Jenson Button says having a clear number two driver is the best approach for a Formula One team.
Team orders are now legal in F1 and Eddie Irvine, Michael Schumacher's clear supporting driver at Ferrari in the mid-nineties, recently hailed Briton Button as the sport's new "best number two".
Button, 31, is actually the only driver still in the running with Sebastian Vettel for the 2011 title, and 17 points ahead of his high profile teammate Lewis Hamilton.
He told Die Welt newspaper: "The best way for a team to win the world championship would probably be to have a number one driver and a number two who is happy to be the number two.
"That's not what we have at McLaren," insisted Button.
As for Irvine's recent criticism, Button hit back with an apparent reference to 1999, when the Ulsterman came close to the championship in the wake of Schumacher's broken leg.
"It's (Irvine's comments) very sweet," the Briton told PA Sport recently. "All I can say is that it was fun winning the world championship, and I hope to do it again."
Button expects Vettel to win title in Japan
Jenson Button has travelled to Japan as the only driver apart from Sebastian Vettel still mathematically able to clinch the 2011 title.
But the Briton, who wears Japanese characters on his helmet and whose girlfriend is the model Jessica Michibata, told Die Welt newspaper that he knows German Vettel is the sure winner.
"There is no need to build sandcastles in the sky and kid ourselves," said Button. "It's really been clear for quite some time that Sebastian has earned the title. He's been so strong all season."
Even if Vettel cannot secure the tenth place he needs for the championship at Suzuka, McLaren's Button would have to win in order to stay in the fight for Korea.
"On paper, I think it (Suzuka) will suit the Red Bulls, particularly in the high speed sweeps," 31-year-old Button admitted, "but we showed at Spa that we also have a car that's very effective in high speed corners."
Safer F1 helmets mandatory at Suzuka
All F1 drivers will be wearing safer helmets at Suzuka this weekend.
Earlier in 2011, some drivers tested a bulletproof Zylon strip across the top of their visors in order to prevent injuries like Felipe Massa's in Hungary two years ago.
By Singapore, 12 of the 24 drivers were using the strip.
Auto Motor und Sport reports that the visor opening size has also been reduced to a new minimum for the mandatory standard that debuts in Japan this weekend.
The helmets are 50 grams heavier than before, and some drivers are reportedly unhappy that the strip damages the visor tint coatings when removed.
The tear-off strips are also smaller and harder to fit.
Additionally, Auto Motor und Sport reports that the sponsors are not happy that the black Zylon strips are taking up space above the visors.
Renault paid Kubica in 2011 - Lopez
Robert Kubica was paid by Renault in 2011, team owner Gerard Lopez has revealed.
His comments to Germany's Auto Motor und Sport follow reports that the Enstone based team may be happier to choose between Vitaly Petrov, Bruno Senna and Romain Grosjean for next season's lineup.
Genii's Lopez however said that with injured Pole Kubica nearing recovery from his horror rally crash injuries, it is wrong to suggest Renault prefers pay-drivers.
"If Robert is on the market then of course we will take him," he said. "Our commercial model requires success on the tracks.
"Also we paid Robert's salary this year, although he drove no races with us."
Last week, some media reports suggested team boss Eric Boullier was firm with an end-of-October deadline, even though Kubica may only be ready to decide his comeback for 2012 some weeks later.
"We will look at the matter at the beginning of November," Lopez clarifies. "Robert will have a car to show us what he can do.
"The data analysis is now so good that you can see with another car whether he is physically able to return."
As for paddock suggestions that Genii is running Renault more as a business rather than a racing team looking for results, Lopez firmly denied it.
And the rumours about being late in engine payments to Renault Sport F1?: "We have paid every bill on time," he insisted.
"We have increased the team from 480 to 520 employees, we have expanded the wind tunnel from 50 to 60 per cent and are about to install a new simulator. These are not things you do if you only have the business in mind."
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