Honda target title challenge in 2007
|By Jonathan Noble||Tuesday, October 24th 2006, 07:01 GMT|
Jenson Button's strong finish to the season has left his Honda Racing team in no doubts that their target is a World Championship challenge in 2007.
The British driver's stunning drive from 14th on the grid to finish third in Brazil meant that Button ended the year as the highest scoring driver in the final six races of the campaign.
And it is that consistency, allied to the ever-improving form of Honda Racing's car, that has left the team bullish ahead of the winter.
"Every decision we are making now with regards to next year is with the world championship in mind," sporting director Gil de Ferran told autosport.com. "We want to put on a strong challenge for the World Championship.
"We don't know what the other teams will do, but we must focus on what we can do - and that is to improve everything. Every decision we make, no matter how small, will be with the championship challenge in mind.
"We will be thinking what we need to do to put a strong challenge together, and I think we are capable of that. We've learned a lot with the way the second half of this season panned out for us, and hopefully that will help us in making a competitive car for next season."
Button, who celebrated his podium finish with the team at a club in downtown Sao Paulo on Sunday night, is equally focused on that title challenge next year.
"After Hungary, the team want that buzz of winning again," he said. "It's an amazing feeling.
"We have that feeling within the team that a championship is within our grasp. We've got it from everything we've done over the last few races.
"You feel 'wow, we've got the best out of what we've got' and I don't think any other team does that."
Button thinks that two factors will play into his team's hands in 2007 - Honda's new Brackley wind tunnel, plus the driver and staff changes elsewhere in the pit lane.
"There is a lot of change around and that does help us. The wind tunnel is going to make a huge difference to us next year as well.
"We want to win every race next year. That's our aim - to challenge for every race. You've got to be positive. Whether it's a reality we'll see when we get to the first race in Melbourne.
"But it has to be the aim to want to be the best."