Button targets P18 or better for McLaren in qualifying

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Jenson Button heads into tomorrow’s qualifying session for the Australian Grand Prix with low expectations, believing that anything beyond the last row of the grid will be an achievement for McLaren following a difficult winter.

For 2015, the British team has made the switch to Honda power units in a bid to return to the front of the field after going over two years without a grand prix victory.

However, the new engines have proved difficult to work with so far, limiting the team to just 380 laps across 12 days in winter testing. In comparison, pace-setters Mercedes managed 1,339.

The problems continued in practice for the Australian Grand Prix on Friday as Button could manage just 27 laps in total, leaving the Briton with low expectations for qualifying on Saturday.

“I’m hoping it won’t be the last row of the grid tomorrow,” Button said. “It’s not going to be easy, we all know that.

“We have a few problems to solve, but the basic car doesn’t feel too bad. We know it’s not going to be easy, but we’re all working as one team, we’re solving the problems as we go, and, hopefully, we’ll be competitive sooner rather than later.

“We’ll put our heads down and get the best out of what we’ve got this weekend. A lot of hard work will be needed, but we knew that would be the case coming into the season.”

With Manor struggling to get its cars ready for qualifying, and with uncertainty still surrounding Sauber’s participation this weekend, Button and Magnussen may be safe in making it through to the top 15 in Q2 at the very least.

However, judging by McLaren’s form so far this weekend, a top ten finish may be just out of reach for the British team in Australia.

You can watch qualifying for the Australian Grand Prix live on NBCSN and Live Extra from 2a ET on Saturday.

Andretti United team names drivers for inaugural Extreme E season

Extreme E drivers Andretti
Extreme E
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The Extreme E team formed by Andretti Autosport and United Autosports named Catie Munnings and Timmy Hansen as its drivers Monday for the series’ inaugural 2021 season.

Munnings is a successful veteran of rally series. Hansen is a past winner and champion in the World Rallycross Championship.

They both will race in the environmentally conscious electric SUV series that will hold events in five areas around the world that are threatened by climate change. Chip Ganassi Racing and six-time Formula One champion Lewis Hamilton also are fielding cars in Extreme E, which will feature male and female co-drivers on every team.

Catie Munnings

“I’m so excited to join Andretti United Extreme E,” Munnings said in a release. ““I was really intrigued when I first heard about Extreme E, I just knew I had to be involved. The male / female racing partnership is a fantastic and exciting new concept. The season has incredible locations and the racing will be very exciting. It will be a new challenge for the teams and drivers, and I’m so thrilled to be working with such a strong team.

“The championship is a really innovative concept, it’s combining motorsport and science and will produce an important legacy in each race location. Bringing the platform that motorsport has in line with the awareness that the planet needs right now is awesome and a really important message.”

Timmy Hansen

Said Hansen: “Going into the Extreme E will be a new chapter in my career, one that I am extremely excited about. It is something brand new, not only for me, but the whole of motorsport. The format is something

we’ve never seen before. I’m also delighted to be able to carry the message of something bigger – talking about the environment and doing something good for the world – that’s something that really drives me. It’s going to be a big adventure in life to see these locations and I’m going to do my best in carrying this responsibility and hopefully making people aware of the challenges we have in the world, together with our passion for racing.”