Button happy with McLaren improvement

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Jenson Button is pleased to have qualified in the top ten for the Malaysian Grand Prix, and he feels that McLaren has made a big step forward since Australia.

The team struggled at the last race, scoring just two points and Button expressed the need to work hard on improving the car. After qualifying in Malaysia, he told Adam Cooper how he could feel the difference in the car.

“Forgetting the wet conditions, I think we’ve improved from Australia.

“If you look through qualifying, in Q1 and Q2 on dry tires, we were more competitive. Still nowhere near the top, but we were more competitive, and we should be very happy with what we’ve achieved so far this weekend. It’s only five days after a pretty tough race for us, so we’re making progress. And that’s very positive.”

Button was joined in the final qualifying session by teammate Sergio Perez, but the team struggled to match the front runners in the rain and subsequently qualified in 8th and 10th. Despite lining up P8, Button is looking forward to the race tomorrow relying it does not rain.

“I struggled with lack of grip in high speed at the rear, lots of rear movement. Most of the time our car has been very good in the wet, but today it isn’t.

“We’ve got a bit of work to do, and we lucked in with the rain in Q2 at the end, but tomorrow we’re looking forward to the race. I wasn’t really looking forward to the race in Melbourne.”

Marco Andretti confident that fewer tests won’t hurt Andretti Autosport

Photo: IndyCar
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A small point of debate around the 2018 aero kit has been the manufacturer test days that took place through the Fall of 2017 and into the beginning of 2018. Chiefly, the debate has centered around teams who hadn’t participated in those manufacturer test days and if they’re starting the 2018 Verizon IndyCar Series season at a disadvantage as a result.

Team Penske, Ed Carpenter Racing, and A.J. Foyt Racing completed test days for Chevrolet, with Schmidt Peterson Motorsports and Chip Ganassi Racing doing so for Honda.

That left teams like Andretti Autosport out of the mix, with some voicing concerns as a result.

However, in a press conference during testing at ISM Raceway last weekend, Marco Andretti explained that he thinks Andretti Autosport should be able to catch up on development, citing the team’s resources – they’re the only IndyCar team with four full-time cars in their stable – and the fact that everyone is still adapting to the new kit.

“I feel like it’s early enough days that, yes, we can catch up,” Andretti said at ISM Raceway. “When there is anything new, a new car, new aero kit, at-track days are huge. We can sim all these things we want. To really get out there and confirm what we’re learning back at the shop is another thing.”

Ryan Hunter-Reay during testing at ISM Raceway. Photo: IndyCar

Andretti continued, “Yeah, I don’t think we should look at it like we’re behind the eight ball. With a four-car team, that’s where we can use it to our benefit. So far so good.”

Teammate Ryan Hunter-Reay, echoed Andretti’s sentiments, adding that while the situation is not perfect, they will need to adapt to it in order to remain competitive.

“Any time you have a new car, to put it into perspective, we’re on track three days on a road course before we get to (the season open in St. Petersburg). That’s a very short amount of time. It’s obviously not ideal, but we’re just going to lace up our boots and get on with it. That’s all you can do.”

Andretti Autosport will have one more team test, at Sebring International Raceway later on in February, before the season-opening Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.

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