Jenson Button is confident that McLaren will be fighting near the front of the field next year, while admitting that race wins will remain out of reach.
McLaren has endured a torrid 2015 season, with its reunion with Japanese manufacturer Honda failing to meet the high standards set at the beginning of the year. The team has amassed only 27 points over the first 17 races, and sits in ninth place in the constructors standings.
Despite being aware of the uphill task that McLaren faces over the winter, Button is sure of making the necessary gains to close the gap to frontrunners Mercedes and Ferrari.
“This winter is a very important one for us, to make those big changes and come out a lot stronger next year because we don’t want to be where we are, we want to be fighting near the front,’’ Button was quoted during the Thursday Press Conference in Brazil.
“Whether we can win races or not, that’s another question but I think we can at last fight at the front next year. There’s a lot of hard work going on and I think another positive with this team is the confidence,’’ he added.
Button is adamant that Honda has gained a lot on the engine front over the year, with McLaren, likewise, learning from their size-zero chassis.
“Lots of learning. It’s obviously still… I know we keep saying it, but it is still a very young partnership. We’ve learned so much this year with the power unit, with the idea of the aerodynamics of the car, because it’s very different to a normal McLaren, so there is a lot of learning to take from this season.
“We obviously need to make a big step next year – we know that – so it’s going to be a long, hard winter, but an exciting one as well,’’ he said on an optimistic note.
by Rachit Thukral