F1: Lewis Hamilton exit could be good news for Jenson Button says Bernie Ecclestone

Hamilton left for Mercedes

Bernie Ecclestone believes we will see “a different” Jenson Button this season in the wake of Lewis Hamilton's departure from McLaren.

After three seasons of the Britons working alongside one another at the Woking-based team, Hamilton has opted for pastures new with a move to Mercedes.

Although McLaren have long maintained a policy of equal status among their drivers, in many people's eyes Button is now de facto number one given he is 10 years older and more experienced than new team-mate Sergio Perez.

Formula One supremo Ecclestone certainly feels Button will step up to the plate as a leader for the team this season, although he is convinced Perez has what it takes to keep the 33-year-old on his toes.

Ecclestone said: "Maybe we will see their 'second driver' will not really be a second driver, that he is as good as everybody believes.

"I think it will be good for Jenson too, as he will now feel he is in charge, whereas before he might have thought he was 'number two'.

"Now he is 'number one' and we will very likely see a different Jenson. That might be good for him."

Ecclestone is also backing Mercedes to come good this year after a wretched return on their three seasons in the sport to date with just one victory during that time.

The 82-year-old certainly feels in acquiring Hamilton on a £15million-per-year contract, Mercedes sent out the right signals.

Speaking to the sport's official website, Ecclestone added: "First, in the tests they have shown they are much more competitive than in previous times.

"When I spoke with them about taking Lewis, I said if you take him you get the right sort of people because they think they are joining a winning team now.

"I am sure they will be competitive. I would be hugely surprised if they don't win races - on merit and not for other reasons."

To aid Hamilton's transition to his new team Ecclestone has even allowed the 28-year-old's new bulldog Roscoe a paddock pass.

Roscoe, who made his arrival on the F1 stage at the recent tests, is likely to be seen at a number of European races later this year.

Hamilton has every intention of taking him along, courtesy of the help afforded by Ecclestone.

Asked whether Hamilton had applied for a pass for Roscoe, Ecclestone said: "Yep, he has, and yes, he will get it.

"I am a huge fan of bulldogs. I have told him I would also be happy giving the dog a pass for the grid, and I will be happy to look after the dog while he is racing."

On a more serious note, Ecclestone is hopeful he will finally be able to float F1 on the stock exchange later this year.

Ecclestone had hoped for an initial public offering last year in Singapore, only to pull the plug given the instability in the market.

Ecclestone said: "Last year I thought the markets were not ready, but now it is getting more likely that there is an opportunity."

As to when a decision will be made, Ecclestone added: "In the next three months or so somebody will have to decide yes or no."

PA

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor