Reigning F1 World Champion Jenson Button has called upon his new McLaren-Mercedes team-mate, compatriot and title-winning predecessor Lewis Hamilton to 'share everything' and 'work together' with him in 2010 as the pair bid to keep the trophy in Britain for a third consecutive campaign.
He might be entering the lion's den in some respects in taking Hamilton on head-to-head in the team that the Stevenage-born ace has practically made his own over the last few years, but whilst some cynics are predicting that Button will be eaten alive for his foolhardy bravado – or 'murdered', according to Eddie Irvine [see separate story – click here
] – the man himself reveals that having just turned 30 and with a new challenge in front of him, it is he who is the 'hungry' one.
“I have never been so hungry as I am this year,” the seven-time grand prix-winner told BBC Sport
, despite BBC F1
pundit David Coulthard opining that in joining McLaren, his fellow Brit has 'put his balls on the line' [see separate story – click here
]. “It's a real challenge coming to a new team and working alongside Lewis.
“Some of the new hunger is because of the new environment. That's given me a real buzz, and I can't wait to get back to the factory to move us forward so that we can be competitive as soon as we step out on the circuit in February for the first test.”
That test outing will come at Valencia in less than two weeks' time, with Jerez and Barcelona staging further sessions during February, ahead of the curtain-raising Bahrain Grand Prix in Sakhir in mid-March. Having spent seven years with his previous employer – in its varying guises of BAR-Honda, Honda and latterly Brawn GP, with whom he lifted the laurels in 2009 – Button revealed that he has rapidly adjusted to his new surroundings, and is now eagerly anticipating both his working relationship and his duel with Hamilton.
“It's amazing how quickly you can feel part of the team,” he acknowledged, following a week spent in Finland with his new fitness trainer and some time on McLaren's simulator at its Woking HQ. “That's always a worry when you move from team-to-team, but I've fit in pretty quickly.
“I haven't talked to Lewis this year, but I spoke to him last year in December. For both of us it's great to work together, because we have both achieved what we set out to achieve initially, we have been through some pretty tough times and we have a lot of experience.
“We need to share everything – that's the key for us being ready at the first race – and I look forward to working with him. We will see what happens when we get out onto the circuit, and hopefully we can produce a car that's competitive enough that we will be fighting at the front.”