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Button and McLaren opt for a piece of theatre
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Button and McLaren opt for a piece of theatre
Posted By: James Allen  |  14 Nov 2009   |  9:56 am GMT  |  244 comments

The latest turn of the wheel in the saga over where Jenson Button and Kimi Raikkonen will race next year is that Button and his manager, Richard Goddard visited McLaren’s Woking HQ yesterday.

In itself that is no great surprise, it sends out a message to Brawn that Button has options and McLaren are known to be good payers. For McLaren it sends out a signal to Raikkonen, whose manager also toured McLaren this week, to act now if he wants to stay in F1 in a competitive car and to be more realistic about his salary demands.

But what makes this far more interesting is that both McLaren and Button have decided to go the extra mile and make a media event out of it. Indeed one could almost say that they are rubbing Brawn’s and Raikkonen’s respective noses in it.

"What's that, Ross? I can't hear you." (Darren Heath)
The Guardian’s Alan Henry, who is very close to McLaren boss Martin Whitmarsh, has written a piece where McLaren are happily admitting that Button made the visit, “To say hello”, according to a team spokesman. The flippancy of this comment says it all about what is going on here.

Meanwhile Goddard has a much more focussed message to send to Brawn; that all this stonewalling over salary rises means Jenson does not feel “valued”. You can feel his pain, but this is an unsentimental business. Ross Brawn went on the radio this week to say that he couldn’t pay Button any more money, but that he was free to sign up some personal sponsors to make up the shortfall.

But Goddard seemed to be offering Brawn a last chance to change his mind, as his driver toured McLaren and tried to imagine himself wearing silver,
“I think it’s important that Jenson wants to feel valued in whatever situation he finds himself next season,” Goddard said. “He needs to explore all the feasible options. We’ve been talking about possible terms for 2010 with Brawn for months and we’re not being difficult or unreasonably expensive in our demands for Jenson. In fact we’ve given up quite a lot of negotiating ground in our discussions with them.”

According to the Guardian, Button is looking for a rise on the £4m deal he has on the table, which was based on the cut-price deal he accepted from Brawn this year. Brawn clearly doesn’t feel he’s worth it and that makes Button not feel “valued”

So how will Brawn react to this? He already has Nico Rosberg signed up for next year, with the full blessing of Mercedes. It would be interesting to know what Rosberg’s retainer is, particularly if it is higher than the sum on offer to Button.

Raikkonen is available, but if Brawn is counting the pennies then Raikkonen is another pay grade altogether. Rubens Barrichello has already moved on to Williams. There are other solid reliable drivers around, like Nick Heidfeld or Timo Glock, but is there another on Button’s level?

A move to McLaren would surely be a mistake for Button, as he would be up against Lewis Hamilton in a team which is not only built around him, but which is in awe of what he achieved this season with a poor car. Hamilton has undoubtedly grown substantially as a driver in 2009 and we will probably see the results of that next year.

Button won the world title this year, but by his own admission he lost it a bit in the second half of the season. Brawn are now making him pay for that fallibility.

So is this just showboating or are Button’s people serious? According to Alan Henry, McLaren has now made Button its prime target and demoted Raikkonen to number two with Heidfeld number three.

This situation is reaching its endgame. Button is threatening to take that cherished number one away from Brawn. There is also a Mercedes dynamic here as they are moving away from McLaren and towards Brawn. They have no say in the driver decisions, even if they have some influence. A little of this could be McLaren looking to give Brawn some pain for the way the Mercedes talks have gone.

Also having two world champions in your team underlines your status. McLaren are very keen at the moment to underline that they and Ferrari are the really big names in F1, they carry the weight. As McLaren steers towards a new future without Mercedes from 2012 onwards, keeping self esteem high and the sponsors happy right now is an important strategy. Button would do a far better job than Heikki Kovalainen, but would following Hamilton home everywhere do much for his career?

It’s up to Ross Brawn to make a revised offer or call Button’s bluff. He will have a pretty good idea from the data of how Button would match up to Hamilton. He is a real pragmatist and will not take any of this personally, even if he might be mildly annoyed by this latest move. He will do whatever suits his long-term objectives for the path down which he is taking his team with Mercedes for the future.

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244 Comments
  1. Simon Pearce says:

    I think Button would be ill-advised to leave Brawn afterall their car was as big a part of his championship (if not bigger) as his driving.

    As a McLaren fan, I’m getting bored of Kimi. If he is hanging on for more money and less PR work then I’m not interested. I’d rather Heikki stayed.

    Of course, I could just be getting swept up in the rumour mill like everyone else ;)

    1. Maria says:

      Why because is Kimi is being smart knowing what Mclaren are really looking for is someone to be Hamilton’s side kick?

      Yeah I can see where you coming from. We saw that in 2007 when Alonso refused to be exactly that and stuffed whining Hamilton and Mclaren.

    2. Corey says:

      I’ve got to agree with you Simon, Button should stay at Brawn and keep the no.1 status he should have. However, I wont mind seeing Kimi in silver especially if he gets fired up for 2010.

      Good insight as usual James.

    3. KP says:

      You would rather have an inferior ‘driver’ like Heikki making a fool out of himself in every race than Kimi who is one of the best and asks proper money for his services?

      Mclaren is being a ‘douche’, the way they handle this. They owe Kimi, after the few years he served them and the Mclaren breaking down with every fart on the track, otherwise he would have gotten 2 championships for them.

      Mclaren without Mercedes technology AND finances will be middle pack soon anyhow.

      1. Rich C says:

        Kimi has a consistency problem. I cant count the number of times he has suddenly ‘come to life’ at the end of another losing effort and recorded fastest laps and so forth. He doesn’t have his head together, and until and unless he does he ain’t worth it.
        And McLaren w/o Mercedes is indeed nowhere.

      2. James Allen says:

        I think that is a very valid observation and there is a lot of evidence of that. But what a sublime talent

      3. JB says:

        Wow.. I’m really surprised to see so often people being blind and especially to see it from people who have reputation of being F1 specialist.

        Those sudden ‘come to life’ moments from Kimi have been so many times explained, even by Kimi himself — it’s all about having a car not suited to his driving, not him being unconsistent (why the car was not suited is a whole other story altogether).

        In 2008, Kimi said several times — the tyres would just ‘switch on’ at some point in the race. You could see this from his lap times: suddenly 1-2 or even 3 sec faster times. What would be the point for him doing this?

      4. Can't Believe says:

        Man what are you talking about? Kimi is the most strong mental person in F1. So said the F1 principles and F1 doctors in teams where he was.
        He was always doing his best. Maybe you didn’t watched McLaren years or something? It is just media speculation. The real reason for 2008 was that development went to Massa’s hand even Raikkonen was in lead in championship so this take maybe some hidden agenda on him. Anyway he was consistent!

      5. Martin Collyer says:

        “Mclaren without Mercedes technology AND finances will be middle pack soon anyhow”

        Are you sure about this KP? How do you know?

        McLaren have successfully worked with other manufacturers in the past.

        Examples?

        Honda, Porsche (TAG Turbo)

      6. James Allen says:

        Agreed. They are not likely to leave themselves exposed. Remember 2013 is a new engine formula, based on different technology (green) They will be lining something up, you can be sure

  2. Paul Holden says:

    I also wonder if McLaren are considering that the combination of Button (who is gentle on his tyres) combined with Hamilton (who is known to take more out of them) would be a good thing going into the fuel ban season where tyre management will be everything.

  3. Penfold says:

    Hi James,

    Do you think this is grandstanding? Or do you think he’s actually going to do this and take on Hamilton? You’d have to say that if he really believed in himself then he’d go to Mclaren. Presumably Mclaren will pay him 7 or 8 million as it’s got to be lower than Kimi’s demands. Can’t see him being as quick as Lewis but you never know.

  4. melonfarmer says:

    The really interesting part of this is the gamble on which team will produce the best car. McLaren’s development over the 2nd half of the season was astonishing; Brawn took nearly a year and a reputed $500m of Honda’s cash to develop their wonder car and now the concept is changing again after 1 season. I think the rule changes for next year are being seriously underestimated by the media and fans. I hope Brawn don’t produce an RA108 style dog, but I’m struggling to see them absolutely at the sharp end next year.

  5. Roger says:

    I am not so sure that if Jenson joined McLaren he would be “following Hamilton home” every race. There is constant talk in F1 circles of drivers being “quick” but in terms of actual times the whole grid are seperated in tenths of seconds.

    Whilst Lewis undoubtedly showed in the second half of this year a solid performance, the dynamoc changes again next year with no refuelling and tyre management.

    I hate to say it, but if I were Jenson I would probably opt for the Mclaren option and stuff as much money into my bank account as I could.
    Reading between the lines, I am not convinced Ross really wants to keep Jenson, if he did, a deal would have been done by now.

    What’s quite strange is that having won the Constructors title and the Drivers title, Brawn are on the verge of starting next season with 2 diferent drivers, Is this a first for a F1 team?? And why did Rubens move? Surely he would have been a better bet than a new driver, he can certainly be termed as “quick”…

    1. tom says:

      Williams won the 92 championships and started 93 with two new drivers.

    2. Rich C says:

      Reubens is quick, but doesnt have the killer instinct to be a #1 or world champion. He’ll always be the best wingman.

    3. mp4-19b says:

      One instance I can remember of was in 1992, when Mansell & Patrese easily won the WDC & WCC for Williams & were replaced by Prost & Hill for 1993. Mansell left for Indycar for the same reason as Button.

      Could we see Button in Indycar for 2010?

      1. Tim Scarratt says:

        The Indycar of 2010 is nowhere close to the Indycar of 1993, that series really isn’t a viable option for an F1 world champion any more.

    4. Martin says:

      Williams won in 1992 with Mansell and Patrese and started 1993 with Prost and Hill. I haven’t found any other examples.

      1. Edd says:

        Benetton 1n 1996?

      2. Ben says:

        I think Benetton are the only other team to do this. They won both championships in 1995, Schumacher left for Ferrari, Herbert left for Sauber and Alesi & Berger drove for Benetton in 1996.

  6. HR says:

    Of course the conventional wisdom say the Button will stay with Brawn for all the reasons that have been endlessly stated.

    But pride can also provide a powerful antidote to plain common sense.

    Button has just achieved a lifetime ambition. There was much emotion, backslapping and champagne sprayed, they thought they would stay married forever.

    Now Brawn are saying we want you but you but at our price, and Jenson’s feeling are undoubtedly hurt whilst Martin Whitmarsh is now whispering in Jenson’s ear with the chequebook open on the table.

    It could yet prove to be an irresistible combination.

  7. Fil says:

    Jenson needs Brawn a lot more than Brawn needs Jenson. That’s the crux of it.

    Jense, are you willing to spare £3m for a potential 2nd WDC? Cos you won’t get that at Team Vodafone McLewis..

  8. Question to James

    Do you think this is a tactic to “upset” Brawn GP on behalf of team Button or could he actually go to McLaren?

    Also…
    If he did then surely it wojld (on paper) be on equal terms with Lewis rather than as an understudy? – I accept that the Mclaren team pretty much has Lewis at its heart and surely the car is set to suit lewis – given Jensons like for a smoth feeling car will the mcLaren match his driving needs/skills?

