Mike Stevens | Oct 26, 2010

Jenson Button has indicated he will not fall in line behind his McLaren teammate until his championship chances are "mathematically" over.

The reigning World Champion fell 42 points off Fernando Alonso's new title lead in Korea on Sunday; 21 points shy of his McLaren teammate Lewis Hamilton's tally.

Immediately after the race, 30-year-old Button - when asked about his fading chances of defending his title - admitted he is "not really" still able to win the championship.

But later, he told the BBC that his comments had been made "in the heat of the moment", adding that he is confident he "won't be asked" by his bosses to play a number two role.

"I don't stand by that (statement) now," he said, referring to when he earlier wrote off his championship chances.

"You don't win world championships by conceding defeat before it is all over. You have seen today how things can change," he said.

With the two wins in Brazil and Abu Dhabi worth potentially 50 points in total, Button's 42-point deficit means that he is still mathematically able to win in 2010.

"If mathematically I couldn't win the championship then, yes, I would help Lewis."

McLaren team boss Martin Whitmarsh said after the race that he thought Button would "voluntarily" back Hamilton's championship push.

Asked if there was a role McLaren could play in the strategy, he answered: "We will think about that and talk about it before we get to Brazil.

"We're going away still very much in contention with Lewis and two really interesting races ahead ... it's still wide open," he said.

(GMM)

 

Only 'Disaster' Can Take Title From Alonso: Briatore

Only a "disaster" will prevent Fernando Alonso from winning his third drivers' title in 2010.

That is the claim of his manager Flavio Briatore, who said the championship challenge is now a straight fight between two drivers in his stable: Spaniard Alonso and Red Bull's Mark Webber.

"Alonso will lose the World Championship only with a disaster," the Italian told Sky Sport 24.

"For Vettel it's impossible, Hamilton the same. The only two who can win are Alonso and Webber," said Briatore.

"And for Alonso I see the chances at 80 per cent, except if Red Bull changes their strategy.

"For Alonso he has always driven the same way, only the Ferrari has become better and more reliable," he said.

Briatore is highly critical of Red Bull's refusal to get Sebastian Vettel to fall in line behind Webber, surmising that the Austrian team "have the best car but it seems like they're trying to lose the championship.

"And they're getting there," he added.

(GMM)

 

Schumacher Brothers Urge Red Bull To Use Team Orders

The Schumacher brothers are adamant Red Bull must now impose team orders if it wants to win the 2010 drivers' World Championship.

Their young countryman Sebastian Vettel - after controlling Sunday's Korean Grand Prix from pole position -looked set to take the points lead from teammate Mark Webber, who crashed on the slippery Yeongam circuit.

But Vettel also retired from the race with an engine failure, leaving him 14 points shy of Webber, who is now 11 points behind new championship leader Fernando Alonso.

With just two races to go, Ralf Schumacher thinks Red Bull's new strategy should be obvious.

"Now Red Bull need to play a single card; Mark Webber," the former Grand Prix winner, in Korea to commentate for German television, is quoted by Bild newspaper.

"Sebastian needs to get as many points as he can, but Red Bull must see to it that Webber gets the title," Schumacher added.

Reluctantly, because it will be to the detriment of his friend Vettel, seven-time World Champion Michael Schumacher also said a team strategy must now be taken by Red Bull for the remaining Brazilian and Abu Dhabi Grands Prix.

"I'm sorry for Sebastian," he told German television Sky. "I have to recall almost a decade ago, when everyone thought we at Ferrari were crazy to be thinking about the championship so early.

"But if Red Bull had done the same, their worry lines would be much smaller now," added the German.

His reference to "almost a decade ago" must surely be about 2002, when Ferrari was roundly condemned for moving Rubens Barrichello aside so that Schumacher could take maximum points from the Austrian Grand Prix.

Ferrari implemented a similarly controversial strategy at Hockenheim earlier this year, and on Sunday Fernando Alonso moved to the head of the drivers' title standings.

But Red Bull team boss Christian Horner was quoted on Sunday as saying he will not be making Webber the number one driver for the rest of 2010.

But he also told reporters at Yeongam: "I haven't had time to look at all the mathematics and scenarios. It's something that obviously we will look at pretty closely between now and Brazil."

Vettel, however, made clear he is not personally ready to give up, even though his engine failure seriously dented his charge in Korea.

"It is very significant for the championship situation, but I am the last to give up," German media quote him as saying.

Follow Mike Stevens on Google+