Mar 21 2013
Jenson Button says panic has not gripped McLaren following their poor start to the season, but knows they must crack their issues sooner rather than later otherwise their title hopes will be over.
After an horrendous Australian Grand Prix weekend that showed McLaren to be woefully off the pace, Button is not expecting too much relief from the misery in this weekend's second race in Malaysia. The issues with the Woking-based team's car are many and so complex that Button, who came ninth in Melbourne, has no idea when they will be rectified.
Asked whether there was panic at McLaren, the 33-year-old said: "I wouldn't use that word. But we're working bloody hard to get back to the front because this is not where we expected to be. It's definitely not where we should be."
As for his title hopes, Button added: "I don't know. I don't know what other people are going to do.
"If Kimi (Raikkonen, the race winner in Melbourne) doesn't finish in the points on Sunday, and if the guy that wins does not finish in the points in the race after that, then there might be an opportunity this year.
"But if Kimi goes and wins the next four races he is going to have a 90-point lead over me, so it's very tricky. The good thing is there are a lot of reasonably competitive teams who can take points off each other."
Button has experienced many lows throughout his career before finally enjoying the high of world title glory with Brawn in 2009 and his subsequent move to McLaren.
The weekend in Melbourne marked another low point, but Button knows he was overdue a spell of ill fortune.
"For the last four years I've been racing in F1, throughout the year I've had good cars and been able to win grands prix," he said. "But that can't always be the case. You are going to have tough times and I've experienced enough of them to know that even with a great team it can happen.
"If I was in a smaller team I'd be worried, but because it's McLaren I know we can develop the car and find one that really works for us. I know we're not in a great position, but I know we can improve."