x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 22 January 2018

Let-him-pass orders concern Button and Hamilton

Jenson Button has joined the growing chorus of criticism regarding team orders that may yet result in severe sanctions being taken against Ferrari.

Jenson Button has joined the growing chorus of criticism regarding team orders that may yet result in severe sanctions being taken against Ferrari. The famous Maranello marque were punished on Sunday after the German Grand Prix by stewards who fined them US$100,000 (Dh367,000). The matter, however, has been referred to the World Motor Sport Council who, if they choose to pursue the case, have unlimited powers of punishment at their disposal.

The incident saw coded messages being passed to Felipe Massa that eventually resulted in him slowing to allow team-mate Fernando Alonso to pass and claim victory. Button said: "Personally I think team orders in Formula One are wrong, in any motor sport category, although sometimes they are inevitable. We all want to win, and I know that every team wants to win, both the constructors' and drivers' championships.

"But they have to give both their drivers the same opportunity to do so. This was very early in the season. How early is it going to start in the future?" For any driver given the message "your teammate is faster", as was the case on Sunday to Massa from Rob Smedley, his race engineer, the likely reaction is speed up, not slow down. "If I was told my teammate is faster, I would think my teammate is faster, so I would keep driving and hope he doesn't overtake me," Button added.

Echoing his McLaren teammate's sentiments, Lewis Hamilton, the championship leader, said: "My reaction would be to go faster, that I need to find the time. "For me if my engineer came across the radio, and just because I know how things are in our team, the message would be 'Jenson's faster, you've got to find time in the first and second sector'. "As simple as that, which means pick up the pace if you can. It's encouraging rather than telling you. It's a lot different."

* PA