    1. James Allen says:

      As world champion he would of course have equal status. There is a degree of pain being inflicted here by McLaren but we will see over the next few weeks whether both sides choose to go through with it.

  9. Pete says:

    James, you’re sure that Button wouldn’t be able to beat Hamilton then? Is it that clear cut when they’ve been in such different cars in the past?

  10. Shaun says:

    I would forget about both these relative underacheivers.

    Give Heidfeld a break? I think he would do exactly the job that McLaren are looking for- fast, reliable, consistent and experienced.

    Kubica is held in very high regard but was beaten but Heidfeld as often as not?

    1. Rich C says:

      “Quick Nick” just aint that impressive.

      1. montonnik says:

        He’s beat Kubica for 2 out of the 3 seasons they have been together. Didn’t he beat Raikkonen when they were together at Sauber as well?

      2. Neil says:

        Can you back up that statement with data?

        Nick H has beaten all his team mates; most of them significantly, Kubica half the time. He makes the best out of a bad car, and probably has the best record on the grid for getting points from a grid position below #6.

        I think he would be an excellent #2, and would almost certainly settle for that position. Unlike taking a driver who wants to be #1, and then goes of the boil by mid-season when they are not winning.

        Neil.

      3. Rudy Pyatt says:

        I agree that Heidfeld is an ideal choice. McLaren has demonstrated over the last decade that star lineups (Kimi/JPM and Lewis/Fernando) don’t work for them. If they go for Button, it will be a dysfunctional blowup. They MAY win, but it’ll rip up the team. See also the Prost-Senna years.

        Rather than repeating that mistake, “feeding their eyes and not their stomachs,” Nick Heidfeld would provide what McLaren needs, as opposed to what they seem to want. He’s quick enough to keep Lewis honest and grab a steady haul of Constructors’ points. People forget that Heidfeld was groomed by Ron Dennis in the McLaren junior team once upon a time, only to be shoved aside in favor of Kimi.

        In fact, for all the “equal treatment” talk they’ve made over the years, McLaren, like every team since F1 started, can’t comfortably do that. As James says, the team is built around Lewis — no less than Lotus was built around Jim Clark. Or, denials to the contrary and DC’s feelings notwithstanding, around his McLaren teammates while he was there.

        Then again, it may not matter. I have a feeling that losing Mercedes backing will send McLaren into their mid-’90s (McLaren-Ford/McLaren-Peugot) irrelevance soon enough, if not into Williams/Tyrrell or (real) Lotus/Brabham territory…

  11. Andy Fov says:

    I think Button could beat Hamilton on his day, much like DC occasionally got the better of Mika, ditto Rubens and Schuey.

    If you’re going to get whupped over the course of a season by your teammate though who would you rather it be, Hamilton or Rosberg? I know who I’d prefer to be humbled by.

  12. wow, big ups are coming. I guess if Ferrari will make a good car for next year we will see a very intresting season – the show, the struggle, the competition.

  13. button must be very confident in his ability to even consider racing alongside hamilton in a team built around him, me im not so sure. Kimi has the raw speed to live with hamilton and the personality not to let any thing affect him (cause he doesn’t give a s..!)

  14. Conor mclarnon says:

    James you and I both know that Hamilton will totally wipe the floor with button. You have to ask yourself the question if Ross brawn were trying to do a deal with Hamilton, alonso vettel or kimi he would snap there hand off for 8 mill. Also jenson by his own admission hates oversteer and he would be up the king of oversteer in mclaren who cars always seen to oversteer. And by the way I’m a Ferrari fan so there both no favourites of mine

  15. Jon Wilde says:

    James, On the point of personal sponsors for Jenson at Brawn do you have any idea what his Monster Energy Drink deal was/is worth?

    I was surprised to see at the Brazilian GP Brawn had the TNT Energy Drink deal and Jenson maintained his Monster Deal, typically I would have thought this would be cause sponsor conflict issues. Do the same rules not apply to Brawn??

    Surely a deal for Jenson to have his own sponsors will make it more difficult for the team to attact sponsors as they cannot offer a complete team for PA days etc.

    Brawn can’t really be willing to loose the number 1 on it’s car for next year can they?

    I’m struggling to see the logic behind Brawn playing any kind of hardball with Jenson for 2010 contracts, surely these actions will have an impact on future relationships. Do Ross or the Brawn team simply not rate Jenson as much as they imply?

    Or is this Kimi, Jenson, Brawn, Mclaren media frenzy something that Mercedes are concocting to ensure maximum publicity in the off season?? Do Brawn / Will Brawn still have the right to sign drivers under a Mercedes deal? Are both drivers (similar to Rosberg) actually already under Mercedes contract with the decision of which team they are driving for still to be taken?

    Surely Jenson won’t want to drive for Mclaren apart from the Lewis factor he’ll have to shave!!

    Surely Kimi won’t want to drive for Mclaren, he’ll have to cover up his tattoos!

    1. James Allen says:

      Goddard says that the deal for JB to find his own sponsors is nothing new, it was in the old deal

      1. Maria says:

        Agreed. Most of the drivers have this in their contracts anyway. Kimi and Alonso for example have their personal sponsors on their overalls.

        It seems to me Brawn are doing everything in their power to make Button leave in such a way that no one else can come back at them and say they were trying to sack button in the first place. Seems plausible to me that is what they are trying to do.

        But if this is the case, who are they trying to target to replace Button?

        From what I hear its Kimi, and it has nothing to do with money. This game that they are playing with Button is purely to drive him out on his own rather than having bad press for Brawn GP in the ways they treated a newly crowned world champion.

        We should also keep in mind it was Norbert Huag who was seen cuddling with Kimi lately rather than any Mclaren personal. Kimi’s ties could be where Mercedes is. If Mercedes want Kimi and Nico in 1 team, why should it not happen? Simple: Button is the way and Brawn’s recent tactics could be indicative of this.

  16. Lewis Jones says:

    Hi James, another excellent article as ever. Is it just me, or is Richard Goddard out of his depth at this level? Having seen him as part of the celebrations surrounding Jenson’s championship, I got the impression that this was a man clearly out of his league in the cut-throat world of F1. Surely Jenson would benefit from having better representation? Am sure your old friend Martin Brundle would have been able to act in this capacity. Am also sure Martin would have ensured we didn’t have this public ‘media circus’ which I am sure is annoying Brawn (the team and the man) intensely. As a final point, I think Jenson would be destroyed by Lewis if he went to McLaren, would you agree with this?

    1. James Allen says:

      No I think Richard knows what he’s doing and Jenson trusts him, which is important.

      1. Lady Snowcat says:

        Important given Jenson’s history of picking the wrong guys to represent him…

        Do you know why he dropped the Robertsons James?… I know he got in with the Byfield clan about then (legal friends of John I recall) and I believe he was a bit miffed that the Robertsons preferred Kimi to him…

        Have you anymore info?…

  17. David says:

    AS you say James, great theatre. I wonder also if Ross Brawn is keeping an eye on the situation with Renault and the possibility that Kubica may come back onto the driver market in the near future?

    What is the latest whisper about where McLaren will get engines in 2012? Are they still looking at buying the BMW engine plant – as was rumoured a couple of weeks ago – and building their own engine?

  18. Niko says:

    My preferred choice of second McLaren driver is Nick Hiedfeld. At first I wanted Kimi to go back there but it’s getting silly now.

    On Button, I’ve heard rumours (little more than “friend of a friend” supposed McLaren insiders) that the deal’s already been done. Personally I think Button and McLaren have got a deal done, should his Brawn deal fail. Being that the deal Brawn is supposedly offering (slightly bigger salary for freedom to choose sponsors) is very reasonable and Jenson would be taking a big risk leaving Brawn, let alone moving to McLaren, I’m wondering what the hold-up is. If it was announced he was joining McLaren tomorrow, I really wouldn’t be surprised anymore.

  19. Andres says:

    English is not my native language, but if I understand, Roos Braun is a cheap team?

  20. El Shish says:

    Hi James,
    I see you touch on who might be the other driver after Rosberg should Button leave, but would any of those mentioned (apart from Kimi, who seems to be excluded based on his demands) provide Brawn with the name and ability required for them to of defend their constructor’s championship with any degree of respectability. With the Mercedes hook-up, could Brawn conceivably bite the bullet and use ’10 to see how good Rosberg is and then use Haug’s leverage to try and get Vettel on board for ’11? Am I right in thinking his current contract is due to expire then?

    Also, how done a deal is Rosberg for Brawn in ’10? Is it literally just a case of Mercedes/Mclaren/Brawn finding a solution to ownership and contracts for this to be confirmed officially?

  21. momo says:

    I agree, Button won’t do much good at Mclaren, and at least at Brawn he’ll have some preference over Rosberg. I kinda doubt that Button could deal with a car not suited to him, one can never say. He’s fast, but he might just be ‘Montoya’ fast, not adaptable like Kimi, or Alonso.

    It’s just a shame of a position he’s in, so much doubt over whether he deserves the championship. Had the diffuser situation never come about, most people would say Vettle would be the champion. It seems that out of all this Brawn himself comes out (but it should be well known already) as the most valuable man, I’m surprised Kimi doesn’t want to bite the financial bullet and side with a Mercedes/Brawn future. Then again he seems to be just about ready to accept a future elsewhere

  22. Finn says:

    Think Ross should ditch JB. Rosberg will out-race him anyway, so he needs a better driver to push Rosberg along.

    Why not Kimi with the same offer from Ross to get his own sponsorship deals to make up any perceived shortfall in salary?

  23. DK says:

    It looks like this has turned into a poker game, and the Brawn and McLaren have better hands. IMO Button is in the weakest position now and I wonder if McLaren is willing to offer what he is asking knowing Ross has played hard ball with him (and Ross said he was 99% sure Button will stay).

    My money is still on Kimi to McLaren.

  24. Elliot says:

    “Button would do a far better job than Heikki Kovalainen, but would following Hamilton home everywhere do much for his career?”

    James – can you elaborate on this beauty of a sentence?!

    1. Tonksy says:

      I think the bottom line in that sentence is that Kovy was fairly ordinary ;-)

  25. Howard Hughes says:

    My god that’s a fine article. I think skill wise Hamilton is an A to Button’s A-, and given how the team has evolved around Lewis it would be pretty foolhardy of Jenson to join McLaren; not least because the ignominy of being a world champ following his teammate home most races would only underline the supposition many have that it was the car that won him the 09 title…

    If I were in Jenson’s shoes I’d get my management to sign up as many personal sponsors as possible, re-sign for Brawn and go all out to win back to back titles with Mercedes’ full backing.

  26. Jesus says:

    Interesting. For the fans i think the best move is Raikkonnen to McLaren and Button staying in Brawn.
    But for McLaren and Lewis maybe the best is signing Button, because he will be a regular points scorer (if they buid a fast car), but without threatening Hamilton´s leadership, as he is not in the same league as him, Raikkonnen or Alonso.

    A question for you, James, what pair of drivers would you like to see at McLaren next year, Ham/Raikk or Ham/Button??

  27. jose says:

    I agree. One of the biggest problems the sport has, are the big salaries. You said it perfectly james. Button is good, but the move to mclaren could bring him to the same level he had in 2008. So he better makes a deal with brown, and enjoy the last few years of f1 he has on him. And blame it on the car, if he doesn’t get the results.
    The kimi case is a shame. If he is just after the money, we don’t want him in f1.
    He is not very good with the fans, but he is fast, and we like that. But chasing the money like that, gives the wrong message. May be it’s time to just make room for a new guy who really wants to chase the dream.

  28. Mark says:

    With comments like those within this blog, I now want Jenson to go to Mclaren. Hamilton will lose a part of his armoury when he is asked to look after his tyres consistently. I agree he developed as a driver this season, but you cannot take that spark out of him that makes him want to go full out when prudence needs factoring in. Jenson’s style will put him up there in the same car.
    With that in mind, I would like to see him ram that insulting comment of following Lewis home time and again, from you, down your throat so that it sticks.

    1. Vannman says:

      raw nerve?

    2. Mav says:

      By all means question James’ opinions, but don’t feck it up for the rest of us by coming out with aggressive crap like that.

    3. Marcello says:

      Mark

      What is Lewis got to do with the fact Jenson isn’t valued by his own team, and treated like a world champion?

      1. Mark says:

        Marcello, Lewis has nothing to do with that, I take exception to the line from James that Jenson would follow Lewis home time and again.

    4. Martin P says:

      If you’d said that about any one of us who comment here I suspect James and his moderators would take the view that it was offensive and not allow the comment.

      You’re very lucky he allows such comments targeted at himself, but I for one find your tone offensive, aggressive and somewhat unhinged.

      By all means have an opinion. But if you can’t express yourself with any intelligence or control then it may be better to think twice before you hit “enter”.

    5. Doug says:

      I have to agree, even as a Hamilton fan I think Jenson could well give him a hard time with the new regs…..they’re almost tailor made for Button!
      I for one hope he goes to McLaren, it would be the ballsy move & I think McLaren will have a better car than Brawn next season (look at the relative performance gains throughout this season).

  29. Paul says:

    As you say James it was mutually beneficial for Button and McLaren to do this yesterday. Button would be a fool to go to Hamilton’s team and I don’t think McLaren would really want someone who will seriously threaten Lewis.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if McLaren already have Heidfeld signed up. I reckon he surprise people in a winning car

  30. Dominic J says:

    Button – Hamilton and Rosberg – Heidfeld are not ideal pairings in modern F1. 2 brits or 2 germans appeal to sponsors far less than 1 of each, usually. Other than Heidfeld – Frentzen, how many one-nationality teams have we seen in the last 10 years?

  31. Sam White says:

    What I think doesn’t make sense is that Button’s smooth driving style completely contradicts the all guns blazing approach of Hamilton – therefore, surely the car will suit one of them (likely hamilton) much more than the other! Raikonnen and Hamilton are similar and McLaren could create a perfect car for the both of them.

    Do teams take into account the driving styles of drivers when making their decision?

  32. Chris R says:

    It’s a very rare position for Button, having won I can understand him being very tempted to go to Mclaren. They’re a certainty to be competitive next year.

    It may look quite a cold-hearted move after the emotion involved with Toyota/Brawn though, but as you say James none of this should be taken personally.

    With that said, I really dont like these PR stunts, they always leave a bad taste. And everyone will be expecting Hamilton to wipe the floor with Button if he does move to Mclaren, whereas he’d be Number 1 at Brawn.

  33. Dom says:

    Ross is a shrewd guy – either continue with Button on a modest contract or in the unlikely event that Button goes to Mclaren (I really don’t see Jenson happy to be team-mates with Hamilton), I’m sure he/Merecedes could pick up Raikkonen for a little more.

  34. Paul says:

    Put Jenson into Mclaren I say, lets see how good Lewis really is. I think with no refueling next year a smooth driver who’s easy on tyres will be highly important next year. I think Jenson will be the man to beat in any competitive car next year.

    1. Jesse says:

      So much wrong there.. Even if you’re correct, I couldn’t give a toss who can look after their tyres better,

      I want F1 to prove who is the fastest, most aggressive driver. And Hamilton and Raikkonen >>> Button on that score.

      1. Mike from Medellin, Colombia says:

        Exactly – I don’t want to see a Marathon full of skinny dudes conserving energy….I want to see the 100m, 200m or 400m.

        Prost was conservative with his tyres and fuel……and everyone preferred to watch Senna.

      2. Doug says:

        Ever thought about watching drag racing instead? ;-)

      3. montonnik says:

        I think the point is that without refuelling, tyre wear becomes an issue, and the fastest driver wont necessarily be the most agressive.

        I think that Lewis, Jenson and Fernando are probably the best overtakers in F1, and that is actually what gives the most excitement.

  35. George says:

    He’ll end up without a job if he’s not careful

  36. Shaun says:

    P.S. They would probably save themselves a few quid as well AND give Mercedes a headache if he turned out to be the top German driver thus giving Brawn a kick in the arse despite doing Mercedes bidding and signing Rosberg.

    P.P.S. He’s not really german anyway!

  37. Duncan says:

    James, I would be interested in hearing your views on Hamilton’s title bid next year. He’s performed well in a struggling car, has grown up on and off the track and McLaren will no doubt come back with a better package given they started 2010 development early.

    However, it’s recognised that with race fuel on board from the start, there’s going to be bigger emphasis on who can manage their tyres the best and Hamilton is well known for shredding his with his aggressive driving style. As for Button he really looks after his so who holds the advantage?

    1. James Allen says:

      A lot will depend on the car, of course. Ferrari started earlier putting big effort into the 2010 car so if they have got it right they might start with an edge over McLaren. I see Brawn and Red Bull being competitive again, depending on how the Red Bull engine situation works out

  38. Dan says:

    Surely if Mercedes are buying into Brawn, they’d want the number 1 on their ‘new’ car, as a nod to McLaren being trumped by them this year, and their (still) rumoured cooling of their relationship… Or is it that Mercedes don’t rate Jenson particularly highly/not the right nationality?

    1. Rich C says:

      Sure they’d want that number ’1′ but they’d also want (need?) a good Churman driver for PR.
      And right now I just dont see one except the God-like Schumacher. Imagine the hoopla if *he came out of retirement to drive for Mercedes?

  39. Young Slinger says:

    The match up of Lewis and Jenson would be considered by many as a Dream Team, but would it really? Two genuine contenders in one team would be unlikely to work – to be effective there must be a team leader, and that usually works out, hence Webber, Barrichello et al. I have no doubt that Lewis is the one for McLaren and it would be a retrospective move for Jenson. Time will tell…..!

  40. Madhu says:

    I wonder how the situation would have been had button struggled in the first part of the season and won so many races in the latter part of the season!

    James,

    If Hamilton and Kimi pair up in Mclaren, who do you think you will bet on being faster?

    Madhu

    1. James Allen says:

      Kimi at times, Hamilton might edge it over a whole season

      1. Rich C says:

        Kimi would do his usual late charge to get the fastest lap while finishing 4th or 5th.

      2. Lady Snowcat says:

        Interesting…

        You must believe Kimi and Lewis are pretty even given that Lewis MAY edge it over a whole season.. but Jense would follow Lewis home…

        If McLaren agree they have to go for Kimi…

        Partly because IF Jenson were to be constantly behind Lewis I think he’d end up doing a Heikki… however motivated he was at the start of the season…

      3. Martin P says:

        Or you could look at it the opposite way (obviously!);

        Kimi & Lewis could equal Alonso & Lewis, where both took points off each other and neither won the Championship – being pipped by a consistent Kimi.

        Button & Lewis though could be a steady run to both Championships.

        That said, I suspect they could achieve exactly the same result with Heidfeld in the car for a lot less money.

  41. Michael S says:

    James I could not agree more with you if I wrote the article myself… The first thing I though was Jenson makes so much more sense at Brawn and Kimi is perfect for McLaren and this seems staged a bit….

    However, if the flip side is true… Could Jenson go to Macca and Kimi to Brawn(if Kimi drops his salary demands)

  42. I think Brawn holds all the cards here as I think Button needs them more than Brawn needs Button.

    Both would prefer to stay with each other and that is what I hope happens, but in these negotiations Brawn has the upper hand. They can say this is the best we can offer, but if you get a better at McLaren then maybe you should take it, knowing full well a move there would be a massive risk for Button.

    Unfortunately for Button, the only good seats left are Brawn and McLaren and every man and his dog knows that he would be foolish to leave Brawn.

    The McLaren visit will hopefully help Button get a slightly better offer at Brawn. McLaren, I think, should go with Heidfeld.

  43. If this Jenson situation with Brawn does resolve itself, I can see McLaren losing patience with Kimi before they sign him.

    Would it would be a bad move for McLaren to go for Heidfeld? He’s hungry for that first win, can consistently score points and would be a good team mate for Lewis. People seem to forget that he actually beat Kubica overall this year and his anonymous points at Abu Dhabi seemed to sum up his year.

    One more thing about Nick is that he will be very keen to get on over on Kimi after McLaren chose the Finn back in 2002. Motivation won’t be a problem.

    Either way, its going to be an interesting winter this time round…

  44. mael says:

    I’m sorry Jenson, but you really have no option but to stay at Brawn, and what’s more Ross knows it.

    There is a lot of talk about the cutting of his salary demands for this season, but the truth is he was without a job until the last moment, so it really wasn’t such a sacrifice as it was self preservation.

    McLaren is Hamiltions’ domain and aside from Brawn there isn’t a seat worth having for a WDC.

    So sorry Jenson, but sign or lose out.

  45. KNF says:

    I’m getting flashbacks to 2004-2005 again about Button and his contracts with BAR and Williams, except that this time he has no contracts to speak of for next year…

    Kimi to McLaren is more likely, since his severance paycheck was supposedly signed by Santander…

    1. Lady Snowcat says:

      Rather amusing if Kimi is paid mega bucks by Santander not to race for Ferrari and mega bucks to race for Macca…

      Actually I think that this could be one of the problems Kimi is facing getting a decent offer from Macca…

      In normal circumstances you wouldn’t expect a new employer to look at a severance deal… it’s generally not relevant.. but in this case the new employer is funded by the same guys as the old employer…

      An unusual but interesting dynamic…

      1. James Allen says:

        Crickey, what’s got into you? All these comments all of a sudden?

  46. Thomas says:

    I’m still hoping for Kimi at McLaren. He is intimate with the team, he knows his way around a McLaren, and he will suffer none of the troubles Alonso had with the control tyres in 2007. Kimi is fundamentally fast, and he does seem to gear it up a notch whenever there is something to prove.
    If Kimi turns up at McLaren he would want to prove that Ferrari shouldn’t have dropped him and that Lewis has nothing on him regarding speed. It could be the clash of the century.

    1. Martin says:

      I don’t remember tyres ever being Fernando’s issue. Brakes (Carbone Industrie vs Hitco) were a big thing at tracks such as Bahrain. Alonso’s other main race-pace problem was running off the track at the start (Spain and Canada) and breaking things. His race in Brazil was pretty ordinary, but otherwise when both Lewis and Fernando had clear races, Fernando often had the edge – Australia, Malaysia, Monaco, Silverstone, Spa, Monza. The first two were at the beginning of Lewis’ career, but also the first experience of the tyres.

