Q&A with Jensen Button This is the first time you’ve seen the car with the world champion’s number one on the nosecone, how does that make you feel?
“It feels fantastic! Winning the world championship last year was such a momentous achievement for me, but the winter has gone so quickly, I’ve been so busy and so focused on the year ahead, that the 2009 season already feels such a long time ago. It all still feels slightly surreal.
“But it’s an incredible feeling. I’m incredibly proud to be standing here today knowing I’ll be carrying the number one for the whole season: that’s a great responsibility but also a great honor. It’s something I’m relishing. It looks so cool too!”
What’s the plan for next week’s first test in Valencia and the three following sessions
“Lewis and myself will be sharing the test days equally. It would be nice to be able to say that my first day will be about getting used to the car and the team, and making myself feel comfortable with the new environment. But Formula 1 is far too competitive for that: it’s about hitting the ground running.
“From the very first day, I’ll be working with the team to learn about the car and to develop it ahead of the first race. I’ve said it before: the pace of development in those opening tests could well determine the outcome of the championship.
“We’ve seen many times before that the winner of the first race of the season often goes on to take the championship, and we need to make sure we’re in a position to do just that in 2010.”
What’s struck you most since joining Vodafone McLaren Mercedes?
“Two things: firstly, the level of professionalism and commitment that’s always on display. Ever since I first arrived, it’s been clear to see that everybody is enormously motivated by winning and succeeding in Formula 1, and that’s a really healthy attitude, and one that fires me up enormously.
“Secondly, it’s a really warm and friendly team. Perhaps it’s not something you see from the outside looking in, but there’s a real human spirit, and a sense of people helping each other out. That’s something that really struck me, too.”
“I’ve got a great team around me, and I already feel very at home here. I just can’t wait to get in the car and start driving again. It really can’t come soon enough!” (McLaren PR)