Improved deployment “very positive” – Button

2016 F1 season

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Jenson Button says the McLaren-honda MP4-31 has addressed one of the fundamental shortcomings of last year’s car but still sees room for improvement.

The first version of Honda’s V6 hybrid turbo power unit left Button and team mate Fernando Alonso vulnerable on long straights where it could be as much as 200bhp down on its rivals with full energy deployment. However Button says progress has been made in this area.

The McLaren ran more reliably than last year. More pictures
“Today has been all about system checks and trying new things,” he said, “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.”

Button set the sixth-fastest lap but also covered 84 laps which is 18 more than a race distance and significantly better than the team managed 12 months ago.

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

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Keith Collantine
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21 comments on “Improved deployment “very positive” – Button”

  1. Hmm, “quite a bit better”, “weaknesses in the car we need to improve” and “something to build on” doesn’t sound particularly enthusiastic.

    Hopefully the car is at least good enough to fight in the midfield this year.

    1. I think its mainly him expressing that it is still early day to really say that they got on top of things and not wanting to come over as being overly optimistic @george

    2. @george I’m betting they are being extra cautios with their words. They don’t want a repeat of 2015 in terms of performance and in terms of attention from the press.

      They’ll never, ever, ever, say the words: “We believed we could achieve a podium in the middle of the season” as Arai said back then.

    3. He’s not lit up like his first test in the Brawn, but I was still pleased to read this – it sounds like they’ve made a bit more progress than other teams. Let’s see what Alonso has to say once he’s had a go.

    4. He didn’t use words like “fixed”, or “good”, or “on par” either. So the Honda engine this year is better than last year’s, but that’s saying nothing.

      Manor could well best then this year with a Mercedes engine, and I for one would love it.

      1. @hairs I remember last year Alonso saying Manor would still come last even if they had a rocket engine in their back.

    5. Actually I think “quite a bit better” is quite a statement!

  2. Hope. Thats what It comes down to for me. Hope that if it is Jensons last year that he can go out with a bang ( and by that I don’t mean Honda’s engine going up in smoke) rather than a whimper. Hope that all the sheer effort from Honda and McLaren actually pays off and gets some good results. And even though I’m not an Alonso fan he is missed being up towards the front of the field just because of his tenacity, which used to make races worth watching And the battle between him and Button could be a very interesting one if the car is performing better.

    One day of testing isn’t enough to get much of an opinion, but they did manage 84 laps. Compared to the limp and wheezy introduction of the car last year during testing, that is already a small victory.

    So, fingers crossed they can get closer to the front of the field during testing and maybe, just maybe, we will see a team ready to take podiums in some circumstances this season. Or is that too much to hope for do we think?

    1. After all, who really remembers Rubens Barrichello’s last season?

      I am hoping McLaren pick it up this season and are hall engine more, I think we’re sure the chassis is good, the question is around the engine, power output and delivery.

  3. I am really hoping for a competitive McLaren this year. Alonso & Button deserve a chance to be able to show what they can do with it.

  4. I wish them best.. Honda deserves to atleast be slow… Last year was embarassing.

    Lets hope they get alongside Renault teams.

  5. This PU in the car right now only is Mark I. Ted Kravitz has said that in Barcelona 2, Mark II will be in the car with further improvements and the PU in Melbourne is Mark III, presumably the good things from Marks I & II combined.

    1. That may sound promising, but in reality the other manufacturers arrived at this first test already with their “Mark III” engines.

      1. its not like teams are given points for tests, as long as they are able to run reliably in Melbourne at full potential of whatever they have is what every team is aiming for.

  6. Don’t read too much into the times. since last year the fastest car managed 1.23’s… Vettel just barely broken the 1.24. So put it in perspective… the fastest should set atleast 1.22’s this time around, wheter its a Ferrari or Mercedes, because obviously they have improve power, aero and all that stuff one year later.

    I bet Mclaren-Honda not pushing the engine too much and focused on making checks for overheating and stresses on the newly designed turbo and ERS.

    1. Agree. Today’s not a day to read in to the times much.

      I think we will get the first glimpse of speed on the last day of the first test. Then the speed will be confirmed on the last 2 days of the seconds test.

      Regarding Mclaren, I’m sure they didn’t crank up the engine much as they genuinely wanted to get some running done. I think they’re gonna push for lap times on the last day of the 1st test, so that they don’t lose a lot of time if something blows up.

  7. Anyone who understands the nuances of the English language will also understand what he is saying. He admits that this 1st day was all about system checks and developing an understanding of how everything feels and performs , he also says things like stand out, very positive , constant etc so it is definitely a good day for McHonda. I’m sure that there is performance in the package they are just building up through the days to ensure they complete their programme, outright speed is probably not in their agenda just yet.

    1. Well, anyone who has seen Jenson’s interviews in the past can read between the lines to figure out the differences in team’s PR talk and genuine optimism. Honestly, it looks like Jenson is a little underwhelmed, and while he must be relieved that it wasn’t half the disaster it was last year in testing, it wasn’t particularly great either.

      Eric Boullier has also confirmed that the progress was not good enough.

  8. Poor Button :( he is just trying to put a brave face on it, no doubt the car will still be poor like last year, it was always going to take at least three years for this combination to bear fruit, the issue is they are just too far behind, they are just playing catch up & by the time they get anywhere near Honda will be fed up & pull out.
    Honda have spent a fortune on F1 over the years with nothing to show for it, it has no impact on cars people drive & has no trickle down either, for Ferrari road-cars it is different, Honda would be better of putting their money into sports-car racing & LeMans.

    I cannot see why McLaren just didn’t build their own engine in the first place.

  9. @alan77: I fear You’re right, by the time the Honda PU has caught up, the rules are changed towards favoring aero, downforce and equalling out the differences in PU performance. Being so focussed on the PU, and lacking the speed also to stress and develop the aero, McLaren might be behind in this area, when that happens.
    But let us see how it unfolds till Melbourne..

  10. the test look good and the pu is still the same

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