Jenson Button has refused to respond to comments made by Eddie Irvine this week, who has predicted that the 29-year-old will be 'murdered' by his new McLaren-Mercedes team-mate, Lewis Hamilton in F1 2010.

Button inked a deal to go to McLaren back in November and while many have suggested the decision to jump ship from the safe and familiar surroundings in which he swept to F1 World Championship glory in 2009 is something he will regret, the Englishman insists - at least publicly - that he isn't fazed by Hamilton.

Indeed on the surface, Button remains cool and unflustered by talk that his move to the Woking-based outfit is 'madness' [see separate story for Irvine's full take on Jenson's fate - click here].

"I'm not one for answering back," Button is quoted as having said by Pitpass when asked about Irvine's views. "There is no point for me in doing that. For me, the important thing is I'm confident in my ability.

"Everyone is entitled to their opinions. I might not agree with them, but they are entitled to them. In fact, it makes my life a lot easier because I'm in a much more relaxed position than if people were telling me I was going to destroy my team-mate. People's comments don't change anything; the only way it will be changed is on the track this season.

"When I decided to join McLaren and partner Lewis, I knew it was not going to be easy - but it is a challenge that I am very excited about. I don't feel I need to prove anything to anyone. I can just relax and focus on the important stuff, which for me is doing the best job I can and getting the best out of myself and also getting the best out of the team - and not reading newspapers!

"I don't see the point of looking too far into the future, anyway. Nobody knows what is going to happen. All I can say is I am excited about working with Lewis - because that is exactly what we're going to have to do if we're going to be competitive this year. It's all new to me with the team and I've got to get to know a lot of people and how they work, which is going to take a little time, but hopefully we will be ready for the first race.

"Maybe if I had stayed where I was, it would have been harder to get a second title. Maybe I wouldn't have been so motivated, but moving to where I am now, I think it's really motivated me. It's a big challenge, but something that excites me - and something I am going to work really hard on achieving this year."

Meanwhile, Button, who was at McLaren's HQ on Thursday for a seat fitting and a go on the team's simulator, added that record-breaking multiple F1 world champion, Michael Schumacher will be a threat to be reckoned with from the off.

Schumacher will be back in action in 2010 having signed a deal to race with Mercedes - former 2009 F1 constructors' champions, Brawn GP. The German last raced in F1 in 2006 with Ferrari, but Jenson believes he will be fully up to speed when the lights go green in Bahrain on March 14.

"His return is amazing for the sport," Jenson told BBC Sport Online. "Having four world champions racing, and one of them who has achieved more than anyone else in the sport, is great.

"It's an unusual decision by Michael, but he's obviously got his reasons, having three years out of the sport and coming back in.

"Fair play to Ross [Brawn - his former team boss] for getting him on board. I don't think there are many team principals or owners that would be able to get Michael in their car.

"I'm sure it's going to take a couple of tests for him to get back in the groove, but he'll be there for the first race, I know that for certain."


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