Button hoping for more rain in Malaysia

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Jenson Button is hoping for rain in this weekend’s Malaysian Grand Prix to level up the playing field as he struggles with the new McLaren.

The closest Button came to the top of the times sheets in Melbourne last weekend was during the wet Q2 session.

But in dry conditions on race day the inferiority of the MP4-28 told. The three-time winner of the Australian Grand Prix he could only finish ninth.

“For this weekend, I don’t think we can expect an improvement in our fortunes,” said Button.

“But the thing about Malaysia is that it can be so unpredictable – particularly with the later start time on Sunday afternoon, which tends to see late-afternoon showers fall. We saw that last year, when Fernando [Alonso] won, and we know that the unpredictable weather can make it a lottery for everyone.”

“That’s something that could play into our hands – I do enjoy driving in changeable conditions, and would love the challenge of being able to run competitively in a car that we all know is not quite capable of challenging for victories yet.”

Team mate Sergio Perez produced a breakthrough performance for Sauber in last year’s Malaysian Grand Prix, finishing second, right on Alonso’s tail.

“For me, Sepang holds many happy memories,” he said. “I had one of the best races of my career there last year where I was able to push Fernando for victory until the closing laps.”

“It’s a fantastic circuit, really fast and demanding. It would be great to pull off another unexpected result for the team this year.”

Alonso would be ‘very happy’ to finish F1 career with McLaren

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Fernando Alonso says he would be “very happy” to see out his Formula 1 career with McLaren after signing a new multi-year contract with the British team, announced on Thursday.

Alonso, 36, ended speculation about his future by agreeing a new deal with McLaren, hopeful of returning to the front of the field next year when the team swaps Honda power for Renault engines.

Alonso admitted to considering options outside of F1 before agreeing to stay at McLaren, and was thought to only be chasing a one-year extension in order to be in a position to snap up a more attractive seat in the volatile 2019 market.

However, Alonso confirmed in an interview with the official F1 website that the deal with McLaren stretched beyond the end of next year, adding he would be content to see out his time in the sport with the team.

“I never talk about contracts, but one thing I can say is it is a long-term partnership,” Alonso said.

“I am very happy to finish my career at McLaren. So I don’t think it is going to be only one year.”

Alonso also revealed he had options with teams high up the field in F1 for 2018 just a couple of months ago, but was always leaning to staying at McLaren despite not scoring a podium with the team in almost three years.

“There were some other options in F1. In the summer there were still some options at the top teams, but my desire was to stay with McLaren,” Alonso said.

“But at that time they were in conversation with different engine suppliers, so I had to give them time to sort out their situation.

“Then McLaren opted for a Renault engine which delayed my decision, because I had to understand what Renault’s plans were for next years.

“But when I had everything on the table, everything was pretty clear.”