Jenson Button says he is eager to use the Bahrain Grand Prix to prove the McLaren MP4-31 package is a competitive step forward over its predecessor after a difficult start to the year in Australia.
Though McLaren's efforts were headlined by Fernando Alonso's huge airborne shunt during the race in Melbourne – which has necessitated a chassis rebuild and a new Honda engine -, Button laboured to a finish outside the points in 13th.
However, the former champion maintains the result on paper was indicative of the tyre compound strategic 'misjudgements' made and it not a reflection on the performance of the car itself, which he says is an improvement on the MP4-30.
“I'm really keen to get back behind the wheel, as, although it didn't show in our results from Australia, our package felt very good to drive,” he said. “The team worked really hard to bring a step forward in driveability from testing to the first race.”
Indeed, even though Button admits the Bahrain International Circuit represents a challenge for the MP4-31 package, he feels the team has a decent platform to progress from.
“Bahrain is definitely a tricky track for us as it's high-speed, but we have a solid platform and improved deployment, so there are some positives to look forward to.”
“We made a couple of misjudgements on the strategy side in Melbourne, but it's all part of the learning curve with the new tyre compound rules. Together with the engineers we've studied the data and hopefully we can make some good calls in Bahrain, pull together the various stages of the race and achieve a more representative result.”
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