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Now firmly entrenched at McLaren, Jenson Button is looking forward to the new season and working with a brand new teammate, Mexican hot shot Sergio Perez.
"I had three fantastic seasons racing alongside Lewis, but nothing stays the same in Formula 1 and people move on," the Englishman told McLaren's official website. "It's always interesting to have a new team-mate, there's that inevitable getting-to-know-you period when you're settling in, but I'm really pleased to have Checo at McLaren.
"We all saw what he was capable of doing behind the wheel of a Sauber last year and I think he's a very good addition to this team," he added.
"The most important thing is that you have a good working relationship, that you can share ideas and information freely and that you're working together with the engineers for the good of the team. That's never been an issue at McLaren and I think we're going to work well together . Checo may only be 22, but he's very sensible and he knows what's needed to get the most from the car, so I predict it'll be a very strong partnership."
With few rule changes, the 2009 world champion feels that this should be reflected on the track, feeling that the 2013 Pirelli rubber shouldn't cause as much of a problem as last year when team spent the first half of the season getting to grips with the new rubber.
"I think all the teams will go into this season feeling more assured about the Pirelli tyres," he said. "As you know, last year was a bit of an unknown as we all got to grips with the new rubber, but that's less likely to happen this time around, so there's more stability there. There are differences to the tyres - the shape and the compounds - but I don't think they'll be as fundamental to the overall car performance as they were last year.
"In terms of regulations, yes there is some stability," he continued, "so I expect most teams will have continued to refine their car package over the winter. It's always really interesting to see how the cars develop during a period of rules stability, because you watch the progress from year to year as the engineers refine and improve their thinking and ideas. You can literally see how the car has improved from season to season. It's crazy.
"I hope there's stability for another reason, too," he admitted. "I won the last race of 2012 so it would be perfect to win the first race of 2013!"
Three weeks ahead of the first test, Button is as motivated as ever and is eager to get to work. "I've never, ever lost that feeling of excitement and anticipation ahead of a new season. And testing the new car is always such an adventure, because it's such a dense and complicated procedure; in fact, testing a new car is very much in keeping with the Bruce McLaren ideal. Back in the 1960s, I heard about Bruce endlessly testing his cars, chasing improvements and stamping out problems and reliability issues.
"Testing is where you see a racing driver at the opposite end of the spectrum to when we're in a grand prix," he continued, "it's never really about raw speed; it's about process, repetition, repeatability, about following your instincts but backing it up with good engineering.
"It's an absolutely fascinating process, and you can see the fruits of your labour unfolding before your eyes, day after day. It's a part of the job that I really enjoy. Can't wait!
"It's funny, but the start of the winter break always feels so long and open-ended, but, before you know it, you're looking at the calendar and making plans to get back to MTC and start working again. I have to say, I always look forward to the start of a new year - I've never lost that enthusiasm throughout my entire career - and I think we have a lot to look forward to during the year ahead."
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