By Alex Kapadia
Formula 1 champions Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button will have equal chances of success when they are team-mates next season, according to McLaren.
There has been speculation that their differing driving styles – particularly in relation to tyres – will lead to one driver having an advantage over the other.
New rules relating to tyres size and a re-fuelling ban could also favour one driver over the other.
However, McLaren managing director Jonathan Neale, insisted: “People have suggested that tyre degradation will be the next most important performance-limiting factor during a race, but we don’t think that’s likely to be the case.
“If you look at previous examples of a guy who’s kind to his tyres, and a guy who isn’t, it’s rare for the guy who pushes his tyres to slip backwards in a race.
“I think what you see is that a driver’s speed comes from a broad range of variables – and it’s invariably the characteristics of the car that create a degradation issue, rather than the drivers.”
He added: “I’m absolutely convinced that they’ll be a fantastic and competitive partnership,” Neale said.
“The reality is that they’ll both bring different skill-sets to the table, and from January onwards [when Button officially joins the team] we’ll be able to very rapidly bring their wealth of knowledge and experience to bear on a number of issues – particularly during pre-season testing.
“In some ways, it multiplies our opportunities in a grand prix too: there could well be tracks where Jenson’s skill-set is better-suited to the challenge, and equally, tracks where Lewis could excel.