  47. Richard G says:

    A move to Mclaren is *possibly* a mistake for button. That said, it puts him opposite a known quantity (LH), at the top of his game, in what we expect to be a decent car.

    I hope they can make it work. It’s crunch time for Button, I would find it very interesting to see how he measures up to running against LH in a mclaren.

    X

  48. LMW says:

    I can see this ending in tears for JB. Although a worthy world champion, i think he’s showing a little lack of respect now for his employer. As he keeps saying himself, he thought he was out of a job 9 months ago. He should accept the offer on the table, capitalise on his current status in attracting some lucrative sponsors, and lead the team into a stable future.

  49. Med says:

    What exactly is Button’s “worth”? Fair enough, he outclassed Rubens at the beginning of the season when the car was to his liking, but as soon as it wasn’t, he slipped back, as he has in previous seasons – and I mean in comparison to his team-mate, as it’s not totally fair to compare against different teams.

    It’s been said he’s not very good on setting up the car; so I’d imagine this also carries across to the development aspect.

    It can’t be said that he’s good for creating a team spirit, or brand for sponsors, since the debacle a few years ago when he “he’d rather not race at all than have to race for BAR if he couldn’t go to Williams” and then vice-versa then following season, and now looking to jump ship from the team that gave him a championship if they don’t pay him enough kinda gives the impression that the team’s not where his mind’s at.

    Fairly or unfairly, I just can’t warm to the idea of him being a “champion” driver, he just seems to be missing a certain flair and I can’t help feeling he’s holding out for more than he can give back.

    I’m just an armchair analyst though so I could well be talking out of my rear

  50. Spark says:

    Why does it feel to me like this more or less like a big bluff from the side of Button and his management. I mean, why do it in the open while the visit from Raikkonens management was supposed to be more of a secret. (unless I am incorrectly informed).

    This looks like Button wants to show that he has other options. But off course Button also knows that the Brawn will be a competitive car again, given that they have already spent so many hours on next years car. And off course in the long run, it seems like Brawn will be the better bet if the deal with Mercedes will be made. So Brawn wont be persuaded easily, as he has other options too.

    For Raikkonen it doesn’t seem to matter (Brawn or Mclaren), as he probably will only be in F1 for one or two more years. At least, that is the feeling I get from him.

    Alan,
    Do you have any insight in when a deal will or must be made? Are there any pending deadlines. Or do we have to be patient and see which way it pans out….

  51. monktonnik says:

    I can’t help but feel that Brawn are cutting off their nose to spite their face, as would Button be if he went to Mclaren over money.

    I can see for Mclaren why they would want JB, he would be cheaper than Kimi, and probably as fast, particularly when you consider that the new tyre rules will favour smooth drivers, he may even be closer to Hamilton than everyone assumes.

    But really this situation represents a slight betrayal on Brawn’s part. JB has been at the team for a number of years, and stayed loyal when the car was poor. He has delivered when the car was good, and he hasn’t bad mouthed the team to the press when he hasn’t been on form.

    He deserves to be paid in accordance to his achievement.

    1. Rich C says:

      Agreed. But there is no loyalty in F1 today.

      1. James Allen says:

        It’s always been a rare commodity

      2. Martin P says:

        Sir Jackie Stewart and Ken Tyrell – loyalty and a handshake. If only we could have an extra ounce of that in today’s teams.

    2. Martin says:

      Pay would be determined by the value to the team and the sponsors. The new teams are showing that there are plenty of teams willing to drive a back-of-the-grid team for nothing. To improve on that Jenson has to bring TV time for the sponsors and results for the team. His prior achievements contribute, but it is still a competitive environment. His world championship is of commercial value and only helps a team if the additional sponsorship increases car performance – in this case it is too late influence the fundamentals of the 2010 car.

      1. montonnik says:

        I agree it is about perceived value and market forces. By that token, you would have to say that if Brawn can’t afford Button then he should go elsewhere, particularly if it is in a competitive car.

        Personally I think he should stay put, but equally I think it would actually devalue his perceived worth if he took less than he feels he can get elsewhere. He has had a difficult career, some of which has been caused by poor management, but he has shown himself to be capable of winning the WDC against stiff comeptition, and on the first real opportunity he had.

        Neither Massa, Hamilton or Raikkonen can make that claim, even though they are perceived as being better drivers. They still made mistakes and lost the championship. Admittedly Raikkonen had a lot of reliability issues, but he really should have been a multiple WDC by now with his level of natural talent.

    3. Med says:

      I disagree with you about Jenson staying loyal to the team – yes, he stayed with them, but just cast your mind back and think about the mess he got into with Williams and BAR

  52. Steve says:

    James,

    I’d be quite interested as to why you believe that Button would be trailing Hamilton at every race. Remember, that if the car is to his liking, that Button has the beating of anyone. Yes, it is true that McLaren is currently centred around Hamilton, but the number 1 on a new driver’s car can change the dynamic no end (Think Alain Prost at Ferrari).

    Also, remember that Hamilton is the driver who struggled in the past with tyre wear, which will be critical next year, as a driver who is able to drive smoothly and not destroy their tyres could be in line to save themselves by making 1 pitstop to their opponents 2 (for instance). Also, with the reduction in front tyre width, this will bring the bias towards the rear again, which also plays towards Button, giving a relatively more stable rear end, compared with Hamilton’s favoured stable front end.

    I’d say that nothing is assured until (if and when) they race each other on equal terms in the same machinery.

  53. CHUBASCO CHUNG says:

    I was so touched after watching JB’s Top Gear(BBC )interview that he would give up all his millions just to get a win in F 1.

    Now that he is world champion all because of the Brawn package, and he demands more millions which is only fair compare to Kimi and Alonso huge pay.

    Jenson could have been a double or triple WRC if he had started at the right team with the right management.

    If JB leave Brawn and gets few more millions at Mclaren but spend the whole 2010 following Hamilton ,just like his second half of 2009, could not figure what went wrong with his car.

    JB , be No 1 at Brawn , and since Mercedes are leaning towards Brawn, you might end up winning
    few more races, and if Brawn can work magic with the heavy fuel start next year, you might end up winning all the first six races and it will be DEJAVU all over again.

    Now, I started to miss Ruben at Brawn already.

  54. The Phantom Menance says:

    Ya gotta say….from a spectators point of view, a teaming of Button and Hamilton would make for a great spectacle.

    Both are wheel to wheel racers and. lets face it, we know that the Maclaren (together with Ferrari) are going to be back at the top of the grid next season. We can’t be so sure about Brawn though.

  55. GQsm says:

    As much as two British world champions at McLaren would be a big deal, I don’t think I really want it to happen from a racing point of view. I would be disappointed if Lewis ran away with it with Jenson always behind and I think this is pretty much how it would be.

    Kimi in the other McLaren would be my favourite scenario as I think he could push Lewis, but failing that I do not want Heidfield in the car either, seems like another Heikki to me.

    I’d rather Glock, Sutil or another driver with a bit more spirit got the seat.

    I guess he must have but has Heidfield actually ever overtaken anyone on track this year (Car problems and off track excursions not included)?

  56. Pat says:

    Teams spend hundreds of thousands of pounds to get an extra tenth out of their cars. Next years regulations will reward drivers who can look after their tyres. I doubt there’s anyone better on the grid at doing that than Jenson Button. Prost was a master at looking after his tyres and could save a complete pit stop with his driving style when there was no re-fuelling. I see Jenson in very much the same vein as Prost. Saving a 20 second pit stop in some races is like having a car 3 tenths of a second per lap quicker over a 60 lap race distance – 3 tenths per lap is a massive amount to achieve via R&D and wind tunnel work and very expensive. Ross Brawn must realise this – Mclaren certainly do. Ross Brawn’s argument that the more he pays his drivers the less he has to spend on car development doesn’t really hold water if you look at it from this angle – he would spend a lot more to get an additional 3 tenths per lap across the entire season than hew would upping Jenson’s salary to a more realistic level worthy of a World Champion.

    From Jenson’s point of view if he is seriously considering a move to Mclaren he needs to absolutely guarantee 100% equal status with regards to updates to the car througout the year – Button would be the perfect foil for Hamilton – next years regs play right into Button’s hands with his ultra smooth style – Mclaren are no mugs and easily see the benefit of having Button on board – we seem to forget that Hamilton in the grand scheme of things is still relatively inexperienced – his driving style will need to be modified for next year or he’ll be chewing tyres up left right and centre. Fuel levels and strategy during quali won’t be an issue as it was this year for Kovalainen as it’s all going to be done on the same levels next year, the mechanics on both sides of the garage will be ultra motivated as they’ll both be working with World Champions.

    I guess the question that remains for Button is will the Mclaren be as competitive without the KERS it had this year to drag it out of trouble – looking at some of the on-board footage from Hamilton’s car towards the end of the season it looks like they had the balance sorted.

    If Jenson does go to Mclaren – let Brawn paint their cars Silver & sign Rosberg & Heidfield. Mclaren should paint their cars in “Union Jack” colours and then let the battle commence :)

    1. Rick J says:

      Not “Union Jack” but good old British Racing Green surely!?!! Actually I agree completely with your points and had not considered the perspective of next years non-refuelling formula. Makes a lot of sense that this will be advantageous to those with a Prost like driving style such as Button’s.

    2. Doug says:

      Very good point about the cost savings in R&D Jenson could bring.

  57. Bloke says:

    James, Im not so sure that Button would be ‘following Hamilton home everywhere’.

    1. kenny says:

      Butttton certainly would be ‘following Hamilton home everywhere’, mostly from a distance.

      This is an admission from the Butttton fan base that the best driver didn’t win the championship this year.

  58. Darren M says:

    It normally really annoys me when people say ‘great article James’, but… great article James!

    I hope Heidfeld gets the seat- he deserves his big chance after 10 years in F1

    1. Lady Snowcat says:

      If they want a number 2 driver for Lewis he’d be almost as good as Rubens….

      But if you want an equal then Kimi’s the only alternative…

  59. Andrew says:

    I’m a big fan of Button and I would love to see him battling Lewis, but can he? Really?

  60. John says:

    James, with Heidfeld being demoted to No.3 on McLaren’s shopping list, his chances of getting a seat there are almost zero. Do you know if Nick has other realistic options or would he stay with Sauber?

  61. Can't Believe says:

    James, I see you are continuing with this “salary demands by Kimi”. Although Kimi said he is interested in winning car……
    But, I tell you: Kimi is cool and he is not interested what is Button/McLaren doing. He is more than eager to go to WRC, so if they don’t agree he is out of F1 and making his new carrer. I remind you he fullfilled his dream becoming a champion so… And this with Button won’t strengthen position in negotiations, because Kimi doesn’t care. He can drive any serious he wants.
    And Cheers to that!

    1. Can't Believe says:

      Just to edit my post:
      serious – series*

  62. Sven says:

    This season has showed that Button is a winner if the car suits him perfectly. Hamilton has showed that he can win also with a difficult car.
    If both where in the same car Button would probably match Hamilton if and when the car suits
    him but over a season Hamilton would brutally expose Buttons shortcomings. If Button cares about his career he would be well advised to stay away from McLaren as would any other driver apart from Raikkonen.

