- Malaysian GP - Qualifying
MP4-30 has more downforce than cars in front - Button
Jenson Button is confident his McLaren-Honda has more downforce than the cars in front of him on the grid in Malaysia and is hoping to exploit it at future races when the Honda power unit is closer to its full potential.
McLaren has made a slow start to 2015, running its Honda engines detuned in order to protect its supply of power unit components for the year ahead. As a result, McLaren's true pace remains something of a mystery, although Button is confident the car is in better shape than this weekend's grid position suggests.
"We are closer in the high-speed corners, especially when the temperatures are hot," he said. "I think that shows, compared to the cars just in front of us, that we probably have more usable downforce than those cars. When the temperature is hot they seem to lose more, which usually means a lack of downforce. For us, I think the car is still a good base and we have built on what we had in Melbourne. We have some new parts here, some aerodynamic parts, which is good and we have everything on the car that we have tested over the weekend - so everything is going in the right direction. That doesn't always happen.
However, Button made no secret of the fact that McLaren still has a lot of work to do to be competitive.
"There is a long way to go with the downforce and obviously power. We have made a good step this race and we should all be very happy with the progress we have made in two weeks - it's not like we have been testing every day since Melbourne. So to come here and to run smoothly through our testing programme in terms of reliability and to see the improvements we have seem with the power unit and the aerodynamics, is a good step forward. We just have to hope we keep improving on this every time we jump into the car. That is our aim."