Button feels McLaren are on the right track

Wed Jan 29, 2014 2:36pm EST
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By Alan Baldwin

JEREZ, Spain (Reuters) - McLaren's new Formula One car made a belated but encouraging test debut on Wednesday with Jenson Button hopeful the team was picking up speed on and off the track after a dismal 2013 season.

McLaren announced in the morning that Frenchman Eric Boullier, the former Lotus team principal, would start work on Monday in the new role of Racing Director - effectively running the team at grand prix weekends.

Former principal Ron Dennis has also wrested overall control of the team back from Martin Whitmarsh, whose future is uncertain but almost certainly lies elsewhere.

Button, the 2009 champion now in his fifth year at McLaren, welcomed Boullier's appointment.

"I think it's good to have fresh ideas," he said.

"I think he does add to the team. The team will never be changed by one individual, but I think he does add something and I think when the management structure is complete we will be in good shape."

McLaren suffered their worst season since 1980 last year, failing to appear on the podium with Button's fourth place in Brazil their 'highlight' result.

The former champions knew they were in trouble from the very first test but Wednesday's evidence, with Button top of the timesheets and the rumor mill talking of them having a 'secret weapon' with an innovative rear suspension design, was more promising.   Continued...

McLaren Formula One driver Jenson Button of Britain drives the new MP4-29 during pre-season testing at the Jerez racetrack in southern Spain January 29, 2014. REUTERS/Marcelo del Pozo