“If I’m not, I don’t want to be here”- Jenson Button discusses the conditions related to Lewis Hamilton he told McLaren before joining.
Jenson Button had a historical F1 championship win in 2009 with Brawn, and in the following year, he went to join McLaren, who had a talented one-time F1 championship winner Lewis Hamilton.
Looking into McLaren’s debacle with Fernando Alonso and Hamilton, Button gave an ultimatum to them related to Briton, which the Woking-based team had to follow to ensure Button’s arrival.
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“I remember walking into McLaren and the first thing I said before I met anyone, I spoke to Martin Whitmarsh, I spoke to Ron Dennis, and I said, ‘My first question is, is this Lewis’ team, am I going to have equal treatment here?'”
“Because if I’m not, I don’t want to be here,” Button told The High-Performance Podcast. “And they said, ‘Yes, everything will be 100 percent equal between both of the drivers’.”
“I said now I can start and then I walked in, met everyone, and got a pretty good rapport with the team very quickly.”
My dad established a friendly environment in McLaren
Button reveals that when he stepped into McLaren with his dad, the atmosphere was pretty cold, but soon the warm interactions between the team and his entourage made it a friendly place.
“My dad would walk in, [he] was always in the background. He would speak to the engineers. It was quite a cold atmosphere and he made it a lot more friendly.”
“And you know my manager was great, my physio, my PR man. I think it just made everyone a bit more relaxed in the team and drivers weren’t these alien people that you can’t talk to within a team.”
The Briton went on to serve McLaren for the next six years before ending his career in F1.