World Champion Jenson Button says he is more motivated than before as he aims to retain his crown with the McLaren team in 2010.
The Briton has joined McLaren from Brawn GP, with which he took his first drivers' title before joining Lewis Hamilton at the Mercedes-powered squad. Button says he is fired up for the upcoming season.
"Obviously, my aim is to keep the number one on my car for as long as possible," Button said on McLaren's website. "But, at the moment, it's a little bit too early to start talking about the World Championship. The backbone of any title challenge is built on good preparation, hard work, focus and dedication.
"And the hard work starts here – the next 10 weeks could well largely dictate the destiny of the 2010 World Championship, so it's crucial that we start testing very strongly and that we never let up.
"I'm more motivated than ever to work with the team and my engineers, and I'm extremely positive for the year ahead."
The World Champion, who appeared in McLaren's colors for the first time over the weekend, said he is already feeling at home with his new team.
"Obviously, it's fantastic to be part of one of the most famous names in Formula 1," he added. "But it's also exhilarating: I'd been at the same team for seven years so this is a big cultural change for me, and something that I'm really looking forward to.
"There are a lot of new faces to remember and lots of names to learn – and that's all got to be done alongside the engineering and limited testing we have ahead of the 2010 season. But I'm loving every minute of it – the atmosphere within the team feels fantastic, and I've already started to feel at home here. I can't wait to get out in the fantastic new car the team has built for me!"
Button will not test his new car until February but said there is already a lot of work to do to be prepared for the challenge of retaining his title.
"Having no testing until the first week of February is something of a mixed blessing," he admitted. "It gives me the time to really get to know the guys at Vodafone McLaren Mercedes, and to properly integrate myself into the team – which I am absolutely committed to doing – but, equally, it's another month without any running in the car, and getting miles under my belt will be crucial ahead of the first race.
"So, it's only natural that there will be a lot of factory-based work for the next few weeks. I'll be starting to work with my engineers, who are a fantastic bunch of guys. But, honestly, I really cannot wait to get out to Valencia and get my first run in the MP4-25 – I think that's when it will finally sink in that I'm a Vodafone McLaren Mercedes driver."
Teammate Hamilton said he is also looking forward to seeing the new McLaren in action. "Yes, I'm excited and can't wait to see it and test it," Hamilton said of the team's new chassis. "Hopefully, it's going to be great for our team next year. I'll be working closely with my engineers and the team to make sure we all hit the ground running with the new car.
"You can never take competitiveness for granted in Formula 1 – we saw that last year. So, our common goal has to be to make MP4-25 a winning proposition as quickly as possible. Only once we've achieved that can we start looking at winning races and then, eventually, the World Championship."