Date: 24th March 2011 at 10:59am
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Considering the winter test sessions that McLaren have endured over the past couple of months, every one expected a very down beat McLaren team to arrive in Melbourne this weekend.

The car has been off the pace in comparison to Red Bull and Ferrari and reliability issues have meant they have not completed as much running as they would have liked over the Barcelona test sessions.

Many would have suggested that not only had Red Bull and Ferrari pulled away from McLaren, that perhaps rivals Mercedes, Renault and even Sauber could well have by-passed them as well and yet, the opening race of the 2011 Formula One season is here and Jenson Button is optimistic.

?We didn’t come here with the quickest car last year but we won the race,? Jenson Button told a the press on Thursday.

The reason behind Button’s positive outlook? The new floor and exhaust system, which will be added to the car before first practice on Friday.

?With the new exhaust system and a few other tweaks then hopefully we?ve made up quite a bit of ground.

?I like the aggressive approach of bringing a new exhaust system here and really fighting for it.

?Whether it’s enough to challenge the top teams we’ll have to wait and see. We could be pleasantly surprised this weekend.?


McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh has estimated that the upgrade is capable of being worth a second in pace around the Melbourne track.

While that may sound a little optimistic, Mercedes suggested their upgrades ahead of the final two days of the Barcelona test would also bring a similar improvement and that was proved right by Michael Schumacher’s lap times, so who is to doubt McLaren are not capable of the same improvements?