  63. adrian says:

    James, don’t see why it’s a foregone conclusion that Button wouldn’t beat Hamilton at Maclaren. No refuelling will play even more into Button’s strengths. We’ve already seen Hamilton stuff a Maclaren into the barriers trying to keep up with Button (Monza).

    1. George says:

      The Brawn was the faster car there though, especially through the bendy bits where Hamilton was trying to make up the time.

  64. Cliff says:

    As with many contract negotiations, this not about what Jenson needs, but what he feels he is worth. Even as a fan of Lewis Hamilton I can’t work out why anyone would want to be his team-mate. Equal equipment? Yes, Equal treatment? wait and see. Both Kimi & Jenson have made their wage demands and ignored the current climate, hardly anyone has any money. With Mercedes looking to leave VMM and move to Brawn there appears to be no logic in Jenson going to Woking. On the Brawn side, they too need to look at themselves. Nick Fry said “that they were not far apart”, but £4m is a fair distance and they need to find a way through and remember that the paycut taken by Jenson helped the team to survive, it also meant that he had a competitive race seat. I would also say that Jenson’s Value will not only be measured in pound notes, but in the way he conducts himself during his year as WDC. So far, looking for the highest bidder is not a good start.

  65. jim says:

    “A move to McLaren would surely be a mistake for Button, as he would be up against Lewis Hamilton in a team which is not only built around him, but which is in awe of what he achieved this season with a poor car. Hamilton has undoubtedly grown substantially as a driver in 2009 and we will probably see the results of that next year.”

    If it would be a mistake for the current WDC, who happens to be British, to sign with Mclaren, then why would it be smart for Kimi, or anyone else who doesn’t want to be a strict #2, to sign there?
    If you think Button couldn’t get equal treatment there, then isn’t it safe to say that nobody could…

    1. Lady Snowcat says:

      Don’t forget that Kimi has more years with Macca in F1 than Lewis…

      The guys there know how to build a car that suits Kimi…

      If anyone can get equal treatment it will be Kimi… but I think Jenson, coming in from scratch, will have difficulties…

      You could say he did that at BAR against JV.. but there he was clearly preferred by David Richards, the management of the team, who saw Jense as his guy and JV as a pain…

      We live in interesting times… but if I was Jenson I’d definitely swallow my pride and stick with Ross… after insisting that I knew all about the Merc deal and had had a word with Norbert…

      Unless Norbs is angling to have Kimi at Brawn of course… now that would be an interesting situation….

      Ross could also show how his team could provide a better car for Kimi to make use of his talents than Ferrari could….

      But I am probably dreaming…

  66. Kedar says:

    James, what happens at Brawn if indeed Button goes to Mclaren? will they shell out extra for Kimi or just settle for Glock or may be Kobayashi?
    Would love to see Kobayashi in a Brawn though!

  67. M__E says:

    Its win/win situation for both parties involved. Button is just trying to up his stock at Brawn by having mcLaren feigning interest in him in order to drive Raikkonen’s stock down so McLaren can snare him for cheaper.

    Buttons stock goes up for negs with Brawn
    Raikkonens goes down for negs with McLaren

    End result?

    Button will be at Brawn
    and Kimi at McLaren when the music stops :wink:

  68. Roz says:

    I have loved Button for years and years, I’ll lose a bit of my respect for him if he moves team because of money – he did a noble thing IMHO racing for so little this year, and he has always said he races because he loves it, not for the money, so I think it would be in poor form for him to then move to McLaren.

  69. Spencer says:

    As a Brit and a McLaren fan I personally can’t help but get get a bit excited about the prospect of an all British team.

    How will it sit with Lewis wearing number 2 on the car? JB will have an equal opportunity to Lewis but I’m not convinced he would compete to the same level. Either way let’s hope 2010 brings another British WDC and McLaren for WCC. I can’t wait !!!!

  70. Has anyone asked Button what he wants? Is he abstracting himself of everything and letting his manager do the talking? It does seem a bit odd that he’s entertaining these possibilities. And is even more odd that McLaren is seriously considering it. What do they expect from that lineup? A certain world champion? Or another driver fallout? Button may not have the fastest car next season and I don’t expect Brawn to fight for the championship but a move to McLaren may prove to be a disaster for all the reasons you mentioned. As for Brawn, they’re right to stand their ground. No major sponsors in the car and not enough cash are more than enough reasons to refuse a hefty pay rise. And is a fair compromise letting him find his own sponsors. Why can’t he take that? Or is too much work for his management team?

  71. Mike from Medellin, Colombia says:

    James, could you please tell us a bit more about Richard Goddard? Is he a manager or a lawyer? Does he manage any other drivers?

    His negotiating tactics seem very obvious and not particularly effective. Maybe this saga should suggest to Button that he should look for Julian Jakobi’s tel number.

    1. James Allen says:

      He made his fortune selling microprocessors and computer chips, he also has significant property holdings in London. John Button met him in Gibraltar at a time where Button’s affairs were all over the place and Goddard sorted them out.

      1. Dom says:

        James, when did Goddard start managing Button – surely a shrewd manager would have negotiated some options for 2010/11 at Brawn off the back of Jenson’s voluntary pay cut for this season…

        Picking up your point on Button’s affairs being all over the place, I don’t know why Jenson didn’t stick with the management team that got him into F1 with Williams and then Benetton – it wasn’t their fault that he didn’t compare well to Fisi and that Mclaren opted for Raikkonen for 2002 and he got, as I understand it, a fairly good retainer. Ever since then he’s seemed to have been ill advised by managers….

        Great website/blog btw.

  72. Charan says:

    I think it would be great if Jenson Button joined McLaren next year. If nothing else it would serve to contextualize his talent. If JB could go to McLaren and beats LH (I don’t care how he does it) I would be the first to say that Button is one of the all-time greats.
    The fact that Brawn is not prepared to pay him a significant amount is not really a surprise – when you recall that RB outperformed him for the entire second half of the season. If JB had demolished RB in the second half of the year it would be a totally different story – I’m sure Ross would find the money somewhere but he has clearly and rightly decided that JB is not substantially better than RB at the absolute tailend of his career. Damon unlike JB, really stepped up to the plate when it mattered with two other worldly performances: Japan 94 in the wet and in Austrailia. JB just couldn’t manage that – although he did an excellent job of passing the rookies in Brazil this year.
    Having said that, I will reiterate that JB is the 2009 WC. Period.

  73. Silverstoned says:

    James, you promised us an article on Raikkonen way back and with respect, he should be the focus of this one not Button.
    From here it certainly looks like Jens is showboating I’m afraid and aren’t his agents working hard for what must be pretty meagre returns?
    At the same time, we’ve seen team principals and their pals playing rather silly games lately: Haug, Brawn, Howlett have all used the media to try and make Kimi take a pay cut. Why should he I wonder?
    And is it true that Dennis is at loggerheads with Whitmarsh over this?

    1. James Allen says:

      One on Raikkonen coming up shortly

      1. Lady Snowcat says:

        Great…

        I am sure it will be considered….

      2. Rudy Pyatt says:

        Ah, there’s an angle I hadn’t considered, but one that makes sense of this latest episode: “Is it true that Dennis at loggerheads with Whitmarsh over this?” Great question Silverstoned.

        If RD is looking to reassert himself as McLaren moves toward post-Mercedes independence, and I think this likely, then he dare not show weakness (bonus points for those picking up on the TV reference there). He will want to uphold McLaren’s image as THE team, along with Ferrari. He can do that, in dramatic fashion, by getting JB paired with Lewis.

        For all his rationality and professionalism, RD has shown again and again that he’s fully capable letting such emotions lead him into error on driver pairings (see my post above). Given this, JB’s social call at Woking begins to look more and more (uncomfortably) familiar.

      3. James Allen says:

        Whitmarsh signing off so readily on Mercedes supplying engines to Brawn at the start of the year may be the problem. Dennis may not be hell bent on racing again so much as making sure that McLaren has a strong future.

      4. Buck says:

        James I’m looking forward to that Raikkonen article. As I’ve said before here, I’ve been a big fan of his from the start because I think in terms of pure talent and speed, he may rank up there with a very select few from F1′s history, but also because he seems to not value much else about the F1 circus other than pushing the limits of himself and the car to go as fast as he possibly can. To use Zen or Buddhist terms, while in the car he “lives in the moment”.

        I know his seeming indifference to the media forces journalists such as yourself to work much harder to get a juicy quote or story out of him, but I think that is another reason he has endeared himself to his many fans.

        Much of the recent talk about Kimi’s apparent reluctance to sign a contract seems to be based on the speculation that it is mainly about salary demands. But other than that and the old chestnut that he “lacks motivation”, I see very little talk that speculates on any other possible personal reasons that he may have for being undecided about his future in F1.

        One thing I am surprised to rarely see written about or discussed is his introversion which, given his known history of media and social avoidance behavior (and alcohol use), may actually indicate an attempt by him to hide a far more serious case of social anxiety.

        If this was the case, certainly his reluctance to commit to a further future in F1 would be understandable as the extreme personal discomforts he might feel due to the ever growing demands on the drivers to be outgoing, personable, and accessible to the media, fans and sponsors may outweigh the (to him) diminishing returns of remaining in F1.

        This is just a theory, and I may be way off base, but then again there has recently been quite a few news reports in North America that a number of Major League Baseball players and other professional athletes have been put on the disabled list due to being diagnosed with Social Anxiety Disorder and the extreme stresses of being in the public and media eye that it causes.

        What is your take on this James? Has this possibility ever been brought up in the paddock or by the media? Do you think it is worth looking into? Thanks!

      5. James Allen says:

        Not sure about your final point, but on the media point, I don’t have a problem with him being the silent type. He makes no effort at all with the media and that is his character, but that doesn’t affect the way one judges his driving. He is probably the greatest natural talent out there, perhaps one of the greatest ever. If you overlay that with what he has achieved you are left asking questions about what he has done with that talent. Being dropped by Ferrari does not argue strongly that he has maximised it. As a lover of racing that is my difficulty with him, as it is for Ferrari, I suspect.

      6. Buck says:

        James, yes I was referring to the “difficulties” you and many others have with him when comparing his raw talent to his results. The common perception seems to be that he is squandering that talent for some reason, though what the reason may be seems to be a mystery, though “lack of motivation” is most routinely cited (for lack of more insight).

        Historically we usually give artists with that kind of raw talent a lot more leeway to screw up, as talent is more commonly associated with emotional difficulties and other problems in creative people, but we are far less forgiving when an athlete has that kind of raw talent but somehow fails to live up to their potential. Why the discrepancy?

        At any rate, I merely meant to suggest that if Kimi (or anyone for that matter), felt extremely uncomfortable while at their job much of the time, surely there’s a possibility that job performance could be affected as could one’s desire to stay at their job no matter what their status or salary was.

      7. Silverstoned says:

        just like to say in response to Buck”s suggestion that KR may be suffering from a “serious case of social anxiety”: No evidence of that and it sits oddly with his name ‘The Iceman’.
        Also, Martin Brundle once reported on an evening spent with Kimi and friends and complained that Kimi let no one get a word in…

      8. Buck says:

        “in response to Buck”s suggestion that KR may be suffering from a “serious case of social anxiety”: No evidence of that and it sits oddly with his name ‘The Iceman’.”

