Mercedes Grand Prix CEO Nick Fry has admitted that he will be watching the intra-team battle at McLaren with interest next season, following Jenson Button's decision to partner Lewis Hamilton after his departure from Brackley.
While a degree of uncertainty continues to surround Button's exit from the team that took him to the 2009 F1 world title, albeit under the guise of Brawn GP, the Briton looks set to form a powerhouse line-up at McLaren, with the past two world champions running in tandem under Martin Whitmarsh's guidance.
"It's going to be fascinating," Fry told 422race.com
when asked for his views on the battle between Button and Hamilton, "I think Jenson has got a difficult task ahead of him, and that's nothing to do with whether he's got the talent. Instead, it has all to do with going into a team where Lewis has been there for a long time and
knows it very well. According to my experience in F1, for a new driver coming into every
team, it takes months or even most of the first season really to understand the lay of the land. That's quite difficult to do.
"Jenson is a brave lad taking that on, but he's got the raw skill to do it. It's a matter of learning how the team works, he's going to have to accelerate himself up the line very quickly."
Despite suggestions of acrimony between Button and his former employer - the Briton insists that the challenge of matching himself with Hamilton at joining a front-running team as the reason for leaving Brawn, but the suspicion that his pay demands were not being met will always linger. - Fry was quick to claim that there were no hard feelings over the parting of ways.
"Clearly, I've had some nice chats with Jenson at social functions over the last few days and, contrary to what people might think, there's no hard feelings at all," he insisted, "We wish him all the best. We were disappointed that he left our team, but we've got a nice relationship and we all want to work together in the future."