• Sir Stirling Moss on McLaren's drivers

A fast team-mate can make you faster

Sir Stirling Moss January 29, 2010
Sir Stirling Moss was surprised Jenson Button chose to join Lewis Hamilton at Mclaren © Sutton Images
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When I was racing, if I was going to get beaten by someone, I always hoped it wouldn't be by someone in the team. This is why I am so surprised that Jenson Button has taken the decision to move to McLaren to be team-mates with Lewis Hamilton. I did mention this to Jenson a while back and he seemed quite laid back about it - he sees it as a challenge.

The best team-mates I ever had were Tony Brooks [1957 and 1958 at Vanwall] and Dan Gurney [Maserati 'Birdcadge' for the 1000km sports car race at Nurburgring in 1960], who were exceptionally fast. It is a real responsibility to have a fast team-mate because that is really the only man you really care about beating on track - at least I did in my day.

A fast partner can also make you faster. I am sure Brooks made me faster - it was a matter of ego. You do not want to be beaten by someone driving identical machinery. If I got blown away by Mike Hawthorn driving a Ferrari, then I didn't mind so much. But if he was in the same car, then there really would be problems. Perhaps if Jenson can work with Lewis like I did with Tony then McLaren could really have the dream team for 2010.

Button's status in the team will be really important for morale - I had a contract in my day that I was No.1 driver. In those days of course it meant that if your car broke down you could take the other one, no matter how well the team's other driver was doing. Being No.1 is a great benefit, but it is also a huge responsibility because you have to constantly prove that you are demonstratively faster than the other driver.

Tony Brooks was Sir Stirling Moss' friend and team-mate © Getty Images
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I am pleased to see Michael Schumacher back in F1, but I often have trouble putting my finger on just how good he is. Yes he has won seven world championships but I have never seen him paired with someone who is anywhere near as good as he is. Rubens Barrichello is a nice chap, a terrific driver and I like his style - but he doesn't have anywhere near as much speed as Michael. I think for the first time since Ayrton Senna this year Michael will really have some competition. I can see why he wanted to make a return. It's all about ego and feeding that ego. If I could have made a comeback, even three years after my accident, I would have done so in a flash.

However if I were to go out tomorrow and place a bet on who would be world champion this year I would not put my money on Michael. I think this year's title will be between Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel; and perhaps Fernando Alonso if Ferrari can provide him with a good car. I think that's where the smart money should be.

One of the most interesting things I have heard so far this season is that Adrian Newey [Red Bull technical director] has decided that the team will sit out the first test. I think he is a very clever man and he might just have dynamite up his sleeve. Quite rightly he does not want to show his hand too early - what fantastic game play.

We are going to see a lot of new variables this year, both in terms of new cars and new drivers. There are so many talented drivers on the grid but also a lot of new guys who will be very keen to show their worth. I honestly believe we are looking at one of the most interesting seasons for a long time, I will be watching the testing carefully to bring you my views before the season starts.

If there is anything you would like Moss to talk about, why not let us know - you may not always like his opinions but we hope it will get you talking.

http://www.stirlingmoss.com/

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Sir Stirling Moss OBE - a British motor racing legend, recognised as one of the world's greatest racing drivers. He won an astonishing 212 of the 529 races he entered during his 15-year career, competing in just about every class of motor racing, including 16 Formula One races. His victory in the 1961 Monaco Grand Prix is one of the most famous races in F1 history. Stirling's vast experience comes from being a racer and from knowing those who compete in and run the sport now. He never shies away from commenting on all aspects of the sport he loves. Gallery of his career