Button/McLaren deal set to be signed UPDATE #7 (GMM) 2009 world champion Jenson Button appears poised to leave Brawn GP, which has been bought and renamed by Mercedes, and join McLaren for the 2010 season.
The Guardian newspaper said a three-year, 18m pounds sterling (in total) contract is set to be signed by the 29-year-old Briton, at the end of a protracted salary-increase standoff with Brawn management.
|Button being frozen out by the very team he won title with|
The Daily Mail said the deal could be completed before the end of the week.
"The one thing we don't want is Jenson left in limbo," said Button's manager, Richard Goddard.
Brawn chief executive Nick Fry hinted at the outcome in conversation with BBC radio on Monday.
"We've had discussions with Jenson which we think are (about) a sensible salary and you know this (the Mercedes buyout) is not going to change anything in that respect," he said.
"I hope Jenson is still with us next season. But we have to recognize that formula one is not divorced from the rest of the world.
"The reason we survived as a team was that we operated in a sensible way, within our means," Fry said.
The Mirror quoted Fry as saying Button is Brawn's "no.1 priority" but questioned whether McLaren is actually offering him a better deal.
"He's got to decide how much the loyalty, and everything we have given him, counts and how much money counts if he is able to get more elsewhere -- which, frankly, I doubt," he said.
It is reported that McLaren's offer is at least 2m pounds per year higher than Brawn's, but The Times cited Brawn sources in insisting that Button has actually been offered 8m and wants more.
Fry also backed away from speculation that, with Nico Rosberg almost certain to race with Mercedes GP in 2010, the Stuttgart carmaker is pushing for another German to be his teammate.
"I can confidently say that that is totally incorrect," Fry said. "Clearly a German driver would be nice for them (Mercedes) but we don't need two German drivers, that's not the intent."
Mercedes' Norbert Haug confirmed: "We definitely do not want to have a pure German team. It's an international team and we want to have the best drivers in the car."
Daimler chairman Dieter Zetsche said Mercedes would not "dictate" the identity of the lineup to team boss Ross Brawn.
"We will talk and listen to what he wants to do and typically agree," he said.11/16/09 Jenson Button's Brawn team is being taken over by Mercedes as the car giant quits McLaren today in the biggest team deal in Grand Prix history.
But the blockbuster £500million deal could see the new world champion left out in the cold.
Mercedes will hand back its 40 per cent share in Woking based F1 giants McLaren, clearing the way to take a controlling interest in Brawn's world champions.
The outfit will be known as Brawn Mercedes and with German driver Nico Rosberg signed up from Williams, has already been christened 'Team Germany'.
The deal is likely to force Button to quit Brawn, with a drive alongside ex-world champion and fellow Brit Lewis Hamilton at McLaren his only real option.
Sources within Mercedes say their ambition is to have a German champion in one of their cars for the first time in the modern era.
They fear Rosberg, the son of former champion Keke, would be outclassed by Button, just as he was by Hamilton when they were team-mates in karting.
That is why Brawn have refused to meet Button's demands of a £3m pay increase for winning the world championship.
It would be a marketing coup at home for Mercedes if they were to win races or, even better, the world title with a German driver.
But it would be a PR disaster if Rosberg finished second -best in a confrontation with Button .
Mercedes' 40 per cent shareholding in the McLaren team is expected to be absorbed by the three current stakeholders, boss Ron Dennis, Saudi tycoon Mansour Ojjeh and Bahraini conglomerate Mumtalakat Holdings.
Until today Dennis owned 15 per cent of the team, Ojjeh 30 per cent and Mumtalakat 15 per cent .
Mercedes will continue to supply engines to McLaren. Mirror.co.uk10/30/09 (GMM) Jenson Button has added fuel to speculation that he could leave Brawn after Sunday's 2009 season finale if they are not prepared to pay him more.
Following reports he has been in contact about joining McLaren for 2010, the new world champion told British newspapers he is not afraid of lining up in the same team as Lewis Hamilton.
"I have achieved what I wanted to in F1 and I want new challenges," said the 29-year-old. "There's no one on this grid I wouldn't go up against. But I'm not talking about Lewis; I'm talking generally."
Button scoffed at suggestions that Brawn cannot afford to pay him more because they have now burned through the money provided by Honda amid the management buyout of last winter.
"They have just won the world (constructors') championship, you know. There is a lot of money involved in that. But as I have said before, money is not the most important factor for me," the Briton insisted.
He confirmed that he has been approached by some of Brawn's rival teams, but refused to name them.
"It wouldn't be fair (to name them) as I haven't yet sat down and discussed the future with my team. We are waiting to get this race out of the way first," said Button.
He also took issue with boss Ross Brawn's comments that a new deal with Button is "99 per cent" likely.
