UPDATE: Button could leave Brawn over pay dispute? UPDATE #2 The gap between what F1 World Champ Jenson Button wants to be paid next year and what Brawn GP is willing to give him is ‘a bridge that can be crossed’, stated Nick Fry – as both sides stated a desire to remain together in search of more wins and titles.
Button has clearly expressed his desire to remain with Brawn after securing the world championship.
It has been repeatedly claimed, however, that talks have stalled due to the Button’s desire to reclaim the £5 million he gave up last winter, to help the team to stay alive in the wake of parent company Honda’s abrupt withdrawal after the 2008 season; a demand that team principal Ross Brawn seems less than eager to meet.
Brawn is now in much better financial health with the equity of a drivers and manufacturer's world championship, and Button is not off-base in expecting a champion's salary.
“We’re not Honda anymore,” Brawn is quoted as having said by F1SA, alluding to the fact that there is no longer a bottomless pit of funding upon which to draw and stating that the team’s 2010 line-up will be finalized ‘over the next few weeks’. “We’ve got to find the balance between what Jenson’s happy and motivated with, and what we can afford. I’m sure we will.”
“He wants to be with us and we’d like him to stay with us,” added Brawn GP CEO Fry, “so that is a good starting point. I wouldn’t like to say how far apart we are in money terms, but it’s a bridge that can be crossed.”
10/15/09 (GMM) Rubens Barrichello is in talks with Williams about a team switch, but his 2009 teammate Jenson Button looks set to remain at Brawn next season.
Despite reports of a disagreement over his push for a pay-rise, a team source told the British Daily Mail newspaper that Button, 29, is not also going to leave the Brackley based squad.
It is expected that either Brazilian Barrichello, 37, or Button will have to make way at Brawn for the arrival of Mercedes' favored German driver, Nico Rosberg.
"We've been told by Ross Brawn that Jenson is staying and that's that," the Brawn source said.
The Daily Mail added that Button's manager Richard Goddard is not in talks with any alternative teams.
10/04/09 (GMM) Jenson Button is still at stalemate with his boss Ross Brawn, who has hinted the Englishman might have to leave the team as world champion.
29-year-old Button could wrap up the title at Suzuka on Sunday, but is locked in stalling negotiations to increase his retainer for 2010 from a cut-price $5m.
He agreed to slash his contracted pay for 2009 in order to aid the management buyout, and has also been paying his own way in terms of hotel and travel expenses.
But Button's manager Richard Goddard told the Daily Star Sunday that he is "shocked" Brawn is refusing to offer anything more than a slight pay rise.
"We aren't being greedy," he said. "When we signed the deal last year, we did so in the knowledge that if all went well for the team, things would also go well for Jenson."
Team owner and boss Brawn hinted that the impasse could lead to Button leaving the team after November's Abu Dhabi GP.
"Those decisions have not yet been made but if we have a world champion who, for whatever reason, leaves the team, that's a shame," said the Briton.
Brawn's reluctance to offer Button much more money could be related to the paddock perception that - according to former racer Martin Brundle - the British driver is now "reversing" his way to the title after a strong start to the season.
Meanwhile, an opinion article in The Times reads: "After his barnstorming start to the season, (Button) decided that winning like a champion is not for him, resolving to win the title by stealth."
And a piece in The Independent said Button "will be a worthy world champion but his feeble showing in the latter part of the season proves he is well short of legendary status".