London: Jenson Button has been ordered to “try harder” ahead of the British GP, as Ron Dennis, McLaren’s executive chairman, fired a warning shot to his under-pressure driver.
Button, 34, is out of contract at the end of this year and is heading into what could be his last race at Silverstone, where he has a horrible record with no podium finishes.
While Dennis admitted that the team had failed to give Button winning machinery, he argued that the Briton should be dominating his rookie teammate Kevin Magnussen, whom he leads by 14 points in the drivers’ championship.
“I’m happy with the drivers in the sense I think they are giving their best,” Dennis said. “I’m sure Kevin is giving a big wake-up call to Jenson. 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.’
“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.”
Button’s position at McLaren has been put under threat by the team opening dialogue with Fernando Alonso, as well as Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel, in a bid to bring a star name to the team.