Yet to score a single point in its Marussia or Virgin guises since 2010, the team did finally beat rival Caterham to the coveted tenth place in the constructors' championship last year.
And in pre-season testing ahead of the 2014 season, Marussia's new MR03 - powered by a Ferrari 'power unit' for the first time - looks considerably quicker than Caterham's struggling Renault-powered machine.
McLaren driver Button is quoted by Brazil's Totalrace: "It's interesting to see how some teams have improved their cars suddenly.
"There are several teams that are strong at the moment," he added. "Even Marussia -- their car is much better than last year.
"I think people will be surprised at how they are actually competitive," said Button.
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