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Motorsport | Formula 1

Button keeping the faith



Former world champion Jenson Button refused on Thursday to rule out another title bid this year, despite a dreadful start to the season, and said that he was keeping faith with his much-criticised McLaren.

The Briton was down in ninth at the season-opening race in Melbourne and retired in the closing stages of Malaysia. His new teammate Sergio Perez has fared little better.

McLaren made wholesale changes to their car for this season, the only team on the grid to do so, but the MP4-28 has been widely panned.

"It's so easy after Melbourne for people to say,'let's go back to last year's car' and I think easy even from my point of view because the last few races of last year we were quickest," Button said ahead of the Chinese Grand Prix on Sunday.

"But what we have done with the car is, I think, the right thing. It's hurt us a lot, especially in the first race, and it might sill hurt us in Bahrain (after China)," said the 2009 world champion.

"But the idea was always to have a car to develop through the season and we felt at the end of last year that we were at the end of everything with last year's car.

"We expected all the other top teams to do the same thing (make wholesale changes to their cars), so then we wouldn't have lost anything.

"We didn't expect all the teams – except us – to go the same direction. That has hurt us.

"But the championship is still completely open. There are still 17 races to go and if we can be fighting at the front in the next few races, that is very encouraging."

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