31 January 2013
Perez and Button both look for title with new car
McLaren's 2013 driver line-up of Sergio Perez and Jenson Button was all smiles at the Woking launch of the MP4-28, but some unscripted banter made you wonder how long it will last...
Jenson Button and Sergio Perez looked the perfect team mates on Thursday morning at the McLaren Technology Centre as they worked together to reveal the new MP4-28 car, but some questioning by event host Natalie Pinkham suggested that there could be bumps in the road ahead for the new pairing.
"I want to win the championship," said Perez when asked by Pinkham what his target was for his first season at McLaren. "That's my target, once you come to the best team, it has to be your target. It's a very big target to do.
"I want to work together with Jenson [and] with the team [to achieve this]," the 23-year-old from Mexico City added.
"But you can't do both - you can't work together with him and be his pal, and [beat him to] win the world championship. Just a thought!" prodded Pinkham, jokingly adding that "I might step back a bit at this stage!" in case a fight should happen to break out between the two.
"You love mixing it up, don't you?" the media-savvy Button laughed at Pinkham's light-hearted provocation, while Perez rode out the unexpectedly tough moment at the launch with just a smile.
"Yes, we can," Perez finally insisted at the close of the live event. "Why not - we can work together!"
Earlier in the session, Perez had already suggested that he'd been putting in all the pre-season development work since joining the team earlier in January, while Button was still in holiday mode. But Jenson was quick to counter such suggestions, saying that the new car was the result of "a lot of hard work from the guys over the winter - and me, of course, but in different ways!"
Button described the new car's unveiling as a particularly thrilling moment of the entire season as far as he was concerned. "It's always exciting, especially when you think you have a good possibility to fight for world championships," he said.
Even so, neither the drivers nor the team yet know how the car will actually perform in reality when it finally gets out on track for the first time next week at the first official four-day F1 pre-season test session at the Circuit de Jerez in Barcelona, Spain.
"Tuesday's a big day for us, when we first get to drive the car, run through all the system checks, do the reliability work. It's always exciting for a driver," explained Button. "Whether it tells you the car is good enough to fight for wins or not, we'll have to wait and see, but it's a day I'm very much looking forward to."
Inevitably, the new MP4-28 looks very much like its predecessor - even more than the new Lotus E21 did when it was unveiled on Monday, which did at least have some livery changes.
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