McLaren 'in much better shape' in 2011

Red Bull Racing has been warned to brace itself for a much stronger challenge from McLaren for the world championship this year than it faced in 2010

McLaren 'in much better shape' in 2011

That is the view of former champion Jenson Button, who believes that McLaren's stronger than expected start to the new season has put the team in a much better position to win the title than it did last year - when it took the fight to the last race of the campaign.

With McLaren appearing in Malaysia to have slashed the performance advantage that Red Bull Racing started the season with in Australia, Button is fully upbeat about what is now possible for his Woking-based team.

"We've come here and we do have the possibility to win the race, which is great," said Button in Malaysia. "I think it is very impressive, the step that we have made from the last race to here.

"I personally don't think the Red Bulls have come back to us, I think we have improved the car in terms of set-up because the car was still very young in Melbourne. That is my personal feeling, and we seem to have made a big step compared to the rest of the field.

"Compared to Lewis [Hamilton], Fernando [Alonso] was eight tenths slower and that is a massive chunk in qualifying, and looking at long-run pace it is similar if not a little bit more.

"So it is exciting going into this season being where we are. We are more competitive than we were in 2010 at this point, we are closer to Red Bull and that is very exciting."

Team-mate Hamilton, who starts on the front row in Malaysia alongside pole position man Sebastian Vettel, thinks that the big step he and McLaren must make this year is in finishing more races.

"I want to make sure I finish every race," he said. "Last year, Jenson, apart from one or two races - one where he was taken out and the other a mechanical failure - finished the races.

"I think I had four or five DNFs, a majority of which were through incidents and a few other were mechanical problems. We want to try to avoid those because without those we would have had a much better chance of winning the championship. So that is our focus, consistency and, of course if we can win while doing that, fantastic."

shares
comments
Whitmarsh and Boullier to lead FOTA
Previous article

Whitmarsh and Boullier to lead FOTA

Next article

Vettel eases to Malaysian GP victory

Vettel eases to Malaysian GP victory
Load comments
The Schumacher trait that will give Haas hope in F1 2022 Plus

The Schumacher trait that will give Haas hope in F1 2022

Mick Schumacher’s knack of improving during his second season in a championship was a trademark of his junior formula career, so his progress during his rookie Formula 1 campaign with Haas was encouraging. His target now will be to turn that improvement into results as the team hopes to reap the rewards of sacrificing development in 2021

The “glorified taxi” driver central to F1’s continued safety push Plus

The “glorified taxi” driver central to F1’s continued safety push

As the driver of Formula 1’s medical car, Alan van der Merwe’s job is to wait – and hope his skills aren’t needed. JAMES NEWBOLD hears from F1’s lesser-known stalwarts

Formula 1
Jan 15, 2022
When BMW added F1 'rocket fuel' to ignite Brabham's 1983 title push Plus

When BMW added F1 'rocket fuel' to ignite Brabham's 1983 title push

There was an ace up the sleeve during the 1983 F1 title-winning season of Nelson Piquet and Brabham. It made a frontrunning car invincible for the last three races to see off Renault's Alain Prost and secure the combination's second world title in three years

Formula 1
Jan 13, 2022
How “abysmal” reliability blunted Brabham’s first winner Plus

How “abysmal” reliability blunted Brabham’s first winner

Brabham’s first world championship race-winning car was held back by unreliable Climax engines – or so its creators believed, as STUART CODLING explains

Formula 1
Jan 10, 2022
The steps Norris took to reach a new level in F1 2021 Plus

The steps Norris took to reach a new level in F1 2021

Lando Norris came of age as a grand prix driver in 2021. McLaren’s young ace is no longer an apprentice or a quietly capable number two – he’s proved himself a potential winner in the top flight and, as STUART CODLING finds out, he’s ready to stake his claim to greatness…

Formula 1
Jan 9, 2022
The original F1 maestro who set the bar for Schumacher and Hamilton Plus

The original F1 maestro who set the bar for Schumacher and Hamilton

Juan Manuel Fangio, peerless on track and charming off it, established the gold standard of grand prix greatness. NIGEL ROEBUCK recalls a remarkable champion

Formula 1
Jan 8, 2022
How Russell sees his place in the Mercedes-Hamilton F1 superteam Plus

How Russell sees his place in the Mercedes-Hamilton F1 superteam

George Russell joining Lewis Hamilton at Mercedes this year gives it arguably the best line-up in Formula 1 – if it can avoid too many fireworks. After serving his apprenticeship at Williams, Russell is the man that Mercedes team believes can lead it in the post-Hamilton era, but how will he fare against the seven-time champion? Autosport heard from the man himself

Formula 1
Jan 6, 2022
How F1 pulled off its second pandemic season and its 2022 implications Plus

How F1 pulled off its second pandemic season and its 2022 implications

OPINION: The Formula 1 season just gone was the second to be completed under the dreaded shadow of the COVID-19 pandemic, but in many ways it was much more ‘normal’ than 2020. Here’s the story of how the championship’s various organisers delivered a second challenging campaign, which offers a glimpse at what may be different next time around

Formula 1
Jan 5, 2022