"I wouldn't put a percentage on anything," said Button.10/26/09 Brawn may be 99 percent sure of securing Jenson Button's services for next season, however, reports claim the deal hinges on Mercedes buying in, which would give the team the money they need. Button may have won the World title for Brawn GP in Ross Brawn's first season as a Formula One team owner but limited funds have resulted in the team failing to secure his signature for next year's Championship. The newly-crowned F1 Champion is reportedly wanting to return to the £8million-a-year he was earning before taking a £5million pay cut when former team owners Honda pulled out last December. And although the team are keen to hold onto the Brit, Brawn admits finances are the sticking point in contract negotiations. "Jenson has a contract with us. But that contract is not the salary of a World Champion, not the salary of a team that is in a much stronger position than it was 10 months ago," he said. "We're working with Jenson to find a balance between what we can afford and what he feels is fair for his status and the contribution he can make in the future."
Finances, though, are in general a sore point for Brawn GP.
'They have used up all, or nearly all, of the £120m Honda left them with when they handed over ownership to Ross Brawn in March. That has been spent on running costs, development of this and next year's cars and laying off 200 staff,' claims the Daily Mail.
'Even with Virgin's name plastered over the car all season at a rate of £150,000 per race, it has yielded only £2.5m if, as many doubt, the arrangement has been paid up in full.' PlanetF1.com
10/26/09 Newly-crowned Formula One world champion Jenson Button is to be kept from the clutches of McLaren by the offer of a new deal worth close to £8million a year from Brawn GP.
Button’s manager, Richard Goddard, revealed last night that the 29-year-old British driver’s contractual dispute with the team was close to being settled.
Goddard said: ‘I understand the team are about to make us an offer and, as previously stated, Jenson wants to stay with Brawn. We expect the matter to be resolved in the next few weeks.’
10/23/09 McLaren-Mercedes have dampened rumors that newly- crowned Formula One world champion Jenson Button could join McLaren- Mercedes for the 2010 season. The Daily Mail reported Friday that McLaren and title sponsors Vodafone would welcome Button teaming up with compatriot Lewis Hamilton in an all-British dream team but Mercedes motorsport director Norbert Haug says the story has no basis in fact.
"There are no current negotiations with Jenson Button but I do have understanding for the fact that people in England are dreaming of an English team with two world champions in the cockpits," Haug told German Press Agency DPA.
"However, dreams don't always come true."
Button sealed a first drivers' title last Sunday at the Brazilian Grand Prix but has yet to agree a new deal with his Brawn GP team, leading to speculation that he could be on his way to a rival.
Button is believed to be stalling over a new deal because he is looking for an increase in his current 6-million-pounds (9.95 million dollars) annual salary.
Kimi Raikkonen, who is currently without a drive for 2010 after being replaced at Ferrari by Fernando Alonso, had been expected to join McLaren.
10/23/09 (GMM) McLaren team boss Martin Whitmarsh has refused to dismiss reports tipping new world champion Jenson Button to become Lewis Hamilton's teammate in 2010.
As 29-year-old Button's dispute with his Brawn bosses over the size of his retainer continues, newspapers including the Daily Mail and the Sun said the 'number 1' could be back on a silver-colored car next season.
The Daily Mail said the British sponsor Vodafone "would welcome the tantalizing lineup", and a source at the mobile company added: "Any team would like to have two world champions in their ranks."
Another source told the Sun tabloid: "Vodafone would be very keen on the idea."
Asked directly about the rumors, Whitmarsh said: "We've talked to a number of drivers. It wouldn't be appropriate to say more than that.
"We'll hire the two best drivers available to us as we always have," he added, amid expectations Heikki Kovalainen will not be retained.
The newspaper also said Toyota is interested in Button "but he is unlikely to go there".
10/22/09 British press buzz seems to be propagating rumors that 2009 Formula One world champion Jenson Button could join Lewis Hamilton at McLaren the upcoming 2010 championship season.
"Sponsors Vodafone would be very keen on the idea,” an unnamed source told the Sun. "Just think of the publicity of the top two British drivers of their age going wheel-to-wheel for the title."
We agree that a British team with two British drivers would be great. It's sort of a shame there is not a British manufacturer as a partner too.
With Button reportedly demanding to be paid the amount he forfeited to help keep the team afloat this season, and make a run for the World Championship, this may simply be a ploy to keep Brawn earnest.
Mercedes is rumored to be assuming a seventy percent stake in Brawn. However, if McLaren secures Button’s services, Mercedes may think twice before reducing their partnership with McLaren.
It would be just like a Ron Dennis owned and run operation to execute a strategically savvy move such as this. So we think this rumor might be more than fluff.