Button all revved up to race Schumacher on equal terms
Jenson Button is under no illusions about how tough it will be to defend his world championship after his switch from Brawn GP to McLaren, and he is certain that the returning Michael Schumacher will be one of his major sources of competition.
"It's not just me that is excited about Michael's comeback," he said on Thursday, after trying last year's McLaren MP4-24 for the first time in the Woking team's highly advanced simulator. "It's good for everyone in the sport. I'm sure there will be at least eight cars fighting for the win in Bahrain. Michael will be in one of them and I will be in another. And it'll be funny after all these years to see him in a colour that isn't red. I love racing when other top competitors are in cars that are more or less equal. I get a real buzz from that."
He is relishing the chance to take on the seven-time champion in what should be equal machinery for the first time since he challenged Ferrari with his BAR Honda back in 2004. But team-mate Lewis Hamilton will also be a major threat and inevitably will start with the advantage of three years of racing with McLaren and a deep understanding of their psyche and modus operandi thanks to a relationship that goes back to his boyhood. But Button said he did not think that advantage would be too significant, although he admitted that everything is new to him so far.
"I need to get to know quickly how it all works here, and to be ready for the first race," Button said.
"That's what I'm aiming for, getting to know my way around. There's a different way of working in every Formula One team. My initial feeling after winning the world championship was 'wow, I've achieved what I set out to achieve'. But it was slightly strange. I felt that I wanted a new challenge, to run alongside Lewis and to drive for a team that has achieved so much and has so much history."
The simulator will be a major tool in the age when on-track testing is limited to just 15 days in February and is banned thereafter once the season has begun.
"I will be doing a lot of days in it in January and also in February between the track tests," he said. "I need to get as many miles as possible so that I can understand the simulator, especially when we use it as a test bed for new parts. I've been in it already this morning and it was good.
"I think McLaren will produce a good car, and while I know we will have a lot of competition, I think we will be competitive. I'm more motivated than ever."
Manchester United transfer news: Louis van Gaal offloads fringe players as he looks to the long term
Loic Remy joins Chelsea: Striker adds artillery to Diego Costa's firepower
Leicester vs Arsenal player ratings: Who was the star man? Wes Morgan? Leonard Ulloa? Alexis Sanchez?
Tottenham to offer Andros Townsend to Southampton in £14m deadline day bid for Jay Rodriguez
Tottenham vs Liverpool player ratings: Who was the star man? Raheem Sterling? Alberto Moreno? Or new-boy Mario Balotelli?
- 1 Unseen Charlie and the Chocolate Factory chapter deemed 'too subversive' released
- 3 Joan Rivers: 'Palestinians deserve to be dead'
- 4 A teacher speaks out: 'I'm effectively being forced out of a career that I wanted to love'
- 5 Mexican woman becomes world’s 'oldest person' at 127
Robin Williams Emmys tribute led by Billy Crystal criticised for including 'racist' joke about Muslim woman
Rotherham child sex abuse scandal: Labour Home Office to be probed over what Tony Blair's government knew - and when
The Rotherham child abuse scandal is a tale of apologists, misogyny and double standards
What do immigrants really think of Britain? Polish immigrant's Reddit post goes viral
Do you realise just how foolish the UK looks?
With Douglas Carswell joining Ukip, my party has taken another giant step forward