Team orders not in teams' interests, claims Button
11 September 2010
Jenson Button has insisted that removing the ban on team orders would not help teams - and could ultimately lead to him deciding to quit the top flight.
The reigning world champion, no doubt with one eye on his current situation where he trails McLaren team-mate Lewis Hamilton by 35 points with six races remaining, argued that morale could be affected if one driver was asked to support the other's title ambitions. The FIA this week admitted that the rule banning 'team orders which interfere with a race result' would be reviewed by the F1 Sporting Working Group following the World Motor Sport Council's decision not to inflict further punishment on Ferrari following the German Grand Prix.
"I don't understand it really," he told Reuters, "Since I've raced in F1, team orders haven't helped me or hindered me, [but] it's not in this team's interests to have team orders because they want both drivers to be positive - and competitive - and to have a good relationship for there to be a good atmosphere within the team.
"I don't know if it would ever happen but, if the regulation changes so you can have team orders, then it will be very strange. It does change F1."
Despite appearing to enjoy the 2010 campaign, where he won two races early on before dropping behind both Hamilton and Red Bull's Mark Webber, Button has admitted that the return of team orders could cause him to rethink his involvement in the sport.
"It will definitely shorten my career in F1," he insisted, "I will be racing for the next year or so in F1, and I will enjoy it, but it does change your views of the sport a little bit if it ever happened.
"It's a very different way of going racing. If you look at German touring cars for example, they have two manufacturers and, after the first three or four races, it seems they all get behind one car. It would be a strange sport to be involved with if that's the case, [and] I still hope it won't happen. If we want to see good racing, then the way it is the best way. We shouldn't have team orders.
"You obviously work as a team to challenge for the constructors' [championship], and I respect the fact that, in the drivers' [championship], you are driving a car built by several hundred people, but it should be fair to both drivers in the team. They should both get equal opportunities. It is what I've always had in my career and what McLaren have always done, and the way it has been between Lewis and myself."
McLaren team-mate Hamilton, who holds a tenuous three-point lead over Webber heading into this weekend's Italian GP, also insisted that he did not want to see team orders made permissible.
"No, I like it just the way it is," he told the official F1 website, "The reason is that I would not want to be in that position. I am here to race and I have worked hard to get here. Of course, you are always racing for the team, but then you also want to win out of your own right - because you deserve to. To have that denied by team orders would go against everything in my heart."