Jenson Button insists that he is excited about his return to F1 with McLaren in Monaco – and admits that he still has a lot to learn about the MCL32.
The former World Champion turned down the chance to test the car after he was given the job of standing in for Fernando Alonso.
“Preparation has been good, apart from I obviously haven’t driven the car, with these new regulations,” he said. “So it’s not perfect. [There was an] opportunity to do half a day in Bahrain, which I thought was absolutely useless for me to do, a completely different type of circuit, so I said to the team I think it’s best if I do a few days in the simulator. Obviously there’s drivers who love the simulator, so I was raring to go!
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“I spent a lot of time in the simulator just getting a feel for it. It’s been interesting. Most of the stuff is the same, but there are few things that are obviously different – the difference in regulations, and then there’s just the changes from year to year with new technology. A few things to learn, but it’s still a racing car. Just got to get used to it being a bit wider.”
Button insisted he wasn’t under any extra pressure to get a good result after Alonso showed so well in qualifying in Spain.
“Definitely not. I’m very relaxed, very excited actually. It’s interesting coming back for one Grand Prix, it being Monaco. I’ve won it before, I’ve been here 17 years, and had some really experiences here. It’s exciting, but I don’t feel any pressure at all. I’ll obviously get in the car and do the best job I can, that’s what I’m here to do. In everything I do in life, I’m the same. You get the best out of yourself, and the best out of the team and equipment you’re working with. That hasn’t changed.
“The car seemed to be working well in Barcelona qualifying. Fernando did a good job, but I think it proves the car itself is working well. I drove in the simulator, I drove the upgrade, which is working well. If it’s all straightforward this weekend we should be reasonably competitive.”