sport

Button not expecting fast start

Jenson Button believes this year's Formula One cars could be almost as slow as those in GP2 in the early stages of the season.

The true pace of the 2014 models was far from unleashed in the first pre-season test in Jerez last week as the teams attempted to get to grips with the new technology at their disposal.

The 2.4-litre V8 engines have been replaced by 1.6-litre V6 turbo-charged power units that now incorporate energy recovery systems.

Button's new McLaren team-mate Kevin Magnussen produced the fastest lap over the four days of one minute 23.276secs, 5.4secs slower than the best on the Spanish track a year previously.

Although the situation will improve as the season progresses, in comparison to the cars in GP2, which is F1's support series, Button said: "They'll be a lot closer on certain circuits.

"We'll be quicker, but not that much quicker. Then again it was the first test with a very new package.

"Last year, in terms of the regulations, things hardly changed at all so at the first test we were going to be quite quick, and you improve for the first race, but it wasn't a massive chunk.

"Whereas now, when we get to the first race, everyone is going to be much quicker, and three races in there'll be another chunk in terms of laptime.

"By the end of the year we might not be that far off (the pace of last year's car), maybe a couple of seconds, which will be pretty good when we get a real handle on where we are."

Explaining that two-second loss of pace, Button added: "This year's tyres, we think, are half a second slower.

"The cars are also heavier, about one to 1.2 seconds through weight, so that's 1.6, 1.8 seconds already from those two changes.

"So this year we were always going to be slower."