Jenson Button believes that it is “just a matter of time” before McLaren returns to form and is fighting at the front of the field in Formula 1 again.
McLaren has not won a race since the end of 2012 and finished a lowly ninth in last year’s constructors’ championship as its rekindled engine partnership with Honda encountered a number of teething problems.
Button and teammate Fernando Alonso have enjoyed an upturn in fortunes at the beginning of the 2016 season, scoring 24 points from the opening six races. The team scored just 27 across 19 rounds in 2015.
Button admitted that it will be a while before McLaren is fighting at the front of the pack again, but takes courage from the atmosphere at the team.
“I think it’s going to be a while before we’re competitive enough to fight for big points, but we are making good progress,” Button said ahead of this weekend’s Canadian Grand Prix.
“People would think that this is a circuit that wouldn’t suit our car. I think it’s going to be alright. We’ve come here with some updates that should help us. We’re efficient in terms of our car. I know ExxonMobil has been working hard with Honda, with fuel, so I’m feeling positive.”
Button said that despite the pressure placed on the team from the outside, it remains focused on the task at hand and the progress being made.
“From the outside, you’re always asked the questions ‘where is it? When are you going to be competitive?’ Then every time I speak to the press it’s ‘how about now?’ It’s unbelievable, the pressure from the outside,” Button explained.
“From the inside, we know where we are. We know we’re improving. The atmosphere in the team is very good. There is a lot in the pipeline. It’s always very difficult.
“We’re in a season where we want to get the best result we can. With the regulation change next year, it changes everything. But I’m happy with the progress that is being made.
“There is a good feeling. We feel a lot of the time we’re getting the maximum out of the car. We’re still quite a way off the pace, but it will come.
“It is just a matter of time. But it always takes longer than you want.”