JENSON BUTTON has amazingly revealed he will quit Formula One if team orders are reintroduced into the sport.
Last weekend’s controversy in the German Grand Prix, in which Felipe Massa was forced to give up the victory in favour of Ferrari team-mate Fernando Alonso, has blown F1 apart over the past few days.
Opinions have been divided on whether the rule, introduced after the tumult that followed the 2002 Austrian GP when Rubens Barrichello allowed Michael Schumacher by on the final corner for the German to claim the win, should now return.
F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone earlier this week played on the team element surrounding the sport and insisted team principals should be allowed to make the decisions.
But the likes of Red Bull boss Christian Horner believe the sport is far healthier if drivers are allowed to compete and race against one another.
That is the kind of F1 Button wants to be involved with, not the shams that unfolded in Austria and Germany in which the fans made their voices heard by claiming they felt cheated.
“I wouldn’t be interested in racing in F1 if, from the first race, you know there was the possibility of being a number one or number two driver. What’s the point?” Button said
“You’re here to win, to be the best, and you should have equal opportunity to the next guy that’s driving the same car.
“He should also get every opportunity otherwise it’s not a drivers’ sport any more, it would be a complete and utter team sport.
“Formula One is a team sport, but when you cross the finishing line you are the person who wins the drivers’ championship.
“We have the constructors’ and we have the drivers’, and that’s the way Formula One is. So for me, if it wasn’t down to the individual, I wouldn’t be interested in racing any more.
“One of the biggest buzzes in F1 is fighting your team-mate, and for me, fighting a world champion is such a buzz.
“If I suddenly realised he didn’t have the same equipment as me, or I was being favoured, then I wouldn’t be happy about that because I would think we’d all been cheated.”
Button appreciates a team that has a policy of playing fair can lose out, as McLaren did in 2007 when Lewis Hamilton and Alonso missed out on the championship by a point to Kimi Raikkonen.
But then the 30-year-old would want to win the title knowing he had done so on his own merits.
“Sometimes it can hurt you having two drivers who are fighting for a championship,” added Button.
“But also it can help because you are pushing each other very hard and developing the car quicker because you are working together.
“So there are positives and negatives to having two fast guys in the team.
“We all want to win the championship and when you cross the line you want to know you’ve done the best job you can and the team has done the best job they possibly can.
“When you cross the line you want to know you’ve won a race and a championship in the right way.
“It does mean a lot to you, and I’ve never done it any other way.”
Following yesterday’s two practice sessions ahead of tomorrow’s Hungarian Grand Prix, Button was forced to settle for the ninth best time, over 1.5secs adrift of Sebastian Vettel.
Chasing his seventh pole of the season and fourth in a row, Vettel was half a second quicker than Alonso and Red Bull team-mate Mark Webber, with Felipe Massa fourth and Lewis Hamilton sixth.
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