World champion Jenson Button says he would never accept being given team orders in Formula 1 – and would rather quit than be forced to play a supporting role.
With the F1 Sporting Working Group being asked by the FIA to reconsider grand prix racing's ban on team orders, there are increasing suggestions that the regulations will be removed altogether. That would free up competitors to impose the kind of team orders that led to debate among fans after this year's German Grand Prix and the 2002 Austrian GP.
Button thinks such a move would be bad for F1 – and made it clear at Monza that he would not accept being put in a position where he was forced to give up wins.
"If only one driver was in with a chance of the championship, then I'd still rather not have team orders but I would understand if the team came to you and said, 'You can't win the World Championship, so don't make it as difficult as you probably would otherwise,'" said Button. "But while you are still fighting for the World Championship it is very strange to me that a driver is told to move over. I don't understand that at all and I don't understand anyone in the sport who would want to race in those circumstances. You are not racing to win, are you? What is the point of finishing second? Unless you are here for other reasons than I am. I am here because I am passionate about the sport and I want to win. I want to beat every other driver out there.
"If you are here for other reasons, maybe you don't mind moving over for your teammate. I have never had it in my career. I have been racing for 10 years and I have never been told to move over and never has my teammate been told to move over for me."
Button's feelings about not having team orders are so strong that he reckons it could influence him to turn his back on F1 too.
"If team orders come in then I will consider my future," he said. "I wouldn't stop straight away, but I think it will definitely shorten my career in F1.
"You don't want to be the driver on the negative end of it but you also don't want to be the driver on the other end. When I won the World Championship last year, at no point during the season was my teammate told to slow down or give up a position or anything.
"For me that was such a challenge as you are fighting your teammate for the title as well as anyone else. You are working as a team as you are working to improve the car to fight against all the other teams and drivers and you are fighting for the constructors' championship so it is a team sport. But you are also fighting for yourself and trying to win the drivers' World Championship."