Jenson Button has indicated he will not fall in line behind his McLaren teammate until his championship chances are “mathematically” over.
The reigning world champion fell 42 points off Fernando Alonso’s new title lead in Korea on Sunday; 21 points shy of his McLaren teammate Lewis Hamilton’s tally.
Immediately after the race, 30-year-old Button – when asked about his fading chances of defending his title – admitted he is “not really” still able to win the championship.
But later, he told the BBC that his comments had been made “in the heat of the moment”, adding that he is confident he “won’t be asked” by his bosses to play a number 2 role.
“I don’t stand by that (statement) now,” he said, referring to when he earlier wrote off his championship chances.
“You don’t win world championships by conceding defeat before it is all over. You have seen today how things can change,” insisted Button.
With the two wins in Brazil and Abu Dhabi worth potentially 50 points in total, Button’s 42-point deficit means that he is still mathematically able to win in 2010.
“If mathematically I couldn’t win the championship then, yes, I would help Lewis,” he said.
McLaren team boss Martin Whitmarsh said after the race that he thought Button would “voluntarily” back Hamilton’s championship push.
Asked if there was a role McLaren could play in the strategy, he answered: “We will think about that and talk about it before we get to Brazil.
“We’re going away still very much in contention with Lewis and two really interesting races ahead … it’s still wide open,” he added.
Spanish newspapers on Sunday noted that, for example in the event of another DNF for Mark Webber, Fernando Alonso could in theory wrap up the world championship in Brazil next month.
© RIF | GMM