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Button: Drivers' title is not for teams

Friday 10th September 2010



Button: Drivers' title is not for teams

Button: Drivers' title is not for teams

Jenson Button has reiterated his threat to walk away from F1 should team orders again play a part in the sport as he has no desire to become a puppet.

Just six weeks ago Button told Press Association Sport he "wouldn't be interested in racing in F1" if he knew there was the possibility of becoming a number two driver.

The reigning Champion's remark was aired in the days that followed the controversy that surrounded Ferrari and their manipulation of the result of the German Grand Prix on July 25.

Via coded radio messages Felipe Massa allowed team-mate Fernando Alonso to claim the lead, and ultimately the victory.

The stewards, however, saw through Ferrari's scheming and fined the team 100,000 US dollars for implementing team orders.

On Wednesday the World Motor Sport Council found Ferrari guilty of breaking the rules and bringing the sport into disrepute, only to escape further punishment due to the ambiguities of the regulation.

It is a rule that has now been referred to Formula One's Sporting Working Group for review, with every likelihood it will be axed.

That will allow teams to manufacture results as they see fit, and that is a sport Button does not want to be part of.

"It will definitely shorten my career in Formula One," confirmed Button, speaking to Press Association Sport ahead of Sunday's Italian Grand Prix.

"I don't understand it really. Since I've raced in Formula One, team orders haven't helped or hindered me.

"I don't know if it will ever happen, but if the regulation changes so you can have team orders it will be very strange. It does change Formula One.

"We'll have to wait and see, but for me the Drivers' Championship is the Drivers' Championship.

"You obviously work as a team to challenge for the Constructors', and I respect the fact that in the Drivers' you are driving a car built by several hundred people.

"But it should be fair to both drivers in the team. They should both get equal opportunities.

"It is what I've always had in my career and what McLaren have always done, and the way it has been between Lewis and myself."

Button fears his relationship with team-mate Lewis Hamilton will suffer should the day ever arise when McLaren ask one to cede for the other.

"It's not in this team's interests to have team orders," added the 30-year-old, fifth fastest after Friday's practice behind Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel and 0.056secs behind Hamilton immediately ahead of him.

"They want both drivers to be positive, competitive, to have a good relationship and for there to be a good atmosphere within the team.

"It's a great way to work. The working relationship we have now is fantastic, and it would be sad if that wasn't there in the future."

Button also believes F1 will lose its appeal as a spectacle and as a contest should the FIA choose to lift the ban on team orders.

"It's a very different way of going racing," said Button.

"If you look at German touring cars, they have two manufacturers and after the first three or four races it seems they all get behind one car.

"It's a strange sport to be involved with if that's the case, and I still hope it won't happen.

"If we want to see good racing then the way it is is the best way.

"I think it adds to the excitement of the sport having 24 cars on the grid fighting for a victory, or fighting it out on the circuit rather than just 12 cars."

Hamilton admits he can appreciate Button's perspective, although unlike his fellow Briton has no intention of quitting.

"In his heart he (Button) is a racer, and when rules mean you could become a puppet, it's not what you want to be a part of," Hamilton told Press Association Sport.

"I wouldn't want to be in that position, so I can understand what he is saying.

"For me, I would have to adjust. I would have to up my game to stay in front, but you can't always be in front because you are against the toughest drivers."

Hamilton, however, has no intention of playing the team orders game, other than in exceptional circumstances.

"If I'm in a certain position I deserve to be in that position, so it (giving way) wouldn't feel right for me," added Hamilton.

"However, if it meant my team-mate could win title, that's different.

"If he has done a better job than me over the year, and then he is behind me, on my tail, quicker than me, I wouldn't make my car as wide as the track.

"I'd still make him work for it, and he'd maybe do the same, but I don't think he would cut me up and crash into me for example."

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