Jenson Button is sure McLaren can develop the MP4-28 throughout the entire season
British driver sure new design will pay off
By William Esler
Last Updated: 07/03/13 5:05pm
It was a bold decision from the Woking-based squad given that this is the final year of the current regulations and their MP4-27 won the final race of the season in Brazil following a front-row lockout in qualifying.
Most teams have opted to run an evolution of their 2012 chassis this season. However, McLaren felt there were diminishing gains to be made with that concept.
Instead the team head into the season with a new design philosophy which Button hopes will allow the team to stay in front when others reach the development limit.
"When we came into this season we wanted to build a car that would be strong throughout the year, and that's why we've made so many changes to the way the car looks," the 2009 World Champion said.
"The reason being is that it's a very long season and we want to be able to develop all the way through the year.
"Some teams might come with a car they used in Brazil (for the final race of last year) with a few tweaks to it. It means they will be strong at the first race, but they won't be able to develop like us through the year. That is the idea we have.
"Of course, we still want to be quick at the first race, we want to win from the word go. But it's possibly going to be a tough race, not just for us, but for everyone because it seems so, so close at the moment.
"But we still go to Melbourne aiming for a victory."
A keen triathlete, Button heads into the new season after a gruelling winter fitness programme and says years of training means he can now push his body further than ever.
"I don't know if it's the same for every driver but you do put in the extra effort through the winter, and because I've been training for so many years now, it does all add up," he added.
"The amount of hours I do now I wouldn't have been able to do four years ago. Physically it would have been too demanding on the body, but my body is used to it now so you can put more time into it.
"But then it's not just about the physical training over the winter, it's about the mental training and putting yourself through all sorts.
"I did a half-marathon in Cannes recently. It was zero degrees and I did an hour and 19 minutes which I was chuffed to bits with. But it was one of the most painful things I've ever done. Two days after I was still hurting from it.
"In putting myself through that pain, especially the last 20 minutes, the way I got to the end was to think about the first race of the season.
"I thought about being mentally and physically prepared, not feeling the pressure, feeling comfortable within myself and within the team.
"That's what kept me going. When I got to the end the strength I'd gained through doing it, mentally and physically, will help me so much when I arrive at the first race.
"Maybe that's why the first race is normally pretty good for us."