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Is Button being pushed out or is he playing the game wrong?
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Is Button being pushed out or is he playing the game wrong?
Posted By: James Allen  |  16 Nov 2009   |  9:29 pm GMT  |  187 comments

Tomorrow’s papers in the UK will be full of stories about how Mercedes’ takeover of Brawn means that the team will have an all German driver line-up, while Jenson Button is being pushed towards an all-English line up of Button and Lewis Hamilton. Indeed the Guardian is reporting this evening that Button is on the point of signing a £6m a year contract for three years. As the piece is written by Alan Henry, who knows what colour the toilet paper is in Woking from one day to the next, this news needs to be taken seriously.

(Photo: Darren Heath)

(Photo: Darren Heath)


So is that the correct reading or is Button just playing his hand badly?

There are some echoes of Damon Hill’s situation in 1996 where his manager was looking to leverage the world championship (although Damon hadn’t won it at that stage) into a better deal for the following year and found that Frank Williams signed Heinz Harald Frentzen instead, leaving Damon without a winning car. In that case, arguably, Williams had already decided to replace Damon and when Damon’s management tried the hard sell Williams just activated the Frentzen deal.

Damon was pushed out, Button is in a better position in that he has had an offer on the table for some time, albeit one in which the fixed fee and the performance based fee is more slanted towards the latter than he wants, given his status as a world champion.

Brawn’s management say they have increased the deal since Button won the title, but they feel that they have played their part in his success too. The door is very much still open to Button to stay with the team. They are not actively pursuing anyone else and feel no great time pressure to do so, knowing that the likely candidates will hold out to see if the drive comes up.

Nick Heidfeld certainly heads that list. I sense that Kimi Raikkonen is more likely to end up, if anywhere, at McLaren rather than Brawn, not just because of the financial side of things, but because of question marks over motivation and consistency. This is not me saying this, but people on the inside of the teams in question.

So Brawn/Mercedes may end up with two German drivers next season, but it will not be because they want two Germans, more that having signed Nico Rosberg some time ago, should Jenson Button decide to call their bluff, the next best driver in line who will get them solid constructors’ championship points every time is Heidfeld. Heidfeld has been hanging out in the hope that either a Brawn or a McLaren seat comes up. He may be lucky.

Much is being made of the idea of Mercdes wanting two German drivers, but Ross Brawn is making the decisions here and I don’t think he would and up with Rosberg and Heidfeld if he started out with a blank sheet of paper. It’s more to do with how circumstances pan out.

As for Button, you can see it from his point of view, he knows that the Alonsos and Hamiltons of this world are on around €15 million per season, of which the fixed part is greater than the performance part, but Hamilton’s deal was done before the credit crunch changed everything. Button had a nice deal set up with Honda, took a pay cut to stay with Brawn and now wants to go back to Honda style money. But the teams aren’t looking to spend like that kind of money anymore. Button’s management clearly feel that Mercedes can afford Honda money, but they don’t want to bite.

And there have been signs all year that the teams talk to each other more than they used to, as a result of the FOTA alliance and the resource restriction agreements and are not wanting to be played off against each other.

The next move is Button’s. It looks like he’s about to make it.

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187 Comments
  1. arale says:

    No way Kimi will be a part of Mercedes as
    1) he is not a German
    2) he will probably blow Rosberg (sorry Nico fans, no offense but I never consider him a top driver) away and Dad Keke hates that!
    Kimi mentioned several weeks ago in Finnish media he got a contract from McLaren for his review, which was far thicker than his Ferrari contract. For him I think it’s McLaren or the END of F1.

    On the other hand as of Jense, I am not sure whether you check the double interview of Zetche and Haug, in while they implied very few possibilities of German duo in the team yet No.1 car is not their biggest concern. Personally I think it means the Germans wants Button but only at a reasonable price—Jense can choose to accept the offer but he can not really bargain much.

  2. Simon Rutter says:

    James, Is there any indication of how the offer on the table for Button compares to the salary Rosberg will be getting from Mercedes?

    If the deal being offered to Button is less then that could also account for his holding out for more.

  3. I don’t think Button is being pushed out as he has an offer on the table that I think Ross Brawn and Mercedes GP would be very happy if he accepted.

    Button’s trouble, as you rightly point out, is that he wants to get more money, worthy of a world champion and some of his peers. I don’t think he has played the game wrongly, it is just that there is not a room to manoeuvre.

    I think he has a really difficult decision ahead of him. If it was me, I would stay with Brawn for 2010 and review options then. McLaren may have the better car next year, but if it would be too risky for his long term career to go to Hamilton’s team.

    1. Jim Belfast says:

      If you are going to Brawn then im going to Mclaren!! I think looking at the 2nd half of last year McLaren have re-established their edge, and Brawn have a bit of work to do.

      Assuming Mclaren can reproduce their performance without KERS then id say they are a better option.

      Id rather finish 2nd to Lewis than 5th or 6th in the Merc team. Similarly for performance related pay that would be the better option.

      Also as much as i dont think it will happen….imagine if Jens beat Lewis. He still isnt given the credit for being a great driver even after winning the championship, and it seems even Brawn wont recognise that – so maybe his best bet is to take on Lewis.

      If he loses that battle then he is in the same position he is seen now (2nd rate), but if he beat Lewis then noone could question his ability – the sort of credentials Lewis got for beating Alonso.

      1. Jim, you may be right … I’ve be deliberating over this and I still cannot decide what is the right move for Jenson?

        I initially