Jenson Button feels that privateer teams stand no chance of being able to compete fairly with Toyota in the FIA World Endurance Championship’s LMP1 class despite recent efforts by the series to equalise performances.

After comfortably winning the opening two rounds of the WEC super season at Spa and Le Mans, Toyota swept to a one-two finish on-track in the 6 Hours of Silverstone earlier this month, finishing four laps clear of the best-placed privateer car.

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This victory margin came despite tweaks under the Equivalence of Technology rules made by the series organisers in the lead up to the race to try and draw the LMP1 pack closer together.

However, both Toyota cars were disqualified after failing post-race scrutineering, handing Rebellion Racing an unlikely one-two finish with its pair of non-hybrid cars.

Driving for the privateer SMP Racing team, 2009 Formula 1 world champion Button said he felt it did not matter what changes were made to the rules, as Toyota’s hybrid technology and manufacturer status would always give it a significant advantage.

“You can’t limit a private team, because they’re never going to be as quick as a hybrid factory team,” Button said.

“They’re spending over 100 million, and we’re minuscule compared to what they would be spending and development and what have you. There’s no comparison.

“They’ve also got four-wheel drive. The tyres that we use were built for a Toyota. So we overheat the rears and we never get the fronts working, because the fronts are built to be driven by power, so the fronts are as wide as the rears.

“For balance as well for us, it’s really tricky, because that front tyre is so wide. So we get a lot of pick-up on the front tyres.

“Everything works against the privateer.”

Asked if more changes were required to the rules to help privateers fight Toyota, Button said it was “up to Toyota” to help create closer racing.

“We’ll never be as quick as the Toyota because it’s a works team. They have unlimited funds,” Button said.

“We’re very limited, we’re a privateer. They have a hybrid system, they have 300 horsepower more than us. You’re never going to beat them, and the tyres are built for their car, not ours.

“You’re never going to beat them unless they decide they want competition.

“I think we’ve just got to understand the fact that hybrid manufacturers are not competing with a private team.”

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