• Hamilton looking forward to winter testing programme
• ‘I can make this team stronger’ says Button
Lewis Hamilton believes a full winter testing programme alongside Jenson Button could be crucial to McLaren’s hopes in the 2011 Formula One season.
Button joined the Woking-based team at the start of this year after switching from Brawn GP following his title-winning 2009 campaign, and Hamilton is confident having his fellow Briton to share the development of the new car will only enhance its performance.
“I think Jenson will be have a very positive influence on our development over the winter so that we can start testing the new car very aggressively when testing resumes in February,” Hamilton said.
“Obviously, our 2010 car was quite a significant update of our ’09 car, but now I think we have a very good baseline from which to evolve this car into 2011.
“We learned a lot as a team this year – we had a very positive atmosphere within the organisation from the start of the year, and we only built on that during the season.
“Jenson’s arrival made us a stronger team and I think our joint input helped us to stay in the hunt until the very end. I know that we already have our eye on both titles in 2011.”
Button, who finished fifth in the drivers’ standings this year as Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel assumed the mantle of world champion, echoed his team-mate’s view that the team would benefit from a settled line-up heading into the new campaign, which begins in Bahrain in March.
“It will be a good opportunity to get even more integrated with the team. It’s weird, because it will actually only be my first full winter at McLaren-Mercedes, because I only started working here in January this year,” he said.
“There’s lot I think we can do to make this team stronger and better for the new season. We’ve got a year’s worth of experience under our belts, we’ve pushed hard all season, and I think we can take that all away and learn from it over the winter.”