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Consistency key to beating Red Bull - Button
Jenson Button believes McLaren can take the fight to Red Bull in 2012 if it can build on its recent form over the winter and come out in testing with a more consistent package.
McLaren secured second in the constructors' championship at the Indian Grand Prix, but the team has not been a match for Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel over the course of the season. Button is finishing his year on a high with two wins and four other podiums from the last seven races, but said McLaren would have to up its game again if it wants to compete for the championship next season.
"The consistency has not been there in terms of performance," Button said when asked for his views on 2012. "We've had some very good races this year, and we've won some races and come close to winning, but we haven't had the consistency throughout the year like Red Bull and Sebastian. One weekend we'll be fighting for a win or get a win and then two weeks later we won't be so competitive - that's something we need to look at and sort out for next season.
"We're ending this season in a better way than we ended last year and if we can carry on with that and make some progress I think we can start 2012 well and that's exactly what we need to do. Formula One is so competitive these days and we're not racing against amateurs, you've got be there from the word go and that's got to be our aim."
McLaren had a nightmare start to the year when the car flopped during pre-season testing, proving unreliable and slow. Team principal Martin Whitmarsh said the rest of the year had been an uphill struggle.
"We had a terrible winter and our first long run was the Australian Grand Prix," he said. "We did a bit of a recovery there but we plateaued out, we didn't make enough progress. We regrouped and made a bit more progress and along the way we had some great progress. We've had some great driving by both of our guys and we've won five races. We've been on the podium at every race bar one, but still not been quite quick enough.
"We seem to be quick enough to beat one Red Bull, but we haven't been quick enough to beat the Red Bull driven by Sebastian. I think we haven't been quite there and in this competitive arena we've got to make sure as a team we don't make mistakes and have a quick enough car - we haven't always had a quick enough car."
Earlier this season the team announced it would appoint ex-Williams technical director Sam Michael as sporting director next year, in order to iron out some of its operational errors. According to Autosport Williams will now allow Michael to join McLaren for the remaining two races of the season in order to get started in his role and be in the best possible position at the start of 2012.
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