We won’t win in Australia but we’ll improve – Button

2015 F1 season

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Jenson Button doubts the new McLaren-Honda will finish on the podium on its debut at Melbourne next month but expects progress throughout the year.

“Our first aim I think at the first race is to finish, to gain lots of experience,” said Button at a press conference in Tokyo.

“We’re not going to win the first race,” he added. “We probably won’t be on the podium at the first race.”

“But we knew that it was going to be a difficult start to the season. Every other team, every other manufacturer, has experience of working with these power units. Our aim is to improve throughout the year.”

Button said McLaren had integrated well with its new engine supplier following the first test of the new MP4-30 last week. “I think they’ve really working well together,” he said.

“They’ve pulled together and they’re working as one which is so important. The only way we’ll win the world championship is if we’re working as one team – not Honda and McLaren, working as one McLaren-Honda.

“So this is really important and it’s great to see that working relationship already in the team.”

Button, who scored his first F1 race victory in a Honda-powered car in 2006, said he believed Japanese fans “need Honda to be in Formula One”.

“It seems that you have a lot of Formula One fans or motor sport fans so to have a Japanese engine manufacturer back in the sport really does mean a lot.”

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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31 comments on “We won’t win in Australia but we’ll improve – Button”

  1. This story line saved F1 for me. I find the other teams boring and corporate. Honda is at least an enthusiast.

    1. You won’t find a much more corporate organisation than McLaren and Honda. So stoic the both of them. I can imagine every meeting in those companies starting with ‘we are not here to have fun or enjoy ourselves………’

      1. Who are? They might look fin con twitter but every team is a corporate organisation.

    2. This shows how easily a little marketing can change people’s perception of reality. Honda and McLaren not corporate, hue hue.

    3. Enthusiastic enough to close their entire F1 team very last minute.

  2. “We probably won’t be on the podium”

    I love this part of the season, with everyone managing expectations, sandbagging (Merc) and light running for media exposure (Ferrari).
    Nobody knows where they’ll be relative to the rest of the grid (Except Merc!). But as a fan its very hard not to read into EVERY single little detail! I really do hope that Mclaren have a top season finally…

    1. petebaldwin (@)
      10th February 2015, 20:35

      To be honest, ever since Brawn turned up in Australia and destroyed the opposition, I’ve stopped even bothering trying to figure out what’s going on in pre-season!

      You can get an idea if a team has an issue but there is little else to go on. Just because Mercedes put more laps in doesn’t necessarily mean anything. They might have been just putting laps in until something broke whereas Ferrari may have been working on one lap pace. You can make an educated guess but in the truth is, McLaren could end up with a 1-2. That interview the other day (where the guy kept saying “sort of”) seemed to suggest McLaren’s limited running was due to minor issues that just took a while to fix. They could have no issues in Barcelona!

      1. To be honest, ever since Brawn turned up in Australia and destroyed the opposition, I’ve stopped even bothering trying to figure out what’s going on in pre-season!

        That’s somewhat true, but you are forgetting the 2009 preseason testing. Red Bull was looking strong from the start while Brawn basically destroyed everyone with their installation lap. They were a dynamite straight out of the box, so it wasn’t unexpected, it was just a funny coincidence, because they were on the verge of a collapse just a few months earlier.

      2. To be honest, ever since Brawn turned up in Australia and destroyed the opposition, I’ve stopped even bothering trying to figure out what’s going on in pre-season!

        That´s an odd example. The very moment Ross Brawn arrived at Honda in 2008 and at the very beginning of the season said they´ll skip any development for that year and directly focus on the next, a huge step for 09 was expectable. That went through some doubts during the Honda-leave, but then Ross bought the team, which was another obvious hint of how he thought of that car. And then from the early days of testing… there wasn´t ever a better chance to profit at betting from following F1 closely. JB as 09-champion will probably remain my best bet forever.

        1. I know some people who made quite a bit of cash out of exactly that bet :)

          1. I made quite a bit of money . I put my bet on Jenson to win the 2009 title at the end of the December 2007. I followed my gut feeling and people laughed at me , I was the one laughing all the way from the bookies. Got my money on for this season as well lol

  3. Doubt Mclaren will finish on the podium before Barcelona unless there is a lot of luck involved and maybe tricky weather. Would expect Alonso to bring the 1st podium though… don’t expect much out of Button

    1. Did you watch JB last season?

      1. Did you watch FA last season?

        1. Did you watch JB last season?

          1. Did you watch Alonso in 2001?

          2. Did you watch FA last season?

      2. Yeah .. Never stood on the podium even once. Although he was awarded one by default

  4. Translation: The car isn’t as bad as last year’s but Honda are still miles off the pace.

    Button would have been better off going to LMP1 this year.

    1. Seriously. He could have been driving a radical, 1200hp Nissan, instead of yet another “rebuilding” effort. It will take Honda a least 3-4 years to get to the front. See Mercedes, RBR. Does he really want this car-building drudgery to be the end of his career? No doubt, by the time the car comes good, some McLaren protege or Honda nominee will dislodge him.

      1. Nah…WEC can wait…he almost wasn’t going to be at Mac anyway while they decided who would partner FA, but they chose him and I think he’ll have a blast helping build up this effort. Besides, the general consensus is that it’s going to be another Merc Championship(s) year, so he might as well have some fun doing what he loves and see where this team can take things.

      2. have you ever thought that maybe jensen doesn’t want to go into the WEC. just putting that radical thought out there

      3. @dmw, you do realise that the 1250bhp figure that Nissan announced was their target, not the actual power output of the car? At the moment, the car is only running on its petrol engine in testing because the energy recovery systems do not function correctly yet and have therefore been removed from the car.

        Furthermore, Nissan have already stated that the car is a Le Mans special only – it would be a bit like driving the WEC equivalent of the 2009 Force India, which was uncompetitive except in the very lowest downforce trim.

      4. I guess if Button wanted to race such a slow car, he could have gone to Caterham.

    2. petebaldwin (@)
      10th February 2015, 20:29

      I’d be amazed if Honda weren’t miles off. Regardless of the fact that Mercedes ran so well, there is nothing to suggest that the Honda PU isn’t as good as the Mercedes was this time last year – they’ve just had a whole season to develop it.

      1. There is also nothing to suggest that it is as good as Merc engine last year. The Honda engine is a complete unknown at this point.

  5. Chris Brighton
    10th February 2015, 17:42

    Well done, a bit obvious. A brand new engine and he’s saying that? I don’t expect them to get on the podium until we are at least ⅓ through the season.

  6. The most political two drivers finally in the same team. lets see how it plays out and who comes out tops

  7. I get the feeling McLaren know they have a very capable engine underneath that size 0 chasis. Learning from the mistakes of the last 2 years, I doubt they’d it the biggun even if they were certain their reliability was under control and the engine fierce. Providing they get their reliability sorted, I think they’ll be best of the rest by the end of the season or even before.

  8. Chad Jonathan (@)
    11th February 2015, 16:27

    This is a really interesting article. Funny to see the personalities behind the cars.
    http://www.caracceptancedealers.com car acceptance dealers

  9. “We probably won’t be on the podium at the first race.”

    Jenson my friend, you probably won’t be on the finish line when the flag is waved to mark the end of the race!
    But to be honest and technically correct, you are absolutely right, as finishing last or not finishing at all means you are not on the podium :-D

    To be honest, we should never judge too quickly since Red Bull was also very bad on first test (not as bad as McLaren though) and they were the second fastest team at the start of the racing season…

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