Jenson Button's mindset has swung from frustration to optimism in the space of a few weeks following the confirmation that Ross Brawn was taking the helm at Honda's F1 team from next season.

While not going as far as predicting immediate success - probably wise given that the former Ferrari technical director won't have time to influence next year's car - Button insists that 2009 could be a different matter.

"We could be challenging to win races in 2009 - and also challenging for the championship," he told the BBC's Radio Five Live station, "I think we have some real technical direction with Ross Brawn in the team."

Brawn's arrival was confirmed three weeks ago, after talks with Ferrari about a return to Maranello broke down. Given free rein over the design and running of the F1 car from the moment he arrives, Brawn is expected to be able to turn around the fortunes of a team that managed only six points in 2007 - all from Button - and struggled to match some lesser midfield operations despite having the weight of Honda behind it. Button described the RA107 as a 'dog' and threatened to seek alternative employment - even outside F1 - if his chances did not improve.

"Last season was very frustrating," he admitted, "But, towards the end, we realised what our issues were and we put them right, not just in terms of improving the car, but also in terms of personnel. We were lacking some quality aerodynamicists, but we have them now, and they have come in with some great ideas. I think we can achieve a lot in the future and we are all going to work very hard.

"When I heard Ross was going to become part of the team I was so, so happy. It is one of the best things that could happen to the team and it really shows Honda's focus to achieve for them to employ someone with so much talent. Michael Schumacher said Ross is the 'super-brain' of F1 so, if he cannot help us win a championship, then we do not deserve to be here."

Button, who will represent England in next weekend's Race of Champions at Wembley Stadium, wasn't allowing himself to get too carried away, however.

"I think we will make a good step forward in 2008 from last year - although that isn't really that hard," he acknowledged, "but we are not going to be winning races and I don't want people to think that because it is not the case. The important thing is to start with a good car and improve every race to get closer to Ferrari and McLaren, and Ross is a big part of that. If we have a competitive car by the end of next season, then I will be very happy for 2008."

 

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