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DATE News (chronologically)
04/18/09
f1
Symonds disagrees with Briatore about Button  UPDATE (GMM)  Pat Symonds has refused to back his boss Flavio Briatore over claims Jenson Button is too slow to be a worthy world champion.

In responding to Renault chief Briatore's assertion this week that Button can be likened to a concrete bollard, championship leader Button hit back by revealing that the French team tried to hire him for 2009.

Symonds, Renault's director of engineering, confirmed the Briton's claim in conversation with the BBC in Shanghai.

"We talked to a lot of people though the winter; anyone who's available, we'll assess them," he said.

Symonds, who like Briatore worked alongside Button at Benetton/Renault in 2001 and 2002, made clear he does not agree with Briatore's current assessment of the Brawn driver.

"I personally think he's a damn good driver and I think he's showing it at the moment," the 55-year-old said.

Symonds added: "He hasn't been in the best cars in the last couple of years but he's showing what he can do now and good luck to him."

04/17/09 (GMM)  Jenson Button has revealed that Renault's Flavio Briatore "tried to employ me" for the 2009 season.

The drivers' championship leader was responding to Briatore's comments to the Italian press that Brawn's success is damaging the credibility of formula one.

Briatore said that while top teams employ champion drivers, Rubens Barrichello is teetering on the point of retirement, and Button can be likened to a kind of Italian roadside concrete bollard.

"He needs to remember that he tried to employ me for this year," 29-year-old Button, who raced for Briatore's Benetton/Renault team in 2001 and 2002, told reporters in Shanghai.

The Briton was unimpressed that Briatore's frustration about Renault's lack of competitiveness had caused him to attack the Brackley based team.

"He's obviously a very angry man after the diffuser issues, he's obviously very disappointed that he hasn't produced a car that's as competitive as ours," said Button.

"We've produced a very competitive car because of the workforce we've got and you can't take that away from them."

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