Jenson Button has been getting to grips with the new Pirelli tyres as the world of Formula One revs up for the start of the 2012 season.
The McLaren racer admitted the tyres are a “key” component in ensuring success during the season which opens in Melbourne on March 18.
Button revealed that McLaren know they have to keep pushing as hard as possible with the development of their MP4-27.
The former world champion took over the Mercedes-powered challenger from Lewis Hamilton for today’s penultimate day at the first Barcelona test and carried out a similar programme to the one his team-mate completed on Wednesday.
Like Hamilton, Button cleared a century of laps – 114 – and finished with a time of 1:23.918 which secured him a respectable fourth place on the timesheet.
“We’ve done a lot of reliability work over the past three days – more than 100 laps on each day,” he said.
“Most of that has been longer runs, getting used to the feeling of the car over a long-run and set-up work for the longer runs.
“We’ve also been really working hard to understand this year’s Pirelli tyres and getting the car to work efficiently around them. That’s a key part of the programme this winter.”
Button, who will wrap up the test for McLaren tomorrow, said the Woking squad have to stay focused on improving their own package over the remainder of pre-season, with the first upgrade ahead of the opening race set to be fitted to the car in time for next week’s final test.
“There are a lot of cars out there that look competitive: so we’ll keep pushing,” he added.
Alex Kapadia, Operations Team
“We should hopefully bring our upgrade package to the next test and that will see us through to the first race in Melbourne.”