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Button has 'more belief' in revamped McLaren

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Button has 'more belief' in revamped McLaren
By:
Feb 21, 2016, 8:59 AM

Jenson Button insists he is going into the new Formula 1 season with more belief than ever about the McLaren-Honda package, despite a difficult 2015 campaign.

McLaren MP4-31
Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button, McLaren
McLaren MP4-31
Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button, McLaren
Jenson Button, McLaren, Ron Dennis, McLaren Technology Group Chairman and CEO and Richard Mille, Chairman and CEO of Richard Mille
Jenson Button, McLaren MP4-30
Fernando Alonso, McLaren MP4-30

McLaren and Honda have worked hard to make improvements over the winter, and the fruits of their labour will hit the track on Monday when the MP4-31 tests for the first time.

And although frustrations last year made Button question whether or not he wanted to continue in F1, he has made it clear he is totally fired up for the battles ahead.

"I really can't wait to take the wheel of the new MP4-31 tomorrow," he said. "All Formula 1 drivers need a winter break, but I'm massively excited to get started on the 2016 season now, and I have to say the brand-new McLaren-Honda MP4-31 really looks the part.

"Moreover, having spent quite a bit of time at the McLaren Technology Centre recently, I can tell you that there's a huge amount of palpable positive energy there at the moment, despite the challenging yet steep learning curve we all travelled along in 2015.

"In fact, the immense amount of sheer hard work that has gone into the development of the MP4-31 over the winter makes me immensely proud, and consequently I go into the new season with even more motivation and belief."

Right direction

As well as McLaren making progress on the aerodynamic front, Honda has revised the compressor and turbo area of its car to overcome the energy recovery weaknesses that hurt it last year.

Button has faith that both parties have learned from what went wrong in 2015, and that should make for better results this time out.

"Despite the ups and downs we saw last year, there were steady improvements all year long, and that gives us confidence in the design direction we're taking," he explained.

"There are a lot of positives we can build on, and a strong platform to take forward. I'm not about to make any over-optimistic predictions – Formula 1 is far too unpredictable for me to do that – but, from what I've seen so far, the aero detailing on the car looks fantastic, and I'm really looking forward to beginning the process of testing those new innovations when I get behind the wheel tomorrow."

Alonso excited

Although there have been suggestions that a lacklustre campaign could lead to Fernando Alonso turning his back on F1, the Spaniard says he is only upbeat about what is coming.

"The start of a new season is always a special feeling, characterised by a lot of anticipation for the year ahead. This year is no different: I'm excited and raring to go," said the Spaniard.

"Last year the spotlight was very much on McLaren-Honda as we embarked on the first year of our renewed partnership. It was a tricky season for all of us, but we learned a hell of a lot."

He added: "The aero package shows fantastic attention to detail. The whole car is beautiful in fact – it's particularly nicely packaged from an aerodynamic point of view as I say – and I'm 100 per cent ready for the challenge ahead."

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McLaren launches its 2016 car, the MP4-31

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McLaren launches its 2016 car, the MP4-31

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