Button remains positive over title chances
2 April 2013 – Despite a troubled start to the 2013 Formula 1 season, Jenson Button remains confident of mounting a title challenge as the development race wears on, with the Briton claiming that his McLaren team has already solved some of the problems that have plagued the MP4-28 chassis since the opening race in Australia.
Having struggled to a ninth-place finish in Melbourne, five days later Button was forced to retire from the Malaysian Grand Prix when his right-front wheel was not connected properly during a pit-stop, with the two results representing his worst start to a season since he was racing for Honda in 2008. In spite of this, the former World Champion believes that he was able to extract enough pace from his McLaren car in Sepang to prove that the Woking-based outfit is on the right track in terms of development.
"The championship is still on as far as I am concerned and I am aiming for that. Definitely," Button, who won the Driver’s title with Brawn GP in 2009, explained to The Mirror. "Sebastian [Vettel] almost beat me to the title in 2009 and he didn’t score for the first four [sic. two] races. It’s a massive turnaround for us. Most of the race in Sepang we were quicker than the Lotus. Most of the race we were quicker than Ferrari. Who would have thought that five days before?"
With McLaren having gained just four points from the opening two weekends, there had been talk of the squad reverting back to last year’s car design. However, Button says he is now much happier with the new direction the team is taking and reckons that he is well-placed to capitalise on the competitive nature of this year’s grid.
"I am a very happy driver at the moment knowing we have improved so much," added Button. "I know what the team can achieve over the next few weeks to take a strong car in to China. I have gone from being pretty down in Melbourne to being a lot more positive in the five days between the first two races.
"Things are not all sorted. We still have issues and need to get the car’s ride sorted but in terms of development the car is much better. We’ve had a massive turnaround. The great thing is there are so many cars that are competitive and taking points off each other, which is exactly what we need."