Jenson Button will be fully involved in developing McLaren’s next-generation race car, according to team principal Martin Whitmarsh.
And he has confirmed that the team will be sticking to its policy of allowing its drivers a free hand to race each other.
After its disastrous start to 2009 with the initially below-par MP4-24, Lewis Hamilton has repeatedly expressed a strong wish to be closely involved in building its successor. His driving style is considerably different to Button’s with the reigning world champion seeking a smooth and balanced ride while his predecessor favours understeer.
But that doesn’t mean new signing Button will miss out, according to Whitmarsh, who told The Independent: “We’ve always traditionally involved our drivers in the development of the car, and the most important thing we can do in the early days of our relationship is to get Jenson to look at what we do, evaluate it and to ask questions and make suggestions.
“Preparation is everything: with Lewis at the start of 2007, he showed just how much could be achieved with a combination of rock-solid preparation and solid hard work.”
He also said that he was not concerned about the business of managing two star drivers, each with a world title to their name.
“It’s a proposition that some teams might find troubling, but which we are absolutely relishing – it’s a very nice problem to have! We have two fiercely competitive individuals who both fully understand the benefit of teamwork.
“They are phenomenal team players. My job is to manage that racer’s instinct: they are there to race each other – and the only instruction they’ll receive from me is to respect each other on the track. But that’s it – other than that, they’re free to race.”