Jenson Button has admitted that he is in a much better mood as he prepares for the start of the Formula One season, compared to last year.
Preparations for the 2011 season were difficult, and despite contending with the front-runners in Australia, McLaren were very much off of the early pace set by Red Bull.
While the British team did manage to turn it around by the latter stages of the championship, it was too little too late as Red Bull and Sebastian Vettel romped to victory.
However, with the 2012 season due to start this weekend, 2009 world champion Jenson Button is optimistic of the team's chances.
“Arriving in Melbourne I'm a lot happier than I was last year. We've had a good winter in terms of reliability most of the time, except for my final day when the car had a hydraulics issue,” he told Sky Sports.
McLaren enjoyed a much more fruitful pre-season schedule compared to twelve months ago, and while they may not have topped any of the time-sheets in testing, Button believes they are well placed to push for honours this time around.
He continued by saying that he was pleased with direction the team are going and believes that their radical design will reap dividends. “I feel we have made good progress with the car, and there's nothing I'm afraid of with its balance. It listens to changes which is really important,” he said.
“I'm very happy with the direction we've taken and with the package we have on the car, very happy, and I'm happy with what we've achieved so far.
"As long as we find a good set-up with the new package we should be looking pretty good for the first race.
"So it's been a really good winter. The whole team will say the same in terms of what's been happening with the car."
Button ended the 2011 season strongly and pipped Red Bull's Mark Webber to second place in the championship standings. However this time around, he will be hoping for a much closer title fight, but concedes that it is hard to determine who has the best car on the grid.
"It's been very difficult to read pace over the winter because a lot of teams have been playing their cards close to their chests. I think it's going to be extremely close, and I can't wait to find out where we sit in the pecking order,” he said.