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F1: Jenson Button needs to try harder, says McLaren boss Ron Dennis

Jun 30, 2014, 5:39 PM EDT


Ron Dennis realizes that his McLaren team has not had the greatest of seasons and doesn’t have the greatest of cars.

But that isn’t keeping him from spurring on his veteran driver, Jenson Button, to do better.

Button, the 2009 World Champion, is ahead of rookie teammate Kevin Magnussen in points but not by a resounding margin (43-29).

After coming up with a solid fourth-place finish in Canada, he regressed in the most recent Grand Prix in Austria, finishing 11th.

“Do I want him to try harder? Of course I do,” Dennis said of Button in a recent interview with Britain’s Sky Sports. “He’s a highly paid Grand Prix driver.

“Yes, we’re not giving him the best car. Yes, it’s challenging for him to win in this car. But he could do his bit. And Kevin has got to make it as difficult for him as possible.”

In regards to Magnussen, Dennis believes that his efforts are giving Button “a big wake-up call.”

Dennis continued: “In some ways, you say: ‘Great, we’ve made a great choice with Kevin.’ 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 teammate.”

Button has chalked up a better overall finish than Magnussen in six of the eight races this season, but Magnussen has more finishes in the points with five to Button’s four.

However, since they both hit the podium in the season-opening Australian Grand Prix (Magnussen 2nd, Button 3rd), Button has had the best points finish between the pair with the aforementioned fourth in Canada.

With that said though, it’s clear Button hasn’t exactly blown Magnussen out of the water. Some of that can certainly be placed on the deficiencies of the MP4-29, but it looks like Dennis thinks that Button himself needed a bit of extra motivation, too.

  1. testover6370 - Jun 30, 2014 at 7:03 PM

    When Perez started significantly outperforming Button last season they sacked him. I’m sure that cooled any fire Perez lit under Jensen.

  2. techmeister1 - Jun 30, 2014 at 7:42 PM

    Perez got sacked for driving into Button on the front straight at 200 mph and for showing the same poor judgment again this year in wrecking Massa and himself. Like Grosjean, Perez needs to drive within his ability not beyond it. Those who continue to be crashers in F1 end up on the outside looking in.

    As far as Button’s driving is concerned, he has more than likely done the best possible with an uncompetitive car. Dennis is pissed that he hasn’t been able to instantly turn McLaren back into a competitive team. Chastising your drivers when they are giving 100% is a good way to lose good drivers. It took Toro Rosso awhile to figure this out. You’d have though Ron could have bought a clue after his boy Hammy jumped ship. The data shows it’s not the drivers, it’s the cars.

    • testover6370 - Jul 1, 2014 at 1:45 PM

      Are you referring to Bahrain? If so,
      1) That wasn’t on the front straight
      2) wasn’t 200 mph
      3) Was just as much Button fighting hard

      McLaren criticized Perez heavily for not being aggressive enough. Then they freaked out when the realized he took that to mean taking the fight to the much slower Button. If you want to talk poor judgement, take a look at Austin 2013. Every time Button set foot in the car he did something stupid to earn a penalty.

      The problem with McLaren is fundamentally the car, but Button can also safely assume he has a protected position in the team and any challenge to him will not be tolerated. Same as Red Bull and Ferrari. And that has to date only worked out well for Red Bull.

  3. kando53 - Jul 1, 2014 at 7:06 PM

    Really stupid to so openly criticize your top driver, especially when their cars are so lacking. Also rather ridiculous of the reporter to harp on the narrow point difference when the cars are so lacking, and when points between quite divergent places are so narrow. Considering Button has pointed fewer times than his team mate and yet has still significantly out pointed him overall, shows he’s easily the number one driver on the team.

  4. worknman24hours - Jul 3, 2014 at 12:18 PM

    Jensen would be wise to go out there and drive the car as hard as he can until it breaks from now on.

    What Ron Dennis is saying in Ron Speak here is that Jensen does’nt show more effort here he will be replaced on track next year.

    The code part is the ‘he gets paid alot of money’ statement.

    The back side of that statement is that Ron clearly feels he is not getting his money’s worth from Jensen for all the money Jensen gets paid.

    Jensen is getting near the end of his F1 career and Ron has many drivers he can put in Jensen’s seat right now and get exactly the same results.

    He wants Jensen to show the cool, fast, upfront results Jensen did at times during the early part of his career.

    F1 drivers like Jensen who have evolved into a happy life with a great personal side to their fast times on track often get lulled into a mindset where they think they simply deserve a drivers seat because of the dedication of effort they put forward in the past.


    Jensen might as well retire at the end of this season if he keeps driving like he has so far this season.

    Ron has warned you.

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