Date: 4th March 2016 at 8:42am
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2009 Formula One World Champion Jenson Button has been feeling optimistic ahead of the new 2016 F1 season.

The British driver, alongside his two-time Formula One World Champion team-mate Fernando Alonso has been testing the new McLaren Honda in Barcelona.

The new Honda engine appears to have taken a step in the right direction.

During 2015 and the Japanese manufacturer’s maiden seasons since its return to Formula One, the power-unit suffered with reliability issues and performance issues.

It was neither quick or reliable, which led to a lot of poor performances, penalties and retirements.

The new power-unit appears to have improved over both areas.

‘It’s the biggest improvement I’ve felt with the power unit in the last 14 months, which is good! ‘The improvement is good, but obviously we’re still a long way off the other guys. You can see that in the speed traps, but you can definitely feel the difference on the initial part of the straight. Button told motorsport.com.

They key part for McLaren is actually completing some running enables them to build on a solid foundation, something the team never had last season.

‘It’s positive, I think the important thing is we were able to do quite a few laps. We were held up a bit by some niggles, some red flags, but we’ve got that reliability which is important.’

He added: ‘I’m hoping we won’t be hanging off the back.

‘There’s still a lot of work before I feel we are properly competitive.