Button and Alonso sure of McLaren-Honda F1 strides by Australian GP

Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button are adamant that Honda can make sufficient progress over the next two Formula 1 tests to target a respectable result in the Australian Grand Prix

The duo endured a frustrating time at Jerez last week when a spate of reliability issues limited their running. McLaren was also the slowest car on track on each of the days.

But despite the stuttering start to the new Honda relationship, the drivers remain convinced that gains will be rapid.

Speaking during a Honda press conference in Tokyo on Tuesday, Button said: "As we all know, testing is about improvement and that is what the first test was.

"We saw quite a bit of improvement in the way we were working and also the direction we were taking with the car and engine package.

"It does feel as one: it doesn't just feel like a car and an engine. It is a proper, one full package which is great.

GARY ANDERSON's team-by-team verdict on the Jerez test

"I am very much looking forward to the next two tests where we will make further improvement and hopefully arrive in Melbourne ready for the first race and to fight for the best result we possibly can."

Alonso said that rather than be disheartened by what he had experienced at the first test, he was actually fired up by the potential on offer from his new team.

"This is a very challenging time for all of us in trying to succeed with this project, but I am very excited to be part of the McLaren-Honda family after many years in F1," he said.

"We will be ready for some victories, hopefully soon."


Honda confirmed that work had ramped up at its research facilities in Japan and the UK to implement cures to the reliability niggles that cost it track time at Jerez.

McLaren Group chairman Ron Dennis was well aware that a great deal of work was needed to make the improvements needed to get to the front of the grid - but he had no doubts they would eventually get there.

"Honda is a phenomenally committed company and the challenge that we face together as we approach the 2015 season is just huge," he said.

"Our competitors have had one year's head start, which again amplifies the challenge.

"As we approach this first GP the pressure becomes more intense - and the expectation of our fans, drivers, sponsors, and the media gets more and more intense.

"But as I discussed with my colleague [Yasuhisa] Arai-San and President Ito we are ready for the challenge.

"We will have success because history shows that Honda always succeeds and the Honda-McLaren partnership of the 1980s is something that we intend to reproduce.

"The first challenge is to win our first GP, and in the short term competing in Australia and finishing with the most competitive results that we can possibly have."

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