Jenson Button believes that he will not be at a serious disadvantage to Lewis Hamilton in 2010 but has admitted that he will need time to adjust to life at his new team.
The 2009 World Champion moves to from Brawn to McLaren this season to form an all-British line-up with Lewis Hamilton.
Although Button is under no illusion regarding the task facing him in 2010, the Briton has downplayed any suggestion that he will struggle to beat Hamilton – although he does concede that his team-mate will go into the season in a stronger position, having had more experience with McLaren.
“I’m not going to say he (Hamilton) starts with a big advantage,” Button told the Reuters news agency. “I will say that it is all new to me with this team.
“I’ve got to get to know a lot of people within the team and to know how they work and it’s going to take a little bit of time.”
“For me, the important thing is that I’m confident in my ability and I think that everyone is entitled to their opinion.
“All I can say is that I’m excited about working with Lewis, because that is exactly what we are going to have to do to be competitive this year.
“Really it makes my life a lot easier because I’m in a much more relaxed position than people telling me that I was going to destroy my team-mate.”
“I can just focus on doing the best job I can and getting the best out of myself and also getting the best out of the team. In a way, I don’t think it’s a negative thing.”
Button also admitted that his motivation to achieve in Formula One may not have remained so strong if he had remained with Brawn.
“Maybe if I stayed where I was it would have been harder to get a second title. Maybe I wouldn’t have been so motivated. But moving to where I am now I think it has really motivated me,” he continued.
“It is something that really excites me and something I am going to work really hard on achieving with the team this year.
“I am more motivated than ever to have a good season this year. I feel a lot more relaxed, a lot more confident in my ability and also the way that I work with the team.”
The Brit is also relishing the opportunity to fight once more with Michael Schumacher.
“I think it is amazing for the sport,” he added “I think having four world champions racing, and one of them who has achieved more than anyone else in the sport, is great.
“It’s an unusual decision by Michael but he’s obviously got his reasons… you’ve got to say fair play to [team boss] Ross [Brawn] for getting him on board. It’s great having him back on the grid and I look forward to the challenge this year with him.”