Briton says 2013 car provides 'basis for a strong season', as Whitmarsh insists there is no pressure on Pérez
Thu 31.01.13, 3:03PM
McLaren driver Jenson Button hailed the team’s new car, the MP4-28, as the best it has ever built as he and new team-mate Sergio Pérez unveiled the 2013 F1 challenger at the team’s Woking factory.
"The engineers have
left absolutely no stone unturned in wringing every ounce of performance from every available area."
“This year’s car is the best we’ve ever made – I know the engineers have left absolutely no stone unturned in wringing every ounce of performance from every available area,” said the 33-year-old Englishman.
Button added that having suffered with reliability and operational issues in 2012 the guiding principle behind the development of the new car had been the eradication of those weaknesses.
“We were extremely strong throughout the whole of the 2012 season, but, for one reason or another, we couldn’t quite pull it all together to challenge for the championships,” he said. “That’s something we want to address for 2013. I’ve seen just how closely everybody has been working together on this car, and I think we’ve got the basis for a very strong season.
The 2013 season is Button’s fourth with McLaren but the first in which he will share the garage with a driver other than Lewis Hamilton. With the 2008 champion having departed for Mercedes, Button will this year be joined by Pérez, and while Button admitted it is different, he believes the former Sauber driver is settling in well.
“Obviously, the biggest change for 2013 is my new team-mate,” he said. “It’s always interesting and inspiring to begin working with a new face, and it already feels like a very positive working relationship.
“I know from personal experience that it can feel initially daunting when you walk into the McLaren Technology Centre for the very first time, but I also remember how quickly I was made to feel at home and how welcoming I found the whole McLaren family. I’m sure Checo already feels very much at ease here.”
Pérez, meanwhile, said that although he is aware of the tough learning curve ahead, he is better prepared for this season than ever before.
“I am fully aware of the steep slope ahead of me,” he said. “It has already been an intense couple of weeks, getting to grips with a new team, meeting my engineers and mechanics, learning new ways of working and, of course, learning all about a brand new car – something I’ll need to do with just six days of on-track testing. It’s a big challenge.
“I’m more prepared than I’ve ever been for the start of a new season,” he added. “I feel extremely fit, focused and refreshed – there’s still a lot to do, but my aims are to feel confident, comfortable and ready to race by the time I land in Australia in just a few weeks’ time.
“It’s definitely going to be an exciting few weeks,” he said. “Although I’ve been racing in Formula One for the past two seasons, every racing car is different and it always takes a little time to adjust. Firstly, I’ll need to understand the different characteristics of the car; secondly, I’ll learn how to best work with my engineers to make the car suit my personal driving style. It’s going to be an interesting and exciting journey.”
Despite the challenge ahead of Perez, McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh insisted there is no pressure on the young Mexican.