David Coulthard is backing Jenson Button and McLaren to 'bounce back' next season after a dismal 2013.
McLaren opted to go radical this year with the MP4-28 and to say it backfired, is probably being kind, with the team going from winning seven races in 2012, to failing to even get a rostrum – something that hadn't happened to the Woking-based outfit since 1980.
Coulthard has no doubt though that McLaren will do better next year, and firmly rejected suggestions Button is anyway 'over the hill'.
“There is no question in my mind that Jenson Button still has it. He is 33, one of the fittest drivers on the grid, and as soon as he had a sniff of a result – such as in Brazil on Sunday – he was right on his game,” the former F1 winner told British newspaper, The Daily Telegraph
this week. “It must have affected his motivation this year with McLaren faltering so badly. But McLaren are a mighty team, they have a great facility and pots of money. Both they, and JB, can bounce back.
“It will be fascinating to see how Jenson fares against the rookie Kevin Magnussen [too]. Who is to say that the 2014 regs might not suit youngsters such as Magnussen or Toro Rosso's 19-year-old Dany Kvyat?”
Meanwhile, DC also reckons the new partnership of Fernando Alonso and Kimi Raikkonen at Ferrari will be one to watch, although he doesn't think the 'ice-man' will get one over on his Spanish team-mate.
“Everyone in the paddock is looking forward to this contest. My hunch is that Fernando will have too much over the course of the season. He is embedded in Ferrari, speaks Italian and has no weaknesses as a driver,” Coulthard explained.
“That said, he did tie on points with Lewis [Hamilton] during their season together at McLaren and lost his cool in the process. Kimi does not do the political stuff so I don't think this relationship will be as volatile. I expect Fernando to prevail.”