Button Predicts Tough Race For McLaren

Despite two successive 1-2 finished for McLaren, world champion Jenson Button is predicting that the championship leaders could face a hard task in trying to make it a hat-trick in this weekend's European GP.

As well as Ferrari's well-publicised upgrade, which includes a lower exhaust system aimed at using exhaust gases to boost the aerodynamic performance of the diffuser, Renault and possibly Mercedes are also set to debut their own versions of the system in Valencia. McLaren, meanwhile, will have to wait until the British GP at Silverstone to adopt it.

"Coming here, I thought that momentum could be carried," Button said, "but looking at all the cars around us in the pit lane, which I had a little nose at earlier on, there's a lot of new bits on cars. Three new teams have this exhaust system and if it gives as much as we think it might, they are going to be very competitive. We don't have any updates here, we have one at Silverstone in two weeks and so it's going to be a tough race for us, I think."

Button still thinks that McLaren will be competitive around the Valencia streets, a race that team mate Lewis Hamilton narrowly lost to Rubens Barrichello's Brawn last year, and thinks that with the in-season test ban, reliability from the new exhaust systems cannot be taken for granted.

"I'm sure there is potential for reliability issues," he added. "Floors are going to get very hot and I can see teams going through a lot of them. And it's not necessarily going to work straightaway. It's going to take them a bit of time, I hope!

"Other teams are also playing around with the F-duct system as well, so there's a lot going on and we have to get our heads down and get the best out of what we have. The circuit should suit our car quite well, it's the same sort of thing as Canada, but then you have the Ferrari that was quick in Canada but has an update as well. And I Red Bull has strong qualifying pace, it's definitely better than their race pace, and they have some updates here too.

"It's amazing how many teams are putting updates on the car regularly and are going to be competitive from here on. I don't think we've ever seen a year like it."

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