Now that McLaren driver Jenson Button is effectively out of this year’s title chase, he seems to be exhibiting a definite case of sour grapes. Speaking of potential winners of this year’s World Championship, Button told The Sun, “I don’t care who wins it really.”
He did, however, offer an opinion on potential three-time title winner Fernando Alonso, who could clinch the title next weekend by finishing second, regardless of how anyone else comes in. “Some will be disappointed with what happened at Hockenheim and question whether he deserves it,” Button said, referring to this year’s German Grand Prix at Hockenheim, where the Ferrari team brass ordered Felipe Massa to move over for team mate Alonso, granting him the Spaniard the win.
Seven points is the gap between first and second, and is thus the advantage that Alonso gained from Massa’s letting him through. Alonso’s lead over second place holder Mark Webber is currently only eight points.
Some, including former FIA president Max Mosley, have suggested that the title would be tainted should Alonso win it only by virtue of Massa’s gifting him the win at Hockenheim. “I just hope if he wins it then he does so by more than seven points,” said Button.
Others in the paddock, however, have said that the current ban on team orders is absurd, and that it’s time to repeal the rule. The FIA announced earlier this year announced that they would review the rule once the season was over.
Button went on to express his own view that team orders are anti-competitive and bad for the sport. “I like the way Red Bull let their drivers fight,” he said. “That is the way it should be. You fight all the way through your career to get into F1, to get into a good car, to win races. If you still have a chance of winning the world championship, you should be given equal opportunities and it is good to see they have said that is important.”
OF course, one wonders if he would’ve had this same attitude if he’d been waging a tight race for the title against a rival team in 2009, the year he won all the laurels himself. For much of the 2009 season, Button’s main rival was his own team mate Rubens Barrichello, so there was no chance of team orders. But had he been running neck and neck with Sebastian Vettel or Fernando Alonso for most of the season, with Barrichello in a position to support his title bid, the 2009 title-winner might have sung a different tune.