Button: 'McLaren has turned a corner'
Jenson Button believes McLaren arrives in Malaysia more positive than it has felt in a long while after its performance at the Australian Grand Prix.
Kevin Magnussen and Jenson Button finished second and third in Melbourne following Daniel Ricciardo's exclusion, a remarkable return for a team which failed to earn a single podium finish last season. Button endured that miserable season but, having already seen what the MP4-29 can do, is convinced McLaren is in a good position to stay near the front in 2014.
"Australia was a really motivational race for the entire team - even though we still have work to do, it feels like we've turned a corner, and that we have a racecar we can definitely work with this year," Button said. "It's important that we keep pushing hard on the development front - we brought some useful upgrades to Melbourne, and it was encouraging that they worked straight out of the box, but it's essential that we keep pushing new items through the development pipeline, especially at these flyaway races, where it's harder to bring new parts to the circuit."
Button achieved his first career podium in Sepang in 2004 and is confident of another positive weekend, although he feels there is still a way to go before McLaren can say it has caught up with Mercedes and Williams.
"Sepang is a great driver's circuit, and even if we don't have the overall downforce we want, we should have the balance and driveability to make the car work. And that's really encouraging, because it means we go into a race weekend knowing that we can usually get the maximum from the car during the sessions and the race. Even if we don't yet have the pace to take the fight to the frontrunners, we should have a car that's decent in every sector, and which we'll be able to hustle through the race - and that definitely counts for something."