Jenson Button says the involvement of Yusuke Hasegawa can only move the McLaren-Honda F1 programme forward after a year of frustration in 2015.
Hasegawa replaced Yasuhisa Arai at the start of the season, with the former Honda F1 head rapidly approaching the company's mandatory retirement age, and Button - who, along with team-mate Fernando Alonso, continued to put a brave face on the team's struggles last year - expects the , with whom he worked at Honda's factory F1 team a decade ago, to have a positive effect.
"We worked together back in the Noughties, ten years ago, and he's a great character," the 2009 world champion noted, "He's a very strong personality, perfect English, interacts with everyone in the team - the chassis engineers, mechanics. He's very good for this partnership."
Honda's 2015 V6, its first venture into the new F1 turbo era, bore the brunt of criticism as McLaren tumbled down the grid, unable to summon either power or reliability, but Button is confident that, with the combination of Hasegawa's arrival and a winter of development, the Japanese giant can begin turning things around in 2016.
"[The partnership] is night and day," the Briton confirmed, "There's a very good understanding now. When I speak to the engine engineers, they have a very good grasp of where I'm coming from. They're fantastic engineers, they speak good English - and did last year - but it's working with an F1 driver that's pretty new to most of them.
Button finished 14th in last weekend's Australian Grand Prix after his tyre strategy was derailed by a red flag, ironically caused by team-mate Alonso barrel-rolling over Haas' returnee Esteban Gutierrez on lap 17. The new MP4-31 remained amongst the slowest through the speed traps in qualifying, but both drivers made it through to Q2 - something that eluded them on a regular basis in 2015, and Button is optimistic for the future.
"There's a good relationship now," he concluded, "I'm very happy with the people we work with here at the circuit. Under pressure, they're very good as well, which was obviously an issue in the early days with very little experience. They've learnt a lot over the last season."