Jenson Button is eager to get the 2015 Formula 1 season underway this weekend in Australia despite suffering numerous problems with the McLaren-Honda MP4/30 during pre-season testing.
After months of rumours at the back end of 2014 about whether or not he would be retaining his McLaren drive for 2015, Button feels excited to be back at circuit he has won at three times and is ready for the new season.
“I’m so excited to be back in Melbourne,” expressed Button. “After the ups and downs of 2014, I feel that the challenge of 2015 is a completely new chapter in my career and I’m totally up for it. Albert Park is the perfect place for the season-opener.”
Looking ahead to the race, Button knows from past experience that Melbourne will be a big learning curve, not just for McLaren but also for the rest of the grid as they look to reveal the true potential of their 2015 packages for the first time.
“Melbourne is always a fascinating spectacle,” insisted Button. “Nobody quite knows where they’ll be in comparison to their rivals, and even though the other teams are now in the second year of the turbo era, all of the development from last year has been done very much behind the scenes, so I don’t think anyone has quite shown their full hand yet.
“The race at Albert Park will be a huge learning curve for us, but I’ll be working flat-out with my engineers to get the car set up as best we can, and together, we’ll fight right until the last moment to get the most out of the weekend.”
Despite the disappointing pre-season tests, Button feels that the MP4/30 has shown signs of progress, and has ever faith in the ability of the team and in Honda to turn things around sooner rather than later.
“While we know the city and the circuit well, what is more of an unknown is how we will fare in the MP4-30,” said Button. “McLaren-Honda has been working incredibly hard over the winter, and although we would of course have liked to cover more miles in Jerez and Barcelona, I can definitely see a difference in the car from the first day to the last.
“The team’s commitment to development and improvement, both in Woking and in Japan, is astonishing, and despite some tricky days in testing, we are seeing definitive progress. The car is a solid base which gives me optimism that we will get there, we just need patience.”
Button is disappointed to see confirmed 2015 team-mate Fernando Alonso missing from the Grand Prix this weekend, and wishes his team-mate a quick recovery, but believes Kevin Magnussen is more than an able replacement.
“Fernando not being able to race is a real shame and I hope he makes a speedy recovery so that he can get behind the wheel again very soon,” said Button.
“It’s great to see Kevin back in the car though and I’ll know he’ll do a great job in Fernando’s absence, so I wish him well this weekend.”