jueves, 31 de enero de 2013

Formula 1 star Jenson Button is confident of new McLaren - NEWS.com.au

McLaren drivers Jenson Button, left, and Sergio Perez, right, pose with the newly unveiled MP4-2 at McLaren Technology Centre in Woking, England. Picture: AP Source: AP

JENSON Button oozed confidence when McLaren became the second Formula One team to unveil their 2013 challenger.

McLaren yesterday held the public launch of the Mercedes-powered MP4-2.

McLaren finished the 2012 season in third place in the constructors' championship behind Red Bull and Ferrari, despite scoring as many victories as the world champion squad with seven.

"It is exactly the same colour scheme and I think it looks similar to last year, but it is completely different to last year under the skin," Button said. "And that's good for all of us."

He said he was also confident of adding to the single pole position he has gained in his three years with the team since winning the drivers title with the Brawn outfit in 2009.

"There have been some changes to the Pirelli tyres and they are going to suit me better," he explained. "I am happy about that."

Team boss Martin Whitmarsh said he was confident that McLaren will start 2013 in even stronger shape than it ended last year, when it won the final two grands prix in America and Brazil.

"We finished last year with undoubtedly the quickest car," he said.

"We could have continued to develop that car and found some performance.

"In changing things you inevitably step back, but this car is already quicker than the car we finished last year with. In all that we are looking at, this car is responding very well.

"We had a detailed technical review yesterday and you cannot help coming out of this thinking we have a competitive car.

"Our competitors are off the radar screen and you cannot rule out them having a Eureka moment, but we are pleased with where we are with this car today and this car will look different before the season."

Button has a new team mate for 2013 in Mexican Sergio Perez, who signed from Sauber to replace fellow-Briton and world champion Lewis Hamilton who has moved to Mercedes.

Last year the MP4-27 was not reliable enough to carry Button and Hamilton into title contention despite a rash of victories.

This year he hopes that will change with him fighting for front row starts.

"Qualifying at times last year was not good at all. I still go back to it being the issue that I have had in my career in terms of getting my tyres working and in the working range," he said.

"I don't know why that is - I must drive differently to everyone else on the grid. We have learned a lot from last season and we have made steps forward.

"We also have a tyre in 2013 that does help me. It has a much wider working range so I am not fearful of those issues again. We start the season with a clean slate and fighting for pole position at each race and fighting for a win at each race."

Button also feels he has been able to lead McLaren's development direction towards his driving style this season.

"The feelings I got last year and the development curve and direction we went in last year is good for my style," he said.

"I had some issues through the season and the great thing with McLaren is they listen to what drivers say.

"We know the regulations haven't changed much since 2012 but it's enough to make a difference."

Team boss Martin Whitmarsh also made clear that much-sought technical director Paddy Lowe would be staying with McLaren in 2013, but could be moving on afterwards.

He said: "One certainty is that Paddy will be part of the team for another year. It's less certain beyond that. That is something that we will have some certainty on in the near future."

Lowe has been linked with a move to join Hamilton at Mercedes.

The new MP4-28 will take to the track for the first time next week in testing at Jerez. The season opens in Melbourne with the Australian Grand Prix on March 17.

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