        Like I said it was only a theory, though there IS evidence of avoidance behavior, and few people suspected those other pro athletes had social anxiety before they came out in the open about it; they hid it well. I think the Iceman nickname is more in reference to his cool head on the track than in front of cameras.

        “Also, Martin Brundle once reported on an evening spent with Kimi and friends and complained that Kimi let no one get a word in…”

        Letting loose once the pressure is off and he feels relaxed within trusted company?

  74. Alex Yarnell says:

    if Mercedes are lining up to take a significant stake in Brawn – is there not a chance they’d stump up the extra retainer for Button? Or are they more focused on a Rosberg and Vettel future?

  75. Paul says:

    I really don’t think any estimates on JB’s performance in a McLaren car are likely to be accurate. It may be an expensive way of doing it but with reference to his move, it may be a case of ‘suck it and see’.

  76. Rick J says:

    Can’t help thinking a little of the Williams – Damon Hill situation here following Damon’s championship winning year in ’96. There has been a lasting perception that Damon only won because he was in the best car around and that he would not have won a second championship – even if he had stayed at Williams. In his most honest moments of self evaluation Damon may have been able to acknowledge the possible truth of some of that, and I suspect that Jenson may also be capable of the same depths of personal self appraisal. Ross Brawn may actually be happy to see Jenson go elseshere because if he fails to achieve champion standing in another car it would simply underly the enormity of the Brawn achievement and if at the expense of Button’s reputation, well too bad. I am sure Ross Brawn wants a driver hungry for success not one willing to coast on his laurels for a season or two – as did Frank Williams in dismissing Hill for Jacques Villeneuve as the teams principal contender. Button at Mclaren makes a lot of sense. Lewis will still beat him I suspect, Jenson will reliably bring the car home in good point scoring form and is capable of taking victories if Hamilton falters. Button is a smart, personable player, there will be none of the Alonso frictions. Sounds great for the team. Question is – can Rosberg deliver for Brawn?

    1. Neil Williams says:

      Hill was replaced by Frentzen as a result of his poor crash-riddled 1995 season.

      1. Ronald Ooms says:

        Wasn’t it the late great Ayrton Senna who adviced Frank Williams to sign Frentzen as quickly as possible?
        Frentzen was offered a drive at Williams after Senna’s sudden death but he declined because his loyalty to Peter Sauber and the heavy crash of Wendlinger in Monaco.
        Years later, he finally joined the team to replace Damon Hill.

  77. GP says:

    It’s interesting that the new world champion is in such a difficult position. His team doesn’t appear to want him all that much and going to McLaren will hurt his career. If he goes to McLaren Lewis will just blow him away and his value as a driver will take a plunge. Tough this F1 business…

  78. grunge says:

    what do people mean when they say the team is built up around someone? its just nonsense…what part of the mclaren set up is “built up” around hamilton? he dosnt even have their top engineers on his car, as they thought Alonso would be the man to back and opted for him.yes they are in awe of what hamilton did in 2009…so should everyone…but so what.

  79. Matt Flintelli says:

    As a Ferrari fan I’d love to see Kimi in the McLaren and watch him trouce Lewis! Would be great to watch. Button has to stay at Brawn. Hes not half as good as hammy and would look foolish

  80. steven pritchard says:

    It always amuses me how quick the press are so quick to write off button versus hamilton.

    Give button a chance. Brawn is just playinp a perceived buyers market with regards to drivers.

    Why is rosberg so highly regarded. Seems a bit trulli to me!

    1. Luke Robbins says:

      I agree with you here steve.

      Hamilton is fantastic, there is no doubt about that. But lets see how good Button is, i still feel unsure on this. Mclaren let the drivers race (often to their cost) it would be brilliant to have two brits going for the title.

      Good point about Rosberg, he seems to be a bit caught up in himself as well… cant see him winning a title unless he gets big car advantage. Alonso and LH are totally different gravy, JB is better than rosberg as well, and vettel……

      1. F1 Fan says:

        Luke I agree with most of what you have said, I agree that to date Rosberg is overrated and that’s why Button needs to go to Mclaren as there no shame in being beaten by Lewis. I dont think Button is better than Rosberg and I would definitely but Vettel in that gravy of yours with Alsono and LH. I dont think he’ll win the WDC next year but 2011 will be his year. But time will tell.

      2. Luke Robbins says:

        To clarify I meant Vettel was better than Rosberg.

        I think that Vettel is a great driver, but i consider Alonso and Hamilton to be the top two guys. Kimi is obviously good, but he really doesn’t give a toss these days if we are honest.

        LH has more to lose than JB by being in the same team. The new regs could suit JB as he’s really good on tyres and usually pretty steady on big fuel loads.

      3. Michael says:

        I don’t think you can grade the drivers in this way. There are quite a few good to exceptional drivers and Rosberg, although being criticised by his team last year, was consistently quick after the first third of the season. I like his flamboyance and aggression on the track as well.

        As to the best drivers there is a case for a few top names including Alonso, Ham, Button, Massa, Kimi and Vet at the moment. At different tracks different drivers are quicker but the most consistent is probably Alonso at the moment.

  81. rich says:

    Why would Jenson want to leave Brawn just as Mercedes is investing?
    I dont think mclaren will be the same without mercedes, but who knows.

    One question James, Are Brawn or Mercedes paying for Rosberg?

  82. Tony Kulla says:

    At first I wanted Button to stay at Brawn, but if they are really struggling to find the money to pay Button’s modest demands, it becomes an issue of potential car performance rather than dollar signs. McLaren’s progress this year is a good indicator that they will have a top car next year, and Button is the type of personality that could quickly build loyalty, even within Lewis’s team. And he has nothing to lose – if he beats Lewis and wins another WDC he becomes the de facto “best driver in F1″. If not, he lost out to another champ on Hamilton’s home turf.

    1. Luke Robbins says:

      Good point I actually think LH has more to lose than JB if they are in the same team. Nobody expects JB to win another title really, especially with Alonso at Ferrari and the fact Mclaren and Ferrari wont both have bad seasons at the same time for a while.

      Go for it JB I say.

  83. Adrian says:

    James,

    Sorry to be a stickler here, but isn’t there a chance that Button could raise his game next year and that if he did end up at McLaren that he could give Hamilton a run for his money?

    I’m not saying he’d beat him regularly, but he could at least push him, which is what I think McLaren would like. And perhaps Button realises (though I’m sure he would never admit it publicly) that Hamilton is on another level to him and that there are worse things than coming home 2nd to him…

    1. James Allen says:

      I agree, he could do that and McLaren would benefit, which is why it appeals

    2. Martin P says:

      There are indeed worse things than coming home 2nd to Hamilton…. i.e. coming home 2nd to Rosberg.

      Now that really would cast a cloud over his abilities. Much less shame in coming close second to Hamilton over a season.

      Moving to partner Hamilton isn’t as daft as it sounds to me.

      1. Luke Robbins says:

        I agree that JB doesnt have much to lose by partnering LH.

        However there is something i really disagree with about your post, why will button come second to rosberg?!?!

        Brawn is Buttons team and what exactly has Rosberg done to suggest he is as good as everyone commenting on this seems to think. He’s messed up good positions plenty of times (singapore drive through) and didn’t really do overly well in the williams at the start of the season despite it having the diffuser advantage.

        Jb would definitely beat rosberg. No question.

      2. Martin P says:

        Sorry I wasn’t suggesting for a second that Rosberg is going to beat him. I was just pointing out that if he did, it would look far worse for Jenson than coming second to Hamilton.

        I’m not a Rosberg fan and I agree with you on his intermittent performances, but you could have said the same about Hakkinen, Massa and others until something clicked and they got their first win on the board.

        That said, I still that next year Brawn will always be one step behind their full potential with Rosberg in the second car and not Rubens to give set-up data and other technical feedback.

      3. Michael says:

        I just don’t get the Rosberg bashing. All you can do in F1 is beat your team mate and there is no question who won that duel at Williams this year. I think a lot of people will eat their words next year when Rosberg gets a few podiums at least.

  84. menesis says:

    I’d rather see Heidfeld in a winning car finally, than a fight for No. 1 status between Lewis and Kimi or Jenson. It would be unreasonable for Button to leave the team he has put so much work and emotion into…

  85. RON says:

    Kimi and Button are worthless WDCs… it’s pathetic the way the FIA gave them free WDCs, and it even more pathetic the way are grasping for handouts now… they are rejects that would never have won a WDC between them if the FIA allowed fair racing.

    I’m glad Button won the WDC – it highlights just how poorly the FIA do their job, and why everyone is still wishing for a breakaway series.

    The FIA are so discredited, they must be replaced whole, or F1 will continue to slide.

    1. Luke Robbins says:

      What constitutes deserving a WDC?! You cant really talk about car performance advantage surely?? That would rule out a fair few of Schumachers and you cant possibly suggest he wasnt good.

    2. Jose Australia says:

      Nonsense!!!

      “Following hard on the heels of the 2000 season’s rookie sensation Jenson Button, Kimi Räikkönen entered the 2001 campaign with even fewer car races under his belt than the talented English youngster.”(autocourse).

      JB:Starts 170 Retirements 50 Wins 7 Podiums 24
      Fastest Laps 2 Pole 7 Front 15 Points 327
      KR:Starts 155 Retirements 43 Wins 18 Podiums 62
      Fastest Laps 35 Pole 16 Front 32 Points 579

      Need we say more???

    3. Jose Australia says:

      Furthermore how can a driver that was twice WDC runner-up not be a worthy champion?

      On the other side of the coin there are more than 2 drivers who are considered to be some of the best drivers of all time but never won a WDC

      1. Luke Robbins says:

        who are the two drivers who never won a WDC to be considered as best of all time?

      2. Jose Australia says:

        Stirling Moss, Gilles Villeneuve, for example

        Wouldn’t you agree James?

    4. Ronald Ooms says:

      Excuse me? worthless WDC? FIA gave them free WDC’s?
      Pure nonsense. Kimi won the title in 2007 fair and square. He won the most GP’s of all title contenders that year. Trully deserved.

    5. Rich C says:

      I really dont get what you mean, Ron. I dont think the FIA ‘gives’ anybody anything.

    6. Fuchsia says:

      I don’t see how Button and Kimi’s WDC could be classified as free. Button had the most number of wins in a dominant car. He did not make mistakes in the first half of season. As for 2007, FIA allowed Alonso and Hamilton to keep their WDC points after Spygate.

    7. Lady Snowcat says:

      Oh dear…

      I think that the fact that the change in tyre regs took away the WDC from Kimi in 2003 has passed you by….

  86. Pat says:

    Mr Brawn would do well to realise that had Jenson Button not achieved what he had this season with points scored, Barrichello’s total, if he had finished up one place in each race he finished behind Button would only have given him an additional 11.5 points and Sebastian Vettel would have been this years Champion. The difference in Prize/TV money and the additional sponsor revenues the No1 on the car generates far outweighs the measly additional £5million Jenson is looking for from Brawn.

    1. Brace says:

      Good point!

    2. Lady Snowcat says:

      Hmmm…

      I guess we need to know who Brawn has stepping up to the plate to sponsor them next year to know how they would feel about Jenson…. or the No 1?….

