F1: Jenson Button says McLaren's image has changed

The former world champion has struggled this season in an uncompetitive car

Jenson Button claims there is a passion burning deep inside McLaren to return to the top in Formula One on the back of a season which has left them bowed but not broken.

McLaren's celebrations this week of the 50th anniversary since their formation - going back to September 2, 1963, when they were originally known as Bruce McLaren Motor Racing Ltd - should have thrown up more of a party.

But the fact neither Button, nor team-mate Sergio Perez, has yet to stand on the podium this season - never mind win a race - means the atmosphere inside the Woking-based marque is a little more stilted than might otherwise have been the case.

But for Button, now in his fourth campaign with McLaren, the 33-year-old is able to paint a picture of a team united in their desire to emerge from a trough no-one foresaw at the start of the year.

"McLaren's image has changed," Button said.

"For me, coming here, you look at the history, what they've achieved and what have you, and that's plain to see.

"But you also think it's very grey, regimented and there's no heart and soul. In a way that's what you think from the outside because you don't experience it.

"But when you are actually within the team you realise it's the complete opposite. They are very passionate people.

"Everyone keeps themselves to themselves, they don't shout too loud outside the team, but the passion and the fire in people's bellies here to succeed is as big as anywhere in Formula One.

"From my experiences, before I came to McLaren and my experience now, that is the big difference. It's seeing the passion.

"When you have a bad season like this it really comes out. You see how frustrated people are that we are all working so hard and we're not able to get the results we feel we deserve.

"A season like this does bring you all closer - it either breaks you or it does make you stronger as a team, and I feel we're definitely not broken. For me, the atmosphere is still very good."

Button has no doubt the family spirit within McLaren will ensure the good times roll again, even if it is unfortunate they will be unable to coincide with this weekend's celebrations at Monza.

"I really feel this is a big family, this team," the 2009 world champion added.

"I know drivers have learned over the years to arrive at a team and say it feels like a big family because it helps the atmosphere within the team.

"But here, this is the truth. It does feel like a massive family, one that really wants to succeed in this sport and will succeed in this sport very soon.

"It's just a matter of time, putting all the changes in and everyone working closely together to make it happen."

PA

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