Button: Ron’s practising to be a motivational speaker

Jenson Button with media at Silverstone

Jenson Button with the media at Silverstone

On the eve of the British Grand Prix Jenson Button jokingly brushed aside criticism from Ron Dennis after the McLaren Formula 1 boss suggested that his driver needs to “try harder”.

“I think Ron’s practising to be a motivational speaker,” the 2009 champion told reporters ahead of his home race at Silverstone. “You know, when we are in the position that we have been in for 18 months, it’s not easy,” he added. “For any of us in the team it’s very difficult.

“So I think we all need to work harder. As a team. I don’t think we should be pointing a finger at any individual in the team. We’ve got ourselves into this situation and we’ve got to fight our way out.”

McLaren have not won a race since Button’s last triumph in Brazil at the end of the 2012 season. They failed to finish on the podium at all last year.

This year they started promisingly with Danish rookie Kevin Magnussen second in Australia, after Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo was disqualified, and Button third but they have not been in the top three since.

Ron Dennis with Jenson Button in happier times

Ron Dennis with Jenson Button in happier times

They are currently sixth in the constructors’ standings. Button, the most experienced driver in Formula One, is out of contract at the end of the season with his future uncertain, even if he wants to stay to see in the new engine partnership with Honda.

Dennis, a shareholder in the team which he ran with great success from the early 1980s to 2009, regained control from ousted Principal Martin Whitmarsh before the start of the season and has vowed to return McLaren to the top.

He told Sky Sports News last week that he felt Magnussen was “giving a big wake-up call” to Button, which he said had vindicated their decision to bring the Dane into the line-up.

“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 team mate,” he added.

“Do I want him to try harder? Of course I do. He’s a highly paid grand prix driver. Yes, we are not giving him the best car; yes, it would be challenging for him to win in this car to say the least, but he could do his bit and Kevin has to make it as difficult for him as possible.”

Jenson Button and trainer Mike Collier run the Silverstone track on Thursday

Jenson Button and trainer Mike Collier run the Silverstone track ahead of the British GP weekend

Button rejected any suggestion that he was not pulling his weight, the 34-year-old said, “I don’t do things in half measures.”

Button will be one of three Britons on the track at their home race but former McLaren team mate Lewis Hamilton, now with dominant Mercedes, is the favourite and the only one of the trio with a real chance of victory.

“All the pressure is on Lewis,” grinned Button when the Britons were asked whether any of them could rescue the country’s sporting summer after World Cup defeat and Andy Murray’s exit from Wimbledon.

Regarding his future with the Woking outfit Button said he is keen to race his current car’s 2015 successor, to be powered by a works Honda engine.

“I would like to stay,” said Button, “This team has a bright future and the partnership with Honda will help the team a lot, having that connection with a manufacturer. But it isn’t the only team in Formula 1.” (Reuters)