      I agree it has to have some value but not necessarily £5mill…

      Everyone will look at Brawn and Ross almost regardless of who is driving… the WDC and WCC were down to the team and not just the driver… although whether the general public (versus the F1 aficionado)see it that way I am not sure….

      Cue a marketing analyst….

      1. Luke Robbins says:

        If Jb takes the no 1 to mclaren what number do brawn end up with? The number of there highest placed driver from last year? Do williams get 5-6 and RB finished 3rd?

  87. Pat says:

    James can I deduce from the time you check, post & reply to these comments that you are not an X-Factor Fan ? :)

    1. James Allen says:

      I am actually, but thanks to Sky+ I time shifted it by half a hour..it was a good show tonight. For me the final will be Olly, Joe and one other. What do you reckon?

      1. Pat says:

        I’m not a Fan but I’ll ask the missus and let you know what she thinks – she’s a fanatic !

      2. Ok if we are going off topic then I expect a Strictly blog soon please James lol

      3. James Allen says:

        No chance, can’t stand Strictly

      4. Jonathan Chan says:

        JEDWARD!

      5. Chris Snell says:

        Oh dear, well I guess nobody’s perfect lol!

  88. CMR says:

    As much as I admire Jenson Button, I believe going to McLaren now would be a mistake. It’s Lewis Hamilton’s team, Lewis knows the team very well and is at home there. Jenson Button would have a steep learning curve at McLaren in his championship year, not only having to get used to the team, the car, but obviously having to regularly beat Lewis Hamilton – someone who is arguably the quickest driver on the grid – all the while carrying No.1 on his car, it’s not without its pitfalls and Jenson would need more than a hefty pay check.

    I also don’t believe the hype that Nico Rosberg is as good as many people believe; Jenson Button is more than capable of racing against and beating Nico Rosberg as his team mate at BrawnGP/Mercedes, and can prove again (as it appears necessary for Button to do so) that he is a worthy world champion.

    James you say Ross Brawn is battle hardened already around the negotiations table, and not easily fazed by press speculation – but if you were a betting man, would you bet against Button staying on at BrawnGP?

    BTW – Pat’s post was excellent!

    1. James Allen says:

      I think they’d like to keep him and I think he’d like to stay. It depends on how far he’s prepared to go to feel “valued”

  89. Oliver Drew says:

    You’re making 2 assumptions here James, in my view.

    The first is that McLaren will abandon their “equal status” policy that they have had for years.

    The second is that Hamilton will always be faster than Button.

    Whilst Hamilton is indeed exceptional, Button is no slouch, I think he would, over the course of a season, put real pressure on Lewis (and that may push him, Lewis, on further).

    I think that Button would be advised to GO to McLaren, because they will have a race winning car, Brawn may not.

  90. krad says:

    Everyone seems to be forgetting there is a ticking clock on these deals. Namely Renaults decision on whether they are in F1. If they do pull the plug then a certain Mr Kubica will be one the market, and probably at a good price. If this happens I think it might be a bit of a scramble for macca and brawn to sign him, and this would put button and kimi in the cold. Not sure who would get him though, as macca would probably win the bidding war, but then Hamilton has said many times Kubica is the only driver he really fears

  91. Ad says:

    Button has his world title, I am interested to see what sort of Button we see next season wherever he ends up. Will it be the guy that is determined for title number 2 and raise his game to another level or will we see a driver that drops a level ala Villeneuve or dare I say Raikkonen?

    Hope he signs for Brawn personally.

  92. Mike from Medellin, Colombia says:

    He is now in a position where he will seriously lose face if he goes back to Ross Brawn and accepts the offer on the table. Goddard has tried to use the media in this but is playing with fire.

    Nigel Mansell did this in 1992 with FW and I’m sure that if he could turn back time he would have gone back and accepted Frank’s offer.

    There seem to be two obvious conclusions

    1) lose face and accept an offer that he has stated through his manager that is beneath his self perceived worth.

    2) Go to McLaren – be branded “money hungry” and get his ass kicked by Hamilton.

    I think that Button has put himself in an impossible position with Brawn and has been ill-advised by Goddard.

    Jenson – get a professional manager who has goodwill with the teams.

  93. Paul says:

    What is it with British World Champions not getting there just deserts once they win the title? Williams betrayed Mansell & Damon Hill after they delivered the goods. This current Brawn saga has a stench of the Williams events in 92 & 96. Jenson did a great job this year so please Brawn give him a 2010 winning car, the right salary and status. How many races did Lewis win to win the title last year? 4 (5 including Spa)- Button’s 6 this year speak volumes.

    P.S. Please Mclaren pay Kimi the right money I’m so looking forward to Lewis for the first time in his career scratching his head wondering how someone in the same team is quicker than him. Maybe no matter what people say on this blog Lewis isn’t Senna or Schumacher, Prost or Mansell.

    1. James Allen says:

      Err, what about Alonso in 2007? He was a rookie up against the best driver in F1…

    2. montonnik says:

      Actually, up until this year Lewis was eclipsing the stats for early career wins of those 3. Mostly because he was in a race winning car, but as James said, he beat Alonso in the same car, and I would say he won the psychological battle too. Not easy.

      I think that he has the natural talent and ruthlessness to do what Schumacher did. Alonso could as well if Ferrari return to form soon.

      I think that it is unlikely that either will, as Schumacher really was racing at the very top of his ability for a greatly longer period in a dominant car without a consistent challenger. They wont have that luxury.

      1. Jose Australia says:

        IMHO Lewis vs Fernando contest was actually a draw(I understand the majority here thinks Lewis won)which, anyway, speaks volumes of Lewis abilities. Fernando was F1′s best driver hands down and Lewis a rookie. Now that we had our championship of mediocrity (as some hacks put it)let’s hope the top drivers get the top cars and watch the battle of the titans – that is, alphabetically: Alonso, Hamilton, Massa, Raikonnen and Vettel. Yes, these days I am thinking Massa is that good, we shall see

  94. Alias says:

    Even if Button is a smooth driver and very easy on the tyres it wouldn’t necessarily help him much against Hamilton. Every year there are the same predictions about who will be best suited to the new regulations, and every year the top drivers comes out on ton again and the pecking order remain the same, so it will not make any difference. For years and years now Mclaren have been building cars with a bit of oversteer, I dont think that will be well suited to Button’s driving style. But Raikkonen and Hamilton on the other hand are very well suited to those types of cars.

    The behaviour of both Brawn and Button is a bit strange, perhaps there is something else also going on behind the scenes that we dont know about?

    Or could it be that Ross Brawn with the extra input of Mercedes rather wants Raikkonen?

    Either way, there really isn’t any good reason why Button and Brawn should not reach some agreement or compromise, except if there really is something else happening.

    The other big question is, where does Mercedes fit into all of this. They have been keeping very quiet of late, about their stance on the driver market.

    1. James Allen says:

      You are right, of course. The top guys always come out on to, as long as they have a car to compete with. There is big pressure on McLaren and Ferrari next year after their poor cars this year.

  95. F1 Fan says:

    I’m no Button Fan but I would love to see him swap to McLaren, I dont think he could match LH raw speeds but with big heavy cars and his smooth driving style, it might put him in front by the end of the race.

    I would also like to see Roseberg and Heidfeld at Brawn next season. That situation would probably suit the new owners as well. It would be a good combination of speed and experience.

    1. Neil says:

      Rosberg & Heidfeld, whilst a good driver combo, wouldn’t be great for the sponsers as they are both German. (Well, notionally.) With the exception of Heidfeld and Frenzen, you rarely get 2 drivers of the same nationality. Of course, if Merc really are going to badge the Brawn then they might just go for 2 Germans. But I still think it’s a long shot.

      Neil.

  96. Trevor Yates says:

    For all those people saying that Jenson should be happy with the GBP4 million on the table, try putting yourself in his position and equate it to your own job.

    Your company was about to go bankrupt at the start of the recession, so you took a pay cut to stay. Some of your colleagues lost their jobs. The company re-structured and somehow had the best year in its history. You were the number one sales person and made your company considerably more money than they had paid you.

    Would you expect to be paid the same the next year? I suspect most people wouldn’t feel best pleased if there was no financial reward…

  97. Ronald Ooms says:

    James, where do you see Kovalainen end up when/if Kimi is announced at Mclaren and Jenson is announced at Brawn?
    Would Renault be a good option for him?

    1. James Allen says:

      If they want him, maybe. He was popular there

      1. rich says:

        whats happened to the glock to renault move? is he looking elsewhere now? what about the young japanese driver who was going to drive for toyota before they quit..

  98. Michael S says:

    James,

    How much input do you think the Hamilton’s have in this decision? I think on paper McLaren would want Kimi for lots of reasons least of which is that he knows the team. However, if Kimi is on he is top shelf and I have to imagine that weighs on the Hamilton crew. I like Button a lot, but I don’t think he will keep Lewis up at night worrying about next year.

    1. James Allen says:

      I genuinely don’t think they have much of a say. This is about what is right for McLaren as a team, it’s a strategic decision

  99. ETM says:

    The concept that Button at McLaren would start the season as a designated #2 makes no sense. All the points that both cars earn determine McLarens finish in the championship, therefore how much prize money they earn. The team has the resources and financial incentive to field two cars that will be what McLaren feels will give them the best chances at winning. As the season progresses the results will determine which driver is #1.

  100. Rich C says:

    I dont have to go far to feel ‘valued’, maybe thy’d take *me? Except maybe for that extra hundred pounds of mass to drag around?

  101. Tom - Australia says:

    Hmmm, from an Aussie fans point of view – I think Jenson as a driver is miles behind Lewis and Kimi. I’m surprised people are clamouring over his services.

    I would rank him around 10th in the 2009 driver line-up as far as driving talent goes. Somewhere around Heikki and Buemi.

    1. PaulL says:

      Agree.

      (Also from Aus.)

  102. Tony taylor says:

    I think someone should remind Jenson about what happened to John Watson. He haggled for too long about money and was displaced by Alain Prost becomeing available. He therefore missed out on driving the McLaren Tag turbo… As Keke Rosburg one noted “very important, patches” when Williams offered him much the same deal as Brawn has Jenson.

  103. Bison says:

    l seem to agree with Martin here, Button is only trying to run away from Rosberg. Coming home second to Hamilton is much more acceptable than doing the same honours at Brawn next year – given a good car Rosberg could even beat Vettel any given day. Taking Button’s poor setup abilities into account his job would be much easier at Mclaren because everybody expects him to come second, he can just whine like Alonso, or claim favouritism like Heikki on his last racing year, close with a bigger bank balance and image intact….problem solved.

    I prefer Kimi in that seat to see who is really the king of F1, however l suspect Lewis will have an edge over him as he is much stronger mentally now than he was back in 2007 he won’t get that lucky again. Lewis is better at overcoming adversity more than any other driver on the grid, l’m sure he’ll adjust to next year’s regulations better than we imagined – he turned a dog into a race winner which to me makes him the best driver at developing a car, even Alonso couldn’t develop Renault.

    Please Mclaren, sign Kimi, give them the same setup so we can see who will reign supreme….come 2010 come.

    1. Dermot Keelan says:

      “He turned a dog into a race winner which to me makes him the best driver at developing a car, even Alonso couldn’t develop Renault.”

      while i agree that Hamilton is becoming a more complete driver every time he sits in the car – i think McLaren’s far superior development capabilities compared to Renault also played a part this season.

