Jenson Button plays down McLaren chances in Melbourne

Jenson Button has won three Australian Formula One Grands Prix but said Thursday he will not be adding a fourth title with McLaren in this weekend`s season-opening race.

AFP| Updated: Mar 12, 2015, 14:10 PM IST
Jenson Button plays down McLaren chances in Melbourne

Melbourne: Jenson Button has won three Australian Formula One Grands Prix but said Thursday he will not be adding a fourth title with McLaren in this weekend`s season-opening race.

The British 2009 world champion admitted his McLaren-Honda had not done enough testing in pre-season to challenge for the podium.

McLaren completed substantially less mileage than their rivals in testing amid repeated problems with Honda`s new engine.

The British team`s preparations were also disrupted by an accident that left Spaniard Fernando Alonso in hospital and unable to compete around Melbourne`s Albert Park street circuit.

"We all know it`s not going to be the easiest weekend for us," Button told reporters.

"Will we be challenging for a win? No, we won`t be.

"In winter testing we had our difficulties but in terms of the way that the car feels and the way that the engine feels it is a really good platform.

"It`s just going to take time ... this weekend for us is more about just getting the best out of everything that we have."

McLaren finished behind the field in terms of kilometres and laps covered in pre-season testing following the team`s switch to Honda power units for this season.

Button, who joined McLaren in 2010, said they were a year behind in development of the complicated system compared to the Mercedes, Ferrari and Renault engines.

But he felt it would not be long until the team was challenging.

"If you look at the layout of the power unit and how tight everything is in the car, you would say it`s very aggressive and you can see that Honda is here to win," said Button, who won in Melbourne in 2009, 2010 and 2012.

"It`s just a matter of time before we are fighting at the front."

Button said he was not sure when Alonso would return to racing following his concussion from the heavy crash during testing, with Denmark`s Kevin Magnussen standing in for the double world champion this weekend.

Button added that he had studied the data from the crash and there was no technical issue with the car.