McLaren boss Martin Whitmarsh is confident that having two champions in the same team will be a positive rather than a negative. Earlier this month, McLaren announced that they had persuaded current world champion Jenson Button to join the team and partner last year’s world champion Lewis Hamilton.
However some F1 fans have their doubts about the pairing, voicing concerns that there could be fierce rows within the team – a concern that McLaren will be all too familiar with thanks to their pairing of Alonso and Hamilton in 2007, and Senna and Prost in the 1980s.
However Whitmarsh believes that the new driver pairing will be good for the team.
We feel confident that, as an organisation, we’ll be able to manage the demands and expectations of our drivers,” he commented to British newspaper the Independent.
“Lewis and Jenson are both world champions, they know what it takes to win, and I’m sure they’ll both be very motivated to push each other to deliver even greater results.
“It’s my job to positively harness that competitiveness for the greater benefit of the team.
“It’s a proposition that some teams might find troubling, but which we are absolutely relishing – it’s a very nice problem to have! We have two fiercely competitive individuals who both fully understand the benefit of teamwork. They are phenomenal team players.
“My job is to manage that racer’s instinct: they are there to race each other – and the only instruction they’ll receive from me is to respect each other on the track. But that’s it – other than that, they’re free to race.
“We’ve always traditionally involved our drivers in the development of the car, and the most important thing we can do in the early days of our relationship is to get Jenson to look at what we do, evaluate it and to ask questions and make suggestions,” said Whitmarsh.
“Preparation is everything: with Lewis at the start of 2007, he showed just how much could be achieved with a combination of rock-solid preparation and solid hard work.
“One of the most important tasks will be to get Jenson familiarised with our procedures: how we work at McLaren and how we go racing. He’ll need to start putting names to faces, of course, but it should all be a very straightforward job for someone of his experience.”