Jenson Button had reiterated his confidence that the new McLaren car, which received an upgrade in Barcelona last weekend, can challenge this season.
The former World Champion enjoyed a strong practice season in Spain, and heads into the Australian Grand Prix full of confidence on the new Pirelli tyres.
Speaking in an interview after the practice concluded, Button was evidently relishing the prospect of a new campaign.
He was full of praise for the work of the McLaren team too, with the latest car avoiding many of the problems that previous haunted exhaust systems used in the 2010-2011 season.
"I'm very happy with the direction we've taken with the car and with the package we have," he said.
"Last year we had problems with the exhaust. We also had the problem that we just weren't very fast, even when the exhaust did work."
With Pirelli's new tyres set to provide a newer, softer compound for drivers in 2012, Button also remains confident of improving on last year's runners-up finish.
"The field will be bunched up a lot more now. Red Bull won't have the advantage they had out of the blocks last season," he said.
Posted by Danielle Barge