Button primed for new season

  • Last Updated: January 16 2013, 18:54 GMT

A "massively motivated" Jenson Button believes he and McLaren have plenty of reasons to feel optimistic about 2013 as they continue to gear up for the new season.

Jenson Button: High hopes for 2013

The 2009 World Champion assumes effective team leader responsibilities at the Woking outfit this year following the departure of Lewis Hamilton and has already made clear he sees this as his best chance yet of winning a second drivers' title.

And having spent part of his winter break training in Hawaii, Button says he feels ready for winter testing to begin in three weeks' time.

"It's been a fairly typical winter for me: lots of training, but in a relaxed way, and lots of outdoors work, too, which always makes it more fun," he told McLaren's official website in his first interview of the year.

"I was in Hawaii for part of the break - I managed to fit in running a marathon, doing a lot of miles on my new bike, as well as seeing friends, relaxing and eating well. I feel absolutely refreshed and ready to go!

"I have to say, I always look forward to the start of a new year - I've never lost that enthusiasm throughout my entire career - and I think we have a lot to look forward to during the year ahead."

With the F1 retirement of Michael Schumacher at the end of last season, Button assumes the mantle of the most experienced driver on the grid in 2013.

But despite preparing to begin his 14th season at the top level, the Briton, who turns 33 on Saturday, declared he is "always massively, massively motivated" at the start of pre-season.

"As I said, I've never, ever lost that feeling of excitement and anticipation ahead of a new season," he added.

With Hamilton now at Mercedes, Button is joined in McLaren's line-up by the 22-year-old Sergio Perez and the team's elder statesman is confident they are set to form a "very strong partnership".

"We all saw what he was capable of doing behind the wheel of a Sauber last year and I think he's a very good addition to this team," Button predicted.

"The most important thing is that you have a good working relationship, that you can share ideas and information freely and that you're working together with the engineers for the good of the team.

"That's never been an issue at Vodafone McLaren Mercedes and I think we're going to work well together - Checo may only be 22, but he's very sensible and he knows what's needed to get the most from the car, so I predict it'll be a very strong partnership."

With relative rules stability over the winter, McLaren should be well placed to challenge for the World Championship once again in 2013 having gone into the winter with back-to-back wins in Austin and Brazil.

Pirelli have promised to renew their aggressive approach to tyre choices in the new season but Button, who struggled with warm-up issues last year, doesn't think teams are set for a repeat of the tyre conundrum that defined the early races of 2012.

"I think all the teams will go into this season feeling more assured about the Pirelli tyres," he added.

"As you know, last year was a bit of an unknown as we all got to grips with the new rubber, but that's less likely to happen this time around, so there's more stability there.

"There are differences to the tyres - the shape and the compounds, but I don't think they'll be as fundamental to the overall car performance as they were last year."

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