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Alonso & Button happy with McLaren progress

Between them they have won three Formula One World Championships and 47 Grand Prix.

The partnership of Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button is one of the most experienced on the grid and arguably the strongest pairing in Formula One.

Both have bought into the project at McLaren. After dropping the dominant engine power of Mercedes, McLaren teamed back up with Honda.

McLaren Honda is a partnership engrained in the history of Formula One and together again McLaren hope that the longer team future will be stronger paired with the Japanese manufacturer rather than being a customer of Mercedes.

It's a long term project, one that 33-year-old Fernando Alonso believed in enough to cancel his contract at Ferrari early to join and one that 35-year-old Jenson Button fought tooth and nail for with his career on the line.

But it hasn't started well, winter testing was a disaster. The team was slow and unreliable, whilst a bizarre accident left Alonso in hospital.

The Spaniard was forced to not only sit out the final winter test session but also the opening race of the season in Australia.

Button was joined by last seasons team-mate Kevin Magnussen and the pair qualified at the back of the grid. Magnussen then suffered a reliability issue on route to the grid and never started the race.

Button did finish the race, but was well off the pace.

In Malaysia, Alonso returned, but whilst an improvement was made the McLaren's were still only capable of beating a Manor Marussia which was turning a wheel for the first time since the team fell into administration at the end of 2014.

That said it was progress and for Alonso and Button that appears to be enough to keep the pair positive.

'That sort of progress really gives the whole team belief and confidence in the path we're taking, The steps we took between Australia and Malaysia were extremely impressive.' Alonso told the BBC.

Button added: 'There is definitely progress being made. I hope we can build upon our pace and performance in Malaysia.'

But according to McLaren racing director Eric Boullier the duo should be prepared for less visible progress in both China and Bahrain later this month.

According to the McLaren boss the team are not taking steps in a manner that will show development at every Grand Prix.

'We are fully aware that the next two races probably won't show quite the same rate of improvement as we witnessed at Sepang.

'That's a natural consequence of the fact that the performance gains we're finding aren't linear in fashion - some will be for performance, some for efficiency, and others for reliability.'

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The Journalist

Writer: Red5 Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Wednesday April 8 2015

Time: 11:00AM


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