Button takes $4M pay cut to get his clock cleaned by Hamilton UPDATE #3 (GMM) Ross Brawn has played down suggestions that new world champion Jenson Button was pushed out of the Mercedes GP team to make room in 2010 for Michael Schumacher.
When Button's switch to McLaren was announced, it was believed the relationship breakdown with his team of the last seven years was due to a dispute about his retainer.
Many observers and experts questioned the wisdom of the Briton agreeing to be Lewis Hamilton's teammate, but the signing of Schumacher raises the possibility that there was in fact no room at the Brackley based team for Button.
"It overlaps, to be honest," team boss Brawn said when asked if Button decided to leave or was effectively ousted.
"I have a loyalty to Jenson so I hoped to find a solution and when I saw that this would get difficult I started to talk to Michael, and things developed there," he added in an interview with F1's official website.
Schumacher, 41, revealed on Wednesday that he only began talking to Brawn at the end of November. Button's McLaren deal was announced in the middle of that month. 12/23/09 As we predicted elsewhere on these pages, Ross Brawn had no intention to keep Button when he had his eyes set on Michael Schumacher. Now that Schumacher's return has been confirmed there is no doubt that Button had no choice but to move to McLaren and risk getting his clock cleaned by Lewis Hamilton. It was either that or spending a year weeding his garden.
[Editor's Note: Brawn was being nice to Button. You don't let the current World Champion just walk out the door that easily. In fact we were reporting the Schumacher to Brawn/Mercedes team well before the Button to McLaren deal was announced.]
11/19/09 A reader writes, Dear AR1.com, I was interested to read your twist on the Button Brawn saga especially noting his so called pay cut. The contract was just for one year. What bloody good is that to a driver in this very crowded market when most others are signing multi year deals? Note also, it is not $12 million as Brawn/MB have stated. The other $4M was points related.
Nick Fry's loyalty rant is beyond words. How he can suggest that Jens has been anything but loyal is such an outrageous lie even by his twisted standards. The guy paid his own way to races and took a huge pay cut. He hung in with the Fry run Honda team for years while they blundered and bumbled around at the very back of the field. And when he did eventually help them to their first Championship they don't even invite him to the Brackley parade!
It is obvious that despite words to the contrary, Mercedes want an all Teutonic team and that Brawn were the ones playing hardball and dragging the negotiations into the mud. It was only a few days ago that Brawn said they would allow Jens more freedom to work with sponsors as a way to bolster his low ball retainer.
Then just hours after Button visits McLaren they supposedly offer him more money. Now they are screaming breach of contract! If that were the case why did they offer him the $8 million days after this so called breach? This is a disgusting way to end the relationship and the mudslinging from Fry now confirms that Button totally did the right thing getting away from these ungrateful and some would say, cheating, wankers. I was a very happy supporter of this team last year but their behavior towards the World Champion has spoiled that for me and, I believe, many others.
While I agree he will have his hands full with Hamilton, Button has been a totally competent World Champion and a gentleman too boot. He has his strengths which are very different to Lewis' and it will be intriguing to watch them both fight for the title next year. Meanwhile it will be interesting to see how long Fry keeps his job amidst the bad press, failed negotiations and terrible marketing he has provided the team. There is only so much room on the pit wall and with Haug now occupying the Big Chair he might just get a taste of his own bitter medicine. I for one will crack a big smile when that inevitably transpires. Ray Masters, Hawaii11/19/09 Jenson Button's former boss last night insisted the world champion has taken a $4million pay cut to join Lewis Hamilton at McLaren where the young Brit will smoke Button week in and week out, making him look like a unworthy champion.
And despite his admiration for Button, Mercedes GP chief Nick Fry says the 29-year-old's switch is not a rational one.
"There is bravery and there is stupidity and we will only find out which it is next year," declared CEO Fry.
"We believe we made Jenson a good offer - one that was significantly more than he is being paid at McLaren. Everyone knows we have enormous respect for Jenson. He's an amazing racing driver. But we are all mystified by this decision.
"We think he has been badly advised and had his head turned by McLaren's glitzy headquarters. We think it's an emotional decision rather than a financial one based on hard dollars."