Button: McLaren aren’t out of it yet

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Jenson Button is not writing off his championship chances despite a disappointing start to the season with the MP4-28.

“The championship is still on as far as I am concerned and I am aiming for that. Definitely,” he told the Daily Mirror.

Button could only manage ninth on the in Australia where the new car was beset by handling problems including poor ride over the Albert Park circuit’s bumps.

But the car fared better on the smoother Sepang circuit and McLaren made some progress with their set-up. Button was on course for at least fifth place when a pit-stop problem ruined his race.

Button hailed the performance as a “massive turnaround”.

“Most of the race in Sepang we were quicker than the Lotus. Most of the race we were quicker than Ferrari. Who would have thought that five days before?

“We are still not where we want to be and we got a bit lucky with the circuit being so smooth which helped a bit but a lot is understanding where the downforce is.

“The car is still not perfected, it was really thrown together for Sepang.

“The great thing is there are so many cars that are competitive and taking points off each other, which is exactly what we need.”

Button pointed out that Sebastian Vettel made a weak start to the 2009 season yet came close to beating him to the title that year. Vettel failed to score in Australia and Malaysia yet finished just 11 points behind Button.

Audi bids farewell to Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich upon retirement

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Audi bid farewell to its iconic head of motorsport, Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich, at its end-of-season ‘Race Night’ event in Germany on Friday upon his retirement.

Ullrich took over the reins as Audi’s head of motorsport in 1993 and stayed in the role for 23 years, overseeing its arrival in the prototype class of sports car racing and domination of the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

Ullrich stepped down from the position at the end of 2016, handing the reins over to ex-Audi DTM chief Dieter Gass, and attended his final racing event with the German marque at its first works Formula E outing in Hong Kong earlier this month.

Ullrich was honored at the Race Night event on Friday and thanked for his efforts in developing Audi into a force within global motorsport.

“In 566 factory-backed commitments during this period he celebrated 209 victories, 13 of them in the 24 Hours of Le Mans, eleven in the 12-hour race at Sebring and nine in the ‘Petit Le Mans’ at Road Atlanta,” a piece on Ullrich’s tenure for Audi’s website reads.

“31 driver titles in super touring car racing, in the DTM and in the sports prototype category are credited to him. 57 campaigners were Audi factory drivers during Wolfgang Ullrich’s era and he was responsible for 18 new developments of racing cars – an impressive tally.”