JEREZ, Spain - Jenson Button is far from knowing the true potential of the new McLaren car after power unit problems blighted the first two days of pre-season testing. Button and his new team mate Fernando Alonso managed only six laps each.
SEDATE TESTING: Jenson Button drives his McLaren during testing in Spain. Not a good time for the team... Image: AP / Miguel Morenatti
By comparison, Mercedes completed 248 laps over two days and Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel clocked 89 laps as he again posted the best time on Monday.
McLaren has switched to Honda engines - rekindling the highly successful partnership of the late 1980s and 1990s - but Button expects a tough challenge leading up to the season-opener in Australia on March 15. He said: "I hope we'll get to the first race and we'll be competitive but we don't know where we stand right now. In terms of understanding our performance, we're still at zero. We don't know where we are."
McLaren's strong driver pairing promises much - considering Alonso has won two F1 titles - but Button is steering clear of predictions. "I haven't even driven the car at full speed (yet) so I don't really know. I could pick a number or position out of a hat but it would mean nothing. The team's problems here on the southern Spanish circuit of Jerez follow on from McLaren's difficulties in testing in the two days following the Abu Dhabi GP in late November 2014.
"We're not going to set the world alight with lap times or laps of the circuit."
"Not the easiest start to the season but we know it's a very complicated power unit," Button said. "In terms of the problems we had today (on Monday), we have our head around it and understand the issue."
He would not say what that was.
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