Button and Brawn ready for challenge ahead

buttonJenson Button says he is ready for the start of the 2009 Formula One season after lapping quickest in Jerez as Brawn GP concluded its pre-season preparations.

The Briton completed an impressive 114 laps of the Spanish circuit and posted the fastest time of the week on a 1:17.844.

“We have had a very useful test in Jerez this week, particularly today where we have been able to fine-tune the set-up of the car to my liking ahead of the first race,” said Button who spent the day evaluating different chassis setups.

“Even after such a short testing programme, I feel that we are ready for the challenge ahead in Melbourne, however we will still need every minute of the Friday practice sessions to make the most of our first race weekend.”

Brawn GP have dominated the last two tests in Spain – much to the surprise of the paddock – and the team are well poised to challenge at the front of the grid when the new season kicks off in Melbourne on March 27.

“We have had a very useful test in Jerez this week, particularly today where we have been able to fine-tune the set-up of the car to my liking ahead of the first race,” confirmed team boss Ross Brawn.

“Even after such a short testing programme, I feel that we are ready for the challenge ahead in Melbourne, however we will still need every minute of the Friday practice sessions to make the most of our first race weekend.”

Williams driver Nico Rosberg was second fastest ahead of Renault’s Nelson Piquet.

“My final day of testing went really well and I’m pleased that we were able to do so many laps,” said Piquet. “We were looking at the car’s aero performance today as well as doing some set-up work in preparation for the first race and overall we found a good balance with the car.

“It was pretty windy, but the track conditions were good so we were able to get a lot done. I’m now ready for the season to start next week and I think as a team we can be happy with the work we’ve done over the winter.”

Lewis Hamilton continued to struggle with the handling of his McLaren-Mercedes and posted the slowest time of the day.

McLaren said in their testing notes: “Lewis completed more than 500km today as the team continued to refine MP4-24 ahead of the Australian Grand Prix.”

“The programme was a continuation of the work started yesterday, namely the evaluation of a series of small aerodynamic modifications to the car s bodywork.”

“The test was hampered by a strong gusty wind that limited accurate assessment of the new parts. Heikki joins the test for Wednesday and Thursday in order to continue the programme.”

RESULTS (All timings are unofficial)

Pos Driver Team Time Laps
1. Jenson Button Brawn GP 1:17.844 114
2. Nico Rosberg Williams 1:18.071 66
3. Nelson Piquet Renault 1:18.382 133
4. Lewis Hamilton McLaren Mercedes 1:19.121 121