31 January 2013
McLaren: Button one of the very fastest drivers
Martin Whitmarsh: Jenson is driving better than ever...
McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh is confident Jenson Button will be able to step up and really deliver this season.
Button will effectively assume the role of lead driver this year, following Lewis Hamilton's decision to move to Mercedes, and following the arrival of the relatively inexperienced, but highly rated, Sergio Perez.
Hamilton's defection is viewed as a major loss by those in the know, but Whitmarsh is adamant his two drivers can get the job done, and that the post-Lewis era will be fruitful.
“For 2013, of course, we go racing to win. With Jenson and Checo, and this fantastic-looking new car, I believe we're extremely well prepared for another competitive season,” Whitmarsh commented at the launch of the team's 2013 F1 car, the new MP4-28 on Thursday.
“Jenson is driving better than ever – he's the most experienced driver in F1, but he makes every ounce of that experience count: he's peerless in his ability to read a race and one of the very fastest drivers out there. He's a consummate professional, too, and will revel in working hard to drive this team through the year.
“Checo joins us after a sensational 2012 season and he's immediately proved that he's intelligent, modest, hard-working and, make no mistake; very, very quick. Of course, there'll be a learning curve to overcome as he gets used to our organisation, particularly during the hustle and bustle of the early-season race weekends, but he understands that we are placing no pressure on him.
“This is an exciting time for the whole team.”
McLaren will celebrate its 50th anniversary this year and Whitmarsh added that he was keen for the squad to 'underline' why it is one of the 'finest grand prix teams in the world'.
He conceded however, that the legacy and the team's prior successes, does create a weight of expectation.
“The launch of a new F1 car is always an exciting and slightly nerve-wracking occasion. Today's parade of some of our greatest and most significant cars was a thrilling way to kick off our 50th anniversary celebrations and also our 2013 campaign – but it's a reminder of the tremendous responsibility everyone within the McLaren Technology Centre shares to uphold the legacy began by Bruce McLaren and taken on by Teddy Mayer and Ron Dennis,” he continued.
“It's fully appropriate that the echoes of the past should be made to reverberate around the glass walls of a thoroughly modern building like the McLaren Technology Centre.
“Equally, however, we've never lost sight of the fact that we'll always be linked to that fearless band of enterprising pioneers who came together to form Bruce McLaren Motor Racing Ltd in the autumn of 1963. Like Bruce and his closest friends, we still have the belief that we can go out into the world, risk everything and emerge victorious. That, ultimately, is the spirit that drives this organisation,” Whitmarsh concluded.
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