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Button: Honda slower than top teams

Jenson Button has doubts that Honda Racing will be in a position to fight for victory at the season-opening Australian Grand Prix, after admitting they will need time to develop the new RA107

Ahead of the launch of the Japanese manufacturer's 2007 livery in London on Monday, Button claims the team have made progress in recent weeks to improve the car but thinks they are still short of where they need to be.

"Will we be there at the first race with a car that's as quick as the Renault, Ferrari and McLaren? I don't know," Button told this week's Autosport.

"I would rather the car was quicker - that's everyone's opinion because we're not on the pace of the top teams, which is disappointing. But we've got a balance for the car. The positive thing is that we've moved forward a lot with the car and there's a lot   more coming in Bahrain."

Button's teammate Rubens Barrichello echoes the belief that it may take time for Honda to extract the full potential from the new car.

"It needs time because it's a different approach from last year's car," said the Brazilian. "When you change a small thing on the car it gives you a better answer but the car has a bad habit of losing rear grip when you turn into a corner.

"I don't believe it is a bad car though, and I think it will do good things. Whether it is going to win races or not, we're going to see."

Honda are due to introduce their Melbourne-specification aero package in the second test at Bahrain next week, which should provide some indication of just how competitive they will be for the start of the season.

Button is hopeful that the team have now turned a corner in getting on top of the balance issues that marred their early tests.

"It's a step forward from last year's car, which is positive. But when we arrived at the Valencia test we weren't quite where we thought we would be. The biggest problem was that we couldn't find a balance at all and were quite a long way off the pace."

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