As Jenson Button heads into his seventeenth F1 season this weekend in Melbourne, the British driver says his motivation and drive remain intact.

Keeping the 2009 world champion’s spirit whole has not been an easy task since the McLaren-Honda partnership took hold of Button’s current destiny.

But he was adamant that he wouldn’t even be on the grid if doubt had crept in.

“Definitely, I wouldn’t be here otherwise, there’s no point, ” Button reflected.

“I’d be at home. I’m very excited, as soon as you get in the car you want to give your maximum because you want to do the best job you can for yourself.

“You look at every single tenth here and there compared to your team-mate, compared to everyone else out there. If you make a slight mistake it’s very frustrating, so the buzz is still there.”

While returning himself and his team to a competitive level remains the mid-term goal, it’s all still a work in progress between McLaren and Honda according to Button, but one which has developed well over the winter.

“It’s night and day. There’s a very good understanding now. When I speak to the engine engineers they have a very good grasp of where I’m coming from.

“They’re fantastic engineers, they speak good English and did last year but it’s working with an F1 driver that’s pretty new to most of them.

“There’s a good relationship, I’m very happy with the people we work with here at the circuit. Under pressure they’re very good as well which was obviously an issue in the early days with very little experience but they’ve learnt a lot over the last season.”

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Button was also encouraged by the recent nomination as Honda boss of Yusuke Hasegawa.

“We worked together back in the nineties, ten years ago. He’s a great character, very strong personality, perfect English, interacts with everyone in the team, the chassis engineers, mechanics. He’s very good for this partnership.”

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