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F1 Australian GP: Button sure McLaren ‘won’t be hanging off the back’

Though he maintains there is 'still a long way to go' to make McLaren-Honda competitive, Jenson Button hints at better in 2016.
Jenson Button has expressed his confidence that McLaren is not destined for another desperate Formula 1 campaign ahead of the 2016 season, but stopped short of putting a target to his name.

Button and team-mate Fernando Alonso suffered a dismal 2015 campaign as part of McLaren's new collaboration with Honda, with poor performance and reliability consigning the team to its worst F1 season in more than 30 years.

With a concerted effort over the winter to bring the new Honda-powered MP4-31 package up to competitive pace, though pre-season testing drew few firm conclusions as to where McLaren will be placed come the Australian Grand Prix, the consensus is it will feature further up the order.

Indeed, Button is optimistic he won't be 'hanging off the back' in 2016, but admits there is still some way to go before the car – particularly the power unit – is up to par with the front runners.

“I'm hoping we won't be hanging off the back but there's still a lot of work before I feel that we are properly competitive,” he said. “There's still a lot of work needed to find a set-up that really works for us because we're not there. So a lot of work still needed.”

“I have no targets. My only target is to push, to give it our all, give our maximum and we'll see what the results are. There's never a positive of me setting a target right now because as a positive person you're always going to target higher than possibly maybe you can achieve, and then you just get knocked down by other people, so it's not worth it.”

Having been forced out in Q1 on several occasions last year, with full deployment available to him now, Button feels McLaren can expect more fortune in qualifying, even with the new format.

“In qualifying there was probably 0.1s or 0.2s because we couldn't deploy even through a qualifying lap for the whole lap. Now we can easily, so it's a good amount but there's still a lot more we need to do to really be competitive in every area - with the power unit, with the car itself aerodynamically we've still got a long way to go until we're properly competitive.”


by Ollie Barstow



Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Jenson Button (GBR) McLaren MP4-31. 04.03.2016.
Jenson Button (GBR) McLaren MP4-31. 04.03.2016.
Jenson Button (GBR) McLaren MP4-31. 04.03.2016.
Jenson Button (GBR) McLaren Honda MP4-31
Jenson Button (GBR) McLaren MP4-31. 04.03.2016.
Jenson Button (GBR) McLaren MP4-31. 04.03.2016.
29.09.2016 - Sebastian Vettel (GER) Scuderia Ferrari SF16-H
29.09.2016 - Daniel Ricciardo (AUS) Red Bull Racing RB12
29.09.2016 - Daniil Kvyat (RUS) Scuderia Toro Rosso STR11
29.09.2016 - Daniil Kvyat (RUS) Scuderia Toro Rosso STR11
29.09.2016 - Max Verstappen (NED) Red Bull Racing RB12
29.09.2016 - Eric Boullier (FRA) McLaren Racing Director
29.09.2016 - Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid and Jean Alesi (FRA)
29.09.2016 - Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid
29.09.2016 - Press conference, (L-R) Esteban Ocon (FRA) Manor Racing MRT05, Nico Hulkenberg (GER) Sahara Force India F1 VJM09, Daniil Kvyat (RUS) Scuderia Toro Rosso STR11, Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid, Jenson Button (GBR)  McLaren Honda MP4-31 and Felipe Massa (BRA) Williams FW38
29.09.2016 - Press conference, Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid and Jenson Button (GBR)  McLaren Honda MP4-31
29.09.2016 - Kevin Magnussen (DEN) Renault Sport F1 Team RS16
29.09.2016 - Kevin Magnussen (DEN) Renault Sport F1 Team RS16

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DoubleApex

March 11, 2016 10:58 AM

Cont - Alonso wants Mercedes but realistically they won't want him, he causes to much drama and negativity and if Toto doesn't like the current Hamilton - Rosberg situation then he won't put himself into the fire of a Hamilton-Alonso scrap, especially if Mercedes gets a closer fight with Ferrari, that will start to look very similar to 07-08. All in all McLaren need to deliver this year or face the next few years treading water.

DoubleApex

March 11, 2016 10:58 AM
Last Edited 102 days ago

Let's face it, McLaren need 4th in this years Championship. Otherwise the Honda-McLaren partnership has been a massive failure, Alonso wont stay and button might sneak another year in but with a pay cut. Yes the first year was always going to be difficult with Honda coming so late into the process but to have two ex World Champions and the resources McLaren have and their experience as well, not getting 4th in the championship is not good enough. This is an important year for McLaren-Alonso relationship, the team Alonso loved and won 2 world championships with has just returned and is stronger that the McLaren Honda package (at the moment) and there is a seat there next year with Palmer and KMag on 1 year deals. Tempting isn't it, Stay with McLaren in 2017, with a smaller budget in the hope it gets better. Or rejoin the Renault team, of which they made history together, whilst it invests millions into making them competitive enough to win titles and attracting key staff.......



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