McLaren’s Jenson Button has voiced his frustration at the way television companies select team radio messages to broadcast during races because he believes they don’t always tell the full story.
Radio messages have become even more of a talking point following the Bahrain Grand Prix where Button, 33, and team mate Sergio Perez, 23, clashed on track and then criticised each other after the race.
While battling over fifth place, Perez tapped the back of Button, breaking off part of his front wing, prompting Button to get on the radio and say: “He’s just hit me up the back. Calm him down.”
McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh did not enforce team orders, with Perez going on to finish sixth, his best finish of the season, and Button falling back to 10th with excessive tyre wear.
Button believes the whole incident was blown out of proportion because the messages went out on television.
The 2009 world champion said: “The problem with the radio is that my message is not meant for the masses, it’s meant for the team.
“In a way it’s a pity that TV companies just choose the messages they want, because they can come across in the wrong way.
“I was obviously angry, but the anger was supposed to be kept within the team, because I am radioing the team, I’m not radioing TV companies.”
After the race, both drivers sat down with Whitmarsh to discuss the incident, with Button later tweeting that the duo had “cleared the air”.
Button added: “After the race it was important to sit down with the team and Checo and for us all to talk about the race, get it out and move on.
“I think we’re very lucky that we were allowed to race. There are a lot of teams where team mates aren’t allowed to race. But we’d better respect that decision and not take advantage of it.
“That’s something that we all understand now. Hopefully we can be racing in Barcelona [which hosts the Spanish Grand Prix]: fighting cleanly and hopefully for the win, not for sixth or seventh.”
Button is 10th in the standings on 13 points, 64 behind leader Sebastian Vettel but three ahead of Perez. In the constructors’ McLaren are sixth on 23 points, 86 behind leaders Red Bull.