Jenson Button believes McLaren-Honda is now well placed to make a concerted effort in introducing more power to the MP4-31 since he believes it has finally cracked its reliability woes.

The 2009 F1 World Champion finished outside the points at the Australian Grand Prix - while his team-mate Fernando Alonso suffered a spectacular high-speed accident -, but both drivers noted a good step up in performance from the MP4-31 compared with its predecessor.

Significantly, the car was reliable throughout the weekend, addressing the MP4-30's main flaw, while improvements in deployment have also boosted performance.

Indeed, though Button admits there is still big steps to make in this area, he feels a reliable platform means McLaren and Honda have an opportunity now to make good gains.

"The engine is definitely an improvement, but there's still a lot we need to do before we are properly competitive," he said. "In terms of deployment it's a big step forward but it brings us pretty close to other manufacturers. In terms of power we've still got a long way to go but also in terms of aerodynamics of the car we've still got a long way to go.

"There's a lot of room for improvement and a lot of work in the pipeline. The important thing now is that we have reliability with the power unit so we can develop a lot faster, which is good to see.

"Aerodynamically we've had some improvements from winter to now but still there's more needed and we're pushing very hard to bring more downforce to every race, not just downforce but useable downforce."

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