Eponymous team boss Ross Brawn has played down suggestions that Jenson Button is buckling under the pressure of leading the Formula One world championship, claiming that even seven-time champion Michael Schumacher showed signs of tension in each of his title-winning campaigns.
The Briton has only scored eleven points in the past five races, having six of the previous seven - and finished third in the other - to open out a comfortable championship lead over Brawn team-mate Rubens Barrichello and Red Bull duo Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel. While that gap remains the same as it was after Button won in Monaco, much has been made of Button's state of mind after the seemingly happy-go-lucky persona of earlier in the year was gradually replaced by a more serious outlook.
Brawn, however, insists that his charge is not feeling the pressure of being unable to repeat his earlier success and extend his advantage with five races remaining.
"I think there's naturally been a change, because he's now leading the world championship, which I don't think he's done before," Brawn told journalists at Monza, "That's a new experience for him and, undoubtedly, that does influence your everyday thinking.
"When you're a driver who turns up to every race and you can do well, it's great but, if you don't, so what, that's different to building a championship year. I've seen it in every driver I've worked with - if you're in a year when you don't have a chance to win the championship, the drivers try just as hard, they're just as committed, but it has a different flavour, a difficult character, to when you're having to build points, even in different situations.
"So I do see a change in Jenson, but I see it as a positive change, I see it as something where he's diligently thinking about how he puts together a championship year, and how he works on trying to maintain his position. But I don't see anything negative in his approach or his attitude.
"Just to repeat, I've been fortunate enough to experience this many times and, even with Michael, who did it seven times, the seventh time was just as tense as the first time. Yeah, sometimes being out in front in a championship is the most difficult position, because the cars behind haven't a lot to lose. The guy in the front is the one who has everything to lose and it's the same with a motor race - when you're leading, it's more difficult than [it is for] the guy who's behind, who's trying to have a go and can maybe be a bit more adventurous in his strategy or his driving. That's the way it is.
"It's ten years since Jenson fought for a championship or more, so he's having to re-engage his thoughts on fighting for a world championship. What I see is perfectly normal and I don't see anything negative about it for sure."