  104. Antoine says:

    James

    I think Jenson should go to MClaren as I think he deserves a bigger slice than Brawn is offering. Also, I for one don’t think he will be humbled by Lewis. Lewis rose in the second half of 09, Jenson slipped, this is colouring people’s view to some extent. Should they both have equal status I think it will be a close run thing.

  105. Peter says:

    I Like Jenson and I think he deserves to be the WCH, but he cannot come near Kimi if McLaren is serious about getting the best available driver. Jenson has had a few great races, but Kimi has had great years only with McLaren with some outstanding and historical races. He is knonw by Macca as the most talented and fastest driver ever. Maybe that is why Jenson is a better option in the second car for Mclaren and defeninitely for Hamilton.

  106. RON says:

    Finances and politics were the sole reason Button ended up with a car that was artifically better then the best on the grid. Hence the dullest season to date, with a very dull driver scamming the WDC.

    Lets hope the FIA, under Jean Todt, will be not as blatantly corrupt and unprofessional, as it clearly has been under Max.

    F1 deserves to fail if it carries on in Max’s legacy of race fixing for financial and personal gain…

  107. Mav says:

    I like how the majority of people are convinced that Hamilton will struggle with tyre wear next year. This year his tyre management has been impeccable. A 1 stopper in Turkey, combined with total control of his tyres during his 2 race wins. What people seem to forget is that even though his style is oversteery, he actually spends very little time traversing the corners in comparison to most (all?) of the other drivers, hence Heikki (who appears to be much smoother) having his fair share of tyre issues this year. But forgetting all that gumf, at the end of the day it’s the characteristics of the chassis that have the most effect on how a car works its tyres… something that was only to obvious this year when comparing the Brawn and Red Bull.

  108. Kav says:

    If Button joins McLaren, I will think he is a brave man. I am no fan of Lewis, but he is one top drivers on the grid and I think he would destroy Button. Of course if Button matches him or even beats him then he’ll be remembered a lot better in 20 years time. If he stays at Brawn, there will always be the feeling that he did luck into his WDC. So personally I think he McLaren should be his first choice so he can show what he has got. There is a high risk of humiliation but if he succeeds than the rewards to his reputation will be great!

    I still want Kimi at McLaren, and I think McLaren want him the most. I’ve said this before but if Ferrari and McLaren have similar performance next year, then McLaren will stand NO chance against them in the constructors. Imagine if Massa was replaced by say, Kovalainen in 2007, Ferrari would have been a mile behind. McLaren and Ferrari will have an equal line up next year if Raikkonen joins.

    I know his reputation was virtually destroyed last year, because of that run of 4 non-points finish which ended his title defence, but he is still a worthy world champion, McLaren acknowledges he should have been a triple world champion by now and if you want to win races or titles then you just need to give him a fast and reliable car and he will deliver. One bad season does not mean he has lost motivation or whatever. I feel he gets judged very harshly these days, in Malaysia he was branded lazy and not motivated when his car failed and he got out, he was knocked out in Q1 because of a silly mistake on his and Ferrari’s behalf, but when Hamilton radioed the team to let him park his car when there was no chance of him scoring points or when Massa was knocked out of Q1 in Malaysia, no one criticises him. I think people are just trying to critcise him with whatever he does.

  109. Michael S says:

    Kimi is very polarizing…. any time James mentions him in a thread the posts explode…..
    For the most laid back driver on the grid it is funny how much people run to his side or call him out….

    I would hate to see him out of F1 personally, he seems to be one of the few “real racers” left in F1

    1. Alias says:

      Kimi might not have been the right man for Ferrari, and the journalist may not like him, but the fans loves him!

  110. Ginger says:

    Having read a few of the comments it seems that some people are using this to give some more grief to Lewis! It s not his fault that Jenson is in this position.

    He could go to McLaren and I think that James is right when he says that he would be following him home each race. Okay not every race but a good 75%. Lewis is that good.

    His first season he beat the excellent double world champion, his second he won beating a strong Ferrari team and this season has been his best!!!

    His team love him and they know that they have a winner, the real deal.

    Jense should think about it then sign the best deal that he can get at Brawn.

    Surely that has to be right.

    As for Kimi, sign for MM and see if you can catch Lewis, I doubt it over the season.

  111. Rich C says:

    James, when these teams are plotting their strategies, do you think they consider the Constructors vs the Drivers Championships?

  112. Femi Akinz says:

    James,

    In a way, I sort of feel for Lewis. He will never fully get the recognition his talent deserves till he moves team.

    What do you think?

    1. James Allen says:

      He has a lot of people who don’t like him, that’s for sure, but I don’t think he needs to move teams, just to do a good job

  113. Sam says:

    Why were Kimi and Jenson at the factory this week negotiating instead of a conferance room? Because they decided in that room who will partner Nico Rosberg at Brawn and Lewis Hamilton at McLaren.

    There are 2 candidates:

    Kimi Raikkonen- Fast and expensive, and thats not just the magnum bill. From what I have heard money is no longer a problem with McLaren, actually there isnt a problem, everything is signed and sealed and has just been deleyed over the mercedes thing. This would have all been discussed on tuesday.

    Whilst with Brawn they have been negoitiating for several weeks I suspect. Brawn did say “They are negotiating as if the Ferrari compensation doesn’t exist”. Now there are a few possibilities on why he said that. He could be trying to keep the press quiet, or he really is being stubborn!!! With Mercedes money in that team they will do everything they can to get the best drivers possible. People still believe that Jenson isnt as good as Kimi Fernando, Lewis and Vettel (though I disagree with Lewis). I am sure Mercedes remember what a talent he was when he drove those Maccas. With a German driver in the team I am sure they can afford to pay half of Kimis $17+ million demands, whilst Brawn pays the other half. Or maybe they will lower the demand for Nico to do all the PR days?

    Jenson Button- Jenson is cheaper than Kimi, but do they want a cheap and cheerful driver? Ferrari will have a superstar pairing of Felipe and Fernando. Arch rival McLaren want something to rival that a.k.a Kimi. Jenson isnt the complete driver. Who got more points with the worse car in the second half of the season? Kimi. You cant say that it was pressure, because Kimi won a championship in 2007 under pressure and almost won in 2003, and the reason he lost was becuase of the car, not Kimi.

    Well Jenson is maybe staying at Brawn and that is my guess. But you never know, and Mercedes holds the key to this because if they want Kimi they will probably get Kimi. But for Jense I guess the best move is stay at home in Brawn, where he knows the atmosphere.

    Whatever happens, we will know next week.

    1. Sam says:

      plus Kimi is a world champion james, Mclaren are after the last 3 champions.

      1. Peter says:

        Plus Kimi has a really good relationship wit Norbert Haug.

  114. Mike from Medellin, Colombia says:

    James, do any of the current drivers negotiate their own contracts as Gerhard Berger did?

    1. James Allen says:

      Vettel, apparently, with the help of a lawyer (and some tips from Bernie)

  115. Cockney James Hunt says:

    Speed comes with confidence. JB’s is sky high. I think he’ll do well at MaClaren. As for Brawn, I don’t buy doubts about next years car. He’s Ross Brawn. He doesn’t do duds. He’s also a pragmatist, I think, and realises that although drivers are a key component to the success of a team, their salary demands cannot be allowed compromise the fiscal wellbeing of what is currently a small, independent team.

  116. phil says:

    Button is a great driver, but he is no hamilton, Kimi, Alonso. I rate these drivers as the top 3. Remember Button cannot drive a car unless it is perfect. Hamilton, Kimi and Alonso like schumi get the most out of the car every time. Hamilton and Kimi were the best two drivers in the second half of the season. Ross brawn looked after the best driver on the grid for 10 years. If he thought Button was world class, he would pay the $$. Obviously he doesn’t. If Button oes to mclaren he will get his ass wipped by Hamilton.

  117. Aluap says:

    Hi James

    do you have any idea how much salary Nico Rosberg is getting from Brawn? This seems to be an important question as if he is getting more than the WDC how can that be? Perhaps this is why JB is unhappy…

    If NR is getting more then JB then he should sign for McLaren & show all you doubters just how good he is! Hope we hear very soon as too many people are getting upset over this years drivers market. ALL F1 drivers are paid too much money just as footballers are but if the teams are willing to pay then why noy try for the best deal you can.

    JB needs Martin Brundle to be his manager & keep Mr Goddard as his financial advisor. Feel for JB he can’t seem to win no matter what he does…:-)

  118. Alias says:

    It seems like everyone is visiting Woking these days word around is that Kubica have also paid a visit to the Mclaren headquarters, so where does he fit in? Lol

  119. McGillian says:

    I would love to see kimi work with Ross Brawn. If Mercedes choose to dump Mclaren and make brawn their works team then hopefully Kimi’s management would prefer Brawn over Mclaren. With mercedes buy out of brawn plenty of money should be able to afford Kimi. As far as button is concerned, he was never ultra-quick. We are yet to see him win a race in unfavorable conditions and with a car disadvantage i.e. Schumacher at China 2007.

  120. Rudy Pyatt says:

    For all the gloom and doom predictions of his future performance, especially those holding that Rosberg will beat him, (I just can’t see that happening), JB no more “lucked into” his title than Mansell did (dominant car at the right time – sound familiar?), Mike Hawthorn (scoring system plus team orders thwarting Moss) or Graham Hill (Clark’s Lotus wasn’t reliable enough). Even Fangio won a title because Peter Collins famously stepped out of his car and handed it to Fangio.

    Jenson deserves his title, and hats off to him for getting it. He did the best he could, with what he had, where he was, and came through. He maximized his opportunity where others couldn’t or didn’t, and there’s no shame in doing so. Whether he ever wins another race or not, you can’t take that away from him.

    1. James Allen says:

      Agree 100% Rudy, he deserves his title – it’s unbelievably hard to win the world championship, whatever car you have. There is so much pressure. I reckon if he had that situation again now with the experience he’s gained from 2009, he would have a much smoother second half of the season. But that’s top level sport – you have to take your chances when they come. And they come to very few. You must make it happen for yourself.

  121. graham says:

    Every cent Button “leaves on the table” goes right in to car development. If Brawn offer him $8M but Jensen wants $11M that is $3M that has to come from somewhere. It won’t come from logistical expenses like flying the cars and team to the races, it won’t come from other salaries and fixed general overhead… those are non-elastic expenses with very limited “compressibility”. The only area that is elastic or compressible is car development. $3M buts a lot of wind tunnel scale models, pays wages for at least 20 engineers @$150K/yr that could dedicate their entire time towards making a better car. Jensen should think on that.

    Either Mac or Brawn should hire Nick or Timo and Kimi should be left out in the cold where his unmotivated lazy ass can ponder what once was.

  122. Rob says:

    James,

    Perhaps Mercedes isn’t keen to start its life as a constructor with a number 1 on the car ‘inherited’ from Brawn?

    Rob

  123. OR says:

    James,

    As part of this contract, do you know if Jenson is requiring #1 driver status over Rosberg at Brawn, and if so, is this adding to the drama?

    Thanks
    O

    1. James Allen says:

      Not aware of that. Think he feels the fixed amount in the contract relative to the performance related amount is too low

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