted that teams would benefit from a better understanding of the Pirelli tyres.
“I think all the teams will go into this season feeling more assured about the Pirelli tyres,” he said. “As you know, last year was a bit of an unknown as we all got to grips with the new rubber, but that's less likely to happen this time around, so there's more stability there. There are differences to the tyres – the shape and the compounds, but I don't think they'll be as fundamental to the overall car performance as they were last year.
“In terms of regulations, yes there is some stability, so I expect most teams will have continued to refine their car package over the winter. It's always really interesting to see how the cars develop during a period of rules stability, because you watch the progress from year to year as the engineers refine and improve their thinking and ideas. You can literally see how the car has improved from season to season. It's crazy.
“I hope there's stability for another reason, too: I won the last race of 2012 so it would be perfect to win the first race of 2013!”