Button upbeat despite problems


Published: Monday 2nd February 2015 by The News Editor

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Jenson Button completed a miserable six laps on the first day at the wheel of his new McLaren and was subjected to a dope test immediately afterwards, but he still conceded to feeling “like a kid in a candy shop”.

It would be easy to suggest Button’s remark was based on the fact he remains in work bearing in mind three months ago he did not know if he had a future in Formula One given Ron Dennis’ dithering over his line-up.

Instead, Button is clearly excited by the potential of McLaren’s new partnership with Honda as power-unit partner, despite the teething problems so far endured by the Japanese manufacturer.

Like new team-mate Fernando Alonso on the opening day of the first pre-season test in Jerez on Sunday, Button primarily stood around waiting whilst Honda’s engineers attempted to solve issues.

Honda are a year behind in terms of development of the tricky system compared to rivals Mercedes, Ferrari and Renault, the latter supplier to Red Bull who completed just 21 laps over the four days a year ago at the same venue.

Button, though, has no doubt the McLaren-Honda partnership will bear fruit as he said: “It’s not the easiest start to the season, but then we always knew the first test would be difficult.

“It’s not about sticking an engine in the car and powering around, this is a very complex system.

“We’ve had a few niggly things we’ve been able to solve, and tomorrow and Wednesday we will see where we stand.

“So there’s no reason for my spirits not to be high. I’m with a great team, a great partnership, and there’s a lot to look forward to.

“I’m not going to give you positions where we think we will finish at certain races, or the championship, because I don’t know. None of us know.

“All I can say is the whole team have done a great job to get the car here for the first test, and if you look at the car itself, in lots of areas it is a step forward from last year’s car.

“It looks good in many ways in terms of packaging, the engine, it’s great, fantastic, s o we’ve got a lot of things right at the start of the year, and now it’s just about putting mileage on it.

“To be honest I felt like a kid in a candy shop again getting in the car, but it was for different reasons, not because I thought I might not be racing in Formula One.

“It’s more because of what I have underneath me in terms of how good a job the guys have done and in working with Honda again.”

Understandably, Button highlighted Red Bull’s issues in testing last year followed by a remarkable turnaround as Daniel Ricciardo finished second in the season-opener, even if later disqualified, as to what can be achieved.

“That shows a lot can happen,” added Button.

“Obviously we want to put in as many laps as we can and learn as much as possible, putting mileage on the parts and getting experience for us all with the new power unit.

“Hopefully we’ll then get to the first race and be competitive.”

As on the first day, four-times champion Sebastian Vettel was fastest for new team Ferrari, and impressively so as his time was 1.7 seconds up on his best of Sunday, earning a round of applause from all within the team come the conclusion.

Rookie Felipe Nasr took over the Sauber, and like Marcus Ericsson on his first outing on Sunday, was second best behind Vettel.

Williams’ Valtteri Bottas was third on the timesheet followed by reigning champion Lewis Hamilton in his Mercedes.

Hamilton was on course to better team-mate Nico Rosberg’s 157 laps from day one until encountering a water leak three hours from the end, finishing with 91 laps, still more than any of his rivals.

“The car feels very similar to last year, but I got in a good amount of laps, a good feel for the car, so overall the day was good,” said Hamilton.

On his Toro Rosso debut Max Verstappen was fifth quickest, followed by Lotus’ Pastor Maldonado, the team finally on track after missing the first day due to the late build of their car.

Button was seventh, but with an irrelevant time, albeit at least ahead of Red Bull’s Daniil Kvyat as the Russian failed to stop the clock at any stage.

Kvyat damaged the front wing of his car early on, and without a spare was forced to conduct a number of installation laps for system checks.

Published: Monday 2nd February 2015 by The News Editor

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