Button targets title challenge

Jenson Button says he is ready to fight for the world championship, if BAR-Honda give him the car capable of challenging for it. The Briton finished third in the standings in 2004 with a string of podium finishes, although he has yet to score a grand prix victory

Button believes that if the team can maintain the progress that allowed it to finish second in the constructors' standing, then he stands in good stead for 2005.

"I feel so confident going into next year," he told Autosport. "Some people might say I'm too confident, but if I'm in the right car, I believe we'll be challenging for the championship.

"I'm not saying we will be, but we have the expertise in the team. It's a just a matter of whether we've moved forward enough from this year, isn't it?"

The British star believes that while David Richards made a big contribution to the team as principal, his exit from the team should not have a detrimental effect.

"It wasn't all down to one person," said Button of the team's success in 2004. "He [David Richards] was helpful, but so were a lot of other people in the team - especially the engineers. This year I've had a great engineer on my car - Craig Wilson, whom I knew from my season at Williams, when he was working with Ralf [Schumacher]"

Button also reckons that the opportunity to run at the front of the field for a season has helped him to develop as a driver. "How have I changed? Well, outside the car, I've worked a lot better with the team," he said. "I'm thinking all the time about things that could help us - little things that can make a difference.

"The bigger things are taken care of, so I just concentrate on the driver aids and the driver's needs, really. As far as driving is concerned, I think I'm smoother than I was, because I've had so much confidence in the car. It's something I've really worked on."

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