Button mulls tech chief exit
MOST EXPERIENCED DRIVER ON THE GRID: Button will be starting his 14th year in F1 when the racing gets under way in Australia on March 17 2013.
LONDON, England - Jenson Button has shrugged off the departure of top-rated McLaren technical director Paddy Lowe and said the team's Formula 1 title challenge would not suffer.
Speaking a day after McLaren announced that Lowe had been replaced by Tim Goss and would leave at the end of 2013, he said such upheaval was part of the sport.
‘GOOD LUCK TO HIM’
Button said: "I really like Paddy. It's been good fun working with him over the past three years, not just in a working relationship but also as a friend. He's a good guy, a fun character. Things change, he wants to try something new, a new challenge, which is fair play to him. He has to think about No.1 - good luck to him."
Button moved to McLaren in 2010 after winning his championship for Brawn GP, the team that is now Mercedes and is believed to be Lowe's next employer.
He said: "I didn't come here because Paddy was here, I didn't come here because Lewis (Hamilton) was here. I came here because this is McLaren, with its heritage and history - a word we always use, but it is the truth and its strength in depth.
"It's not about one individual, it's about the full team, and Paddy leaving is part of the sport. People move around - this team will succeed with or without Paddy."
McLaren won seven races in 2012, Hamilton four and Button the rest, among them the season-opener and closer. The pair earned their victories in a car designed by Goss.
Button, whose team mate now is Sergio Perez following the departure of Hamilton to Mercedes, said Goss's bigger role was a positive step. "Having Tim in the position he is now in - fantastic. He was exceptional in his previous role, and I think he will be in this role... he knows exactly what he is doing."
McLaren's MD Jonathan Neale told reporters he and the team would miss Lowe, who has been at Woking for 19 years, but the team was resilient and structured enough to cope. "I'm confident we're strong for the season, and strong for the future."
Mercedes has made no comment on Lowe's likely arrival for 2014 but Neale left no doubt that he had been lured away by some hefty incentives and rejected any suggestion that McLaren had slipped up.
Neale said: "People are prepared to pay exotic salaries and wait 12 or 18 months, longer in some cases. That's the state of the market. It would be disappointing if we weren't regarded as a place to hire good people because then I wouldn't be doing my job. The real test is whether we have a system in place to pick up people from underneath, and I believe we have.
"In the market at the moment, if you've a team and you want to go out and buy some short-term know-how, then you can pay telephone-number salaries if that's what your business model is. From time to time we've all done it."