After a troublesome F1 winter testing period, Jenson Button stated that the 100 laps that he completed on Friday in Barcelona felt like 1,000 to McLaren as it continues to learn about its new car.
The British team reunited with engine supplier Honda for the 2015 season, but has encountered a number of teething problems and issues with the power unit throughout winter testing.
However, McLaren appeared to make a breakthrough on Friday as Button completed 100 laps and posted a respectable lap time, marking what was by far the team’s best day of winter testing so far.
Although Button did encounter an electrical issue that forced him to stop out on track on his 101st lap, the Briton was delighted with the running and progress being made at McLaren.
“For most teams, 100 laps isn’t really anything, but for us it’s like 1,000 laps because there’s so much for us still to learn about this package,” Button explained.
“Reliability has been great today, a really, really big step forward and big effort by everyone which is great to see.
“It’s amazing what you get done when you have a reliable car. All of the tests that you can do, the comparisons, the aero work that you can’t do because the car stop because the car stops halfway through, we were able to do today. All the engineers and aerodynamicists are getting their teeth into what they’ve done today which is good.”
Button finished the day fifth in the final classification with a fastest lap time of 1:25.590. However, the Briton believes McLaren can build on this over the next two days of testing in Barcelona.
“Looking at the timing screens, we’re nowhere near quick enough,” Button said. “There’s a lot of progress that has been made today that we can improve on for the next couple of days.
“Where do I think we are? I think we’ve made good progress but there’s still a long way to go. There’s a lot work with in terms of the way the car feels, but I’ve not really done a massive amount of setup work even today.
“There’s still a lot of work needed to really hone the car to the way that I drive. That’s why I need a good day on Sunday. The feeling is reasonably good, but a work in progress definitely. We’re definitely not where we want to be.”
Kevin Magnussen has taken over driving duties for McLaren on Saturday, replacing Fernando Alonso following the Spaniard’s accident last Sunday.