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Button rates new McLaren

2012-02-08 08:46

JEREZ TEST: Jenson Button is hoping McLaren will have a better season in 2012 than the previous year. Here he was testing one of the team's new cars in Jerez, Spain. Image: AFP

Jerez, Spain - Jenson Button said after the first day of 2012 Formula 1 testing in Jerez that the new McLarens were everything the 2011 cars were not .    .

In 2011 McLaren turned up at Jerez to give its new MP4-26 its first test run. It proved barely capable of stringing laps together as well as being way off the pace, with a complicated 'octopus-like' exhaust system that was soon jettisoned.

Button and team mate Lewis Hamilton spent the early part of the that season playing catch-up to Red Bull but ended up with three wins apiece while Sebastian Vettel romped to his second championship with 11 victories.


Although McLaren has taken a different design path to other teams for 2012 in response to regulation changes, it was confident at last week's MP4-27 launch that there would be no repeat of last February's misery. Button, for instance, said:

"What a beautiful day. Lovely. It's been a good day. This morning we did our installation and system checks which probably took a bit longer than I would have wished but, apart from that, the running's been good.

"There are no niggly areas with the car, which is nice. Quite different to last year. So I'm happy. I'm very happy in the car. I'm in a good position. I'm really low, which I always like, trying to get as low as possible, with the way that the car is.

"I'm much lower than last year. I can just about see out, which I love. I love that position, well inside the car - I feel I'm part of it. And some promising times. But we don't know where we stand and won't until the first race."

The season will start in Melbourne, Australia, on March 18.


Button completed 60 laps, including a 15-lap run, with the eighth-fastest time. He said the car looked like a good base for improvements in the next few days.

"There's obviously work we need to do to improve it, but it feels right, which is good. The front wheels are on the front, the rear wheels are on the back, it feels like it's going in the right direction and when you turn right, it goes right. Sometimes that hasn't been the case."

Asked whether he had been at all concerned that McLaren's army of technical experts might have dropped the ball, with the other new cars looking so different with their 'ugly' dropped noses, Button was relaxed. He said he had been warned that others would follow that path, although perhaps not all of them, but McLaren was confident it had competitive cars and the early signs were certainly promising.

"It does feel very different to testing last year, which is a good thing really because it's not like we can stick on an exhaust that will give us two seconds at the first race. The regulations are very different so I think the cars will be a lot more bunched-up this season, especially at the start of the year and when racing gets under way."

Button was to continue testing on Wednesday before handing over to 2008 champion Hamilton for the last two days.

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