With multiple drivers asking about swapping or keeping positions in Sao Paulo, Jenson Button finds it all “weird.”
It seemed that team orders, or driver requests, were aplenty at the Sao Paulo Grand Prix, the penultimate round of the 2022 season.
Starting at the front, leader George Russell asked Mercedes if he and teammate Lewis Hamilton behind were looking for the one-two or if they could fight it out. They told him they were free to run, but not to take risks.
Meanwhile, Red Bull asked Sergio Perez to cede to Max Verstappen, which he did, and then Verstappen to cede his position to Perez, which he did not.
Alpine was also in on the act when Esteban Ocon was asked to let Fernando Alonso past on a late Safety Car restart.
And 2009 World Champion Button can’t bring himself to find it normal to listen to these conversations on the radio.
Speaking on Sky Sports F1’s ‘Any Driven Monday’, Button said: “I find it strange that we get so many of these radio calls about ‘can I race or are we going to stay one-two?’
“Obviously, George wanted to go one-two, because it was an easy win for him, it seemed [Hamilton] I wasn’t going to fight him for the win.
“But it’s strange to hear these conversations on the radio, and Charles also says the same thing, ‘Are we going to reverse positions with Carlos?’ Same with Red Bull. It’s a little weird.
“They should be allowed to go out and run. They’re there for the team, but they’re also there for themselves and you don’t want to give away a win, but you have to give your teammate a chance to fight with you for that win. I’m not fighting for a World Championship right now.”
Button was then asked if it is simply that these conversations are now broadcast to the public more frequently, rather than not being present in the past.
The 15-race winner feels it is a fair point, although speaking from his own experience, he said that only once during his Formula 1 career was he asked to let a team-mate pass.
“You definitely hear everything now, and maybe not as much in the past,” Button acknowledged. “But I think they asked me once, because we had different strategies, letting a teammate pass, that was it.
“I always wanted the same team with my teammates and the same opportunities, and it’s strange now that we have team radio where the drivers say ‘I think you should let me through because it’s better for my championship.’ It’s really amazing to hear.
“But I think maybe the fans of the sport are liking it because it shows individuals, whether they have strong personalities or not, so maybe it’s a positive thing, but it’s something I haven’t experienced in my career.”
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