SILVERSTONE, England (AP) — Jenson Button has hit back at his McLaren team boss Ron Dennis for saying the 2009 world champion needs to try harder to be more successful.
Button, the most experienced active driver in Formula One, reacted during a news conference at Silverstone on Thursday for the British Grand Prix this weekend.
McLaren’s poor form and lack of competitiveness was not the fault of one man, but the team as a whole, Button said.
“Ron is practicing to be a motivational speaker, maybe. When we are in the position we have been in for 18 months, it is not easy,” he added.
“And for anyone in the team, it is very difficult. We all need to work harder as a team. I don’t think we should be pointing the finger at any individual.
“I don’t do things in half measures. I have the experience to know you have to give 100 percent, and I always do – in the paddock, at the factory, on the phone to the engineers. Everything is 100 percent.”
Dennis, the chief executive officer of the McLaren group and driving force behind the team’s rise to success in the 1980s and 1990s, made his comments during a television interview this week.
He suggested that Button, a veteran of 255 races, should try more to outperform his McLaren teammate, Danish rookie Kevin Magnussen, who has taken part in only eight grand prix.
Button was eighth in the standings, 122 points behind leader Nico Rosberg. Magnussen was 10th.
Dennis said: “I’m happy with the drivers in the sense I think they are giving their best. I’m sure Kevin is giving a big wake-up call to Jenson.
“In some ways you say: `Great, we’ve made a great choice with Kevin.’
“But in other ways you say: `Come on Jenson, you are a world champion and absolutely one thing you can do on a consistent basis – and you should be doing it – is beating your teammate.’
“Do I want him to try harder? Of course I do. He’s a highly paid grand prix driver.”
Dennis’ remarks suggested that Button’s career with McLaren might end this year.
But Button said: “We will see. For me, right now, it is about doing the best job I can. The whole team are working every day to do a better job.
“We are not where we want to be, not where McLaren is used to being. We know that, we are working very hard – but in terms of the future it is something I cannot discuss right now.”