Button 'looking forward' to lead McLaren role
2 December 2012 – McLaren driver Jenson Button is “really looking forward” to his role as the team’s lead driver in 2013, following Lewis Hamilton’s exit from the Woking-based outfit. Button will naturally become the leading figure at McLaren as the 2008 World Champion moves on to Mercedes, with Sergio Pérez joining from Sauber.
Having won three races in 2012 to finish only two points shy of team-mate Hamilton and being ten years the senior of the new Mexican arrival, the pressure is on the experienced driver to prove he can be the top man within the garage.
"I really enjoy being the lead driver and being the guy who can really help the team improve the car and sort of mould the car around me," Button told ITN.
"I'm really looking forward to 2013 because of that; I've got a couple of months to really mould the team and the car around me at the factory. The good thing about McLaren is that they really listen to what a driver has to say - we're an important part of the puzzle - it's not just driving the car, it's developing the car and that really means a lot to me."
Having been team leader at BAR Honda and having outscored Hamilton on overall points over their three seasons as team-mates, Button is not one to be intimidated easily. The 2009 World Champion also thinks it will be some time before Pérez can have a significant input in car development.
"Coming in to the team it's really for him learning about the team and about the car," said the 32-year-old.
"Then during the season, when he gets a handle on it, he can help with the direction. At the moment it's impossible because he hasn't driven a McLaren before so he doesn't really know how it's going to be."