Ron Dennis realizes that his McLaren team has not had the greatest of seasons and doesn’t have the greatest of cars.
But that isn’t keeping him from spurring on his veteran driver, Jenson Button, to do better.
Button, the 2009 World Champion, is ahead of rookie teammate Kevin Magnussen in points but not by a resounding margin (43-29).
After coming up with a solid fourth-place finish in Canada, he regressed in the most recent Grand Prix in Austria, finishing 11th.
“Do I want him to try harder? Of course I do,” Dennis said of Button in a recent interview with Britain’s Sky Sports. “He’s a highly paid Grand Prix driver.
“Yes, we’re not giving him the best car. Yes, it’s challenging for him to win in this car. But he could do his bit. And Kevin has got to make it as difficult for him as possible.”
In regards to Magnussen, Dennis believes that his efforts are giving Button “a big wake-up call.”
Dennis continued: “In some ways, you say: ‘Great, we’ve made a great choice with Kevin.’ But in other ways you say: ‘Come on Jenson, you are a world champion and absolutely one thing you can do on a consistent basis – and you should be doing it – is beating your teammate.”
Button has chalked up a better overall finish than Magnussen in six of the eight races this season, but Magnussen has more finishes in the points with five to Button’s four.
However, since they both hit the podium in the season-opening Australian Grand Prix (Magnussen 2nd, Button 3rd), Button has had the best points finish between the pair with the aforementioned fourth in Canada.
With that said though, it’s clear Button hasn’t exactly blown Magnussen out of the water. Some of that can certainly be placed on the deficiencies of the MP4-29, but it looks like Dennis thinks that Button himself needed a bit of extra motivation, too.