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2013-04-12 10:05

A DUD OR MERELY UNTAPPED POTENTIAL? Jenson Button believes McLaren has yet to tap into the true potential of its 2013 F1 car. Image – AFP

ALAN BALDWIKN

SHANGHAI, China - McLaren's Jenson Button reckons his team can make up lost ground because its cars have more development potential than their rivals.

The 2009 World champion and his Mexican team mate Sergio Perez have each scored only two points from the first two races of the 19-round 2013 season, 38 fewer than Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel.

'IT HURT US A LOT'

Button told reporters ahead of the 2013 Shanghai F1 GP that he was confident McLaren still had everything to fight for despite the setback: "It was so easy for people after Melbourne to say we should go (back) to the 2012 car. It's really difficult not to think like that because in the last few races of the year we were quickest.

"What we have done with the car is the right thing. It has hurt us a lot, especially at the first race, and it might still in China and in Bahrain, but the idea was always to have a car that we could develop through the season and we felt that at the end of 2012 we were at the end of everything with that year's car."

The regulations are largely the same as 2012 and McLaren had a choice between a simple evolution for 2013 or a complete redesign. The team opted for the latter.

Button said: "The one thing that surprised us was that nobody else took our route. We expected all the top teams to do the same thing so we didn't think we would have lost anything at the first race.

"We thought that the smaller teams would probably keep the same tub (chassis), go the same direction and just slightly improve through the winter and they would be competitive at first."

Button said that if McLaren could turn it around and be challenging at the front in the next few races then it would augur very well for the rest of the season because of the potential to be unlocked in their car compared to others.

Stay with Wheels24 for the 2013 Formula 1 season – fresh reports every day.
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