Jenson Button has warned that it will take time for McLaren to get on top of its 2014 Formula 1 challenger, which was launched on Friday.
The team’s MP4-29 has had a longer gestation period than some of its rivals after McLaren responded to a disappointing 2013 campaign by switching some resources early.
Button says that is no guarantee of success, however, given the magnitude of F1’s rule changes ahead of the 2014 season.
“I think this formula is too big, and too complex, for a single team to feel secure about getting everything right and quickly establishing an advantage,” said Button. “I don’t think anybody will be coming out of this first test feeling certain that they’ve cracked this new formula.
“It’ll be more of a case of slowly peeling away successive layers as the engineers and designers gather more information and gain an understanding of how the cars and power units are behaving. We’ll see that being gradually refined throughout the forthcoming tests and into the opening races.”
“SITTING ON THE EDGE OF THE UNKNOWN”
Button said every team was in a similar position in having to deal with such large number of new elements.
“I think every single person in Formula 1 is sitting on the edge of the unknown,” he added. “That’s both exciting and unsettling in equal measure.
“There will be lots of things going through my mind when I settle myself into the cockpit for the first time in Jerez next week.
“But, above all else, what I’ll be looking for is that simple, positive feeling you get from knowing that the car beneath you is a solid platform; one you can work with, and one you can develop throughout the season.
“I don’t think anybody’s anticipating the next few months to be easy. I can’t imagine anybody in the pitlane would admit to that. But our aim must be to make progress all the time, and to learn positively as we go.”
Button’s new teammate Kevin Magnussen said the sweeping regulation changes could work in his favor ahead of his rookie F1 campaign.
“You never reach a point where you feel completely ‘ready’ – there’s always more you can do — but I think every team and driver is going to be feeling uncertain going into the pre-season,” Magnussen said. “In a way, the regulation changes makes things a little easier.
“At that first test in Jerez, everybody will be easing themselves into something new, rather than just getting in the car and driving away, so I’ll really be no different from any other driver.”