Formula One: Jenson Button sees potential for McLaren in 2014

Jenson Button driver McLaren

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McLaren ace Jenson Button believes there is potential in the 2014 car, but says his team must work on outright pace if they are to compete for the podium places.

The British team have slowly improved through the off-season at Jerez and then in Bahrain as they look to gain the upper hand ahead of the first Grand Prix of the season in Melbourne.

They had a season to forget in 2013 but with other teams around them in the paddock struggling with the new regulations, McLaren are confident they can deliver in Australia.

The new MP4-29 gave Button a headache early on Friday morning after a gearbox problem caused him to stop on the track during the session. However, after a quick turnaround, he finished fifth fastest overall as he showed just how good the new car could be this season.

Although Button admits his team have learnt a lot about their new car, he believes they need a number of upgrades to improve their pace.

“The basic car is good but we’re still waiting for upgrades. It definitely has potential, this car, it has a good feel about it,” he said.

“We have a very good understanding of the power unit and how to use the ERS under braking but also throughout a race, with fuel usage and what have you.

“Outright pace is something we need to work on. We haven’t really done much set-up work because it’s been more putting mileage on everything.

“Our last two days is going to be set-up work, so we’ll know much more after the last two days.”

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