Button to BAR or Williams?

UPDATE #3 It looks like Button will be racing at Williams in 2006 as team boss Frank Williams appears intent on making Button honor his contract. "A deal is a deal," says Sir Frank. "A contract is a contract. I have always believed that a signature on a contract is basically underlining a man's word given in honor. We have a proper and correct contract in place that will stand up to any examination. I keep reading that he wants to be World Champion. Why can't he be World Champion with us? I understand Jenson's concerns about his team's competitive position and our uncompetitive situation at the moment. Teams go up and down. We will be back, if not in the second half of this year, certainly next. If a driver says 'Sorry, I have changed my mind' every time it suits him, there would be chaos in the paddock. Sponsors will know that some teams don't keep their word as given in signed contracts. The same applies to drivers. A third party has chosen to use the press to strengthen Jenson's case," Williams says, "but the whole situation is much more profound than that." 07/27/05 Frank Williams is planning a meeting with Jenson Button after securing the use of Cosworth engines next season, according to The Guardian. With an engine deal now finalized, Williams hopes to convince Button to honor his contract and join the team.

'It is understood that Patrick Head, Williams' director of engineering, told the workforce last week that they would use the Northampton-built 2.4-litre V8 Cosworth engine next season rather than accept BMW's offer to tide them over,' The Guardian reports.

Williams will have to pay Cosworth in the region of $20 million, but the European media thinks that the team still might use Toyota power in 2007, which AutoRacing1.com doubts, as we suspect the Williams/Cosworth marriage will turn out to be a good one and eventually attract a car manufacturer to badge the engine.

07/27/05 BAR has denied reports of a 'driver-plus-cash' deal to convince Frank Williams to let the Brackley based team keep Jenson Button next year and beyond. It was suggested that $9 million and test driver Anthony Davidson had been offered to Williams, owner of 25-year-old JB's 2006 contract.

''It is pure supposition that this could be one option for resolving the matter,'' a BAR spokeswoman said. ''I am sure we would listen to any options proposed by Williams but at the moment all the discussions are between Jenson and Williams.''

It is also reported that Frank will meet with Button this week in a bid to convince him that a Cosworth-powered Williams, to then also allegedly switch to Lexus-badged Toyota V8s in 2007, is a pretty good bet.

Whether he is swayed or not, though, a Williams 'insider' told the Independent newspaper that there is 'absolutely no question' of the team surrendering JB to BAR. He added: ''Jenson is a crucial part of our corporate strategy for 2006 and beyond.''

06/13/05 This Guardian Unlimited article talks about the dilemma Jenson Button faces. The shortage of hard results is generating another dilemma for Button and BAR, namely the contractual obligation for Button to switch to the Williams team in 2006 unless he has amassed 75% of the championship leader's points tally by the end of July. This is now almost impossible, and the downside to this equation for Button is that Williams look in disarray, locked in a war of words with their engine supplier BMW and looking no more competitive than BAR.

Over the Canadian grand prix weekend Frank Williams moved rather clumsily to dissociate himself from criticisms of BMW made by his engineering chief Patrick Head, who accused the German car maker of a "dishonest approach". "The remarks made by Patrick were a private remark and absolutely do not reflect the position of this company in respect to Mario [Theissen, head of motor sport at BMW] or to BMW," said Williams. "One particular remark was taken slightly out of context.

"I have frequently said BMW are tough, hard people and that is why they are a rich and very profitable company. That is how you get the job done."

However, sources close to BMW say the damage to the relationship with Williams is terminal and it is just a question of when, and not if, the deal is axed. Where this leaves Button's career path is unclear, but the signs are not promising.

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