Jenson Button: “It’s great to be back”

Jenson Button completed the first day of the Formula 1 pre-season testing for McLaren-Honda at the Circuit de Catalunya.

The Briton completed a total of 84 laps behind the wheel of the MP4-31, with a fastest lap time of 1m26.735s. Finishing the session in sixth behind the Sahara Force India of Alfonso Celis Jr.

After a long winter break, Button is happy to be back in the car and gaining laps under his belt during pre-season testing.

“I’ve missed Formula 1 massively over the last few months – it seems like the longest break I’ve ever had in my career – so it’s great to be back, to be in the car, and get some laps under my belt,” said Button. “Today has been all about system checks and trying new things – there are lots of differences with this car, and with the engine.

“The stand-out thing that’s been very positive today is the deployment: it’s been very consistent throughout the day, we had no issues, and it was quite a bit better on long runs than last year. This is good, because it allows us to see other weaknesses in the car that we still need to improve.”

For McLaren, Button completed five more laps than they completed last year in the first four days of testing, as long as there’s improvements with the car, it’s something that the team can build upon.

“Overall, a good day actually and I’m reasonably happy,” said Button. “In terms of outright pace, who knows? We’re not going out there to set a lap-time, we’re focussing on checks and having the engineers talk to me, as there’s so many different electronic things that we’re trying out, which is very interesting.” 

“We completed five more laps today than we did in the first four days of testing last year, which is definitely an improvement! As long as we can see improvements, and the feeling of the car is good, it’s something to build on.”