McLaren's Jenson Button has warned record-breaking multiple F1 world champion Michael Schumacher that 'no-one is going to give him an inch' during F1 2010 and that he better watch his back.
Schumacher's return is one of the big talking points ahead of the new season, which kicks off next weekend in Bahrain and while Button has no doubts that the 41-year-old will still be extremely competitive, he is looking forward to going up against him again, especially as the playing field will be more even.
"No one's going to give him an inch," Button told British tabloid newspaper, The Mirror
. "It's great to be racing him on an even basis. We have had good races in the past - but then his Ferrari was one second a lap faster all season.
"He will be a main competitor this year. He's with a good team, they've won the championship, they know what to do. Lewis [Hamilton - my team-mate], I know, is pretty excited about racing Schumacher.
"He will still be the old Schumacher, he hasn't lost it, he wouldn't have come back unless he wants it again and his speed hasn't changed."
Button will start the year as the reigning champion and having the number one on his car is something that makes him very proud.
"I'm really looking forward to getting into my car on Friday morning in Bahrain and knowing that I'm the world champion," he continued. "It's a responsibility and an honour - but it's something I'm going to enjoy for as long as I can. I don't want to lose that number from my car!"
Asked about his preparations for the F1 2010, Button added that he has been happy with the progress made during the winter tests, although he knows there are a number of teams that look quick.
"My winter has been an incredible learning experience - joining Vodafone McLaren Mercedes has provided me with exactly the sort of challenge I needed. I have put every effort into working with the team, my engineers and learning about my car to ensure that we start the season in Bahrain in the best possible shape.
"Even after four weeks of testing though, it's incredibly difficult to predict the order ahead of the new season. There are a number of teams and drivers who appear to be in the hunt, and, as with the start of every new season, it will be fascinating to see who emerges as the team to beat.
"I've never known a team work as hard as we have done over the winter - I've spent more time with my engineers this winter than I have before any other season, and I feel very, very comfortable about my preparations," he summed-up.