Jenson Button could be asked to support Lewis Hamilton in the F1 title race as the season goes on, although the man himself insists he isn't yet prepared to take a back-up role.
Button has endured a difficult season since winning the opening round of the year in Australia and is 88 points behind Fernando Alonso in the title race, while team-mate Hamilton is 41 points better off heading to Spa for the Belgian Grand Prix.
With Hamilton in a better position as far as the championship is concerned, McLaren boss Martin Whitmarsh admitted that Button could be asked to support his fellow Briton - although only when the time is right.
“There may well come a point [when Button is asked to help] but with nine races to go and with 25 points available per race win, things can change quickly,” he said in the latest Vodafone McLaren Mercedes phone-in session. “McLaren prides itself on going into each championship giving both drivers an equal opportunity to win races and fight for the championship. We therefore have to be measured in terms of when we talk to those drivers about putting their support behind another.
“I can assure you both drivers will be going into the Belgian Grand Prix trying to win the race we will do everything we can to let them have a go at it.”
Quizzed about Whitmarsh's comments when he then appeared before the press in Thursday's FIA press conference at Spa, Button said he would only be prepared to support Hamilton's title bid when it was no longer possible for him to be champion himself.
"I think it's a pretty pointless conversation right now," he said. "[40 points to Hamilton] is not a big margin; it's less than two wins. Half of the grid is in front of their team-mates and the rest of the grid is not going to turn around and help their team-mate win the championship because you tend to still think you have a good chance. Until that chance has gone you are going to fight for it.
"I'm not here to just race around and help my team-mate win a championship because I'm here to fight and to do the best job I can for myself first of all and also for the team. I think it would be a pretty boring championship if there were only 12 of us fighting for the victory and the rest of us there to help our team-mates. It's not the sort of Formula we should want. I'm going to be fighting all the way until I either win the championship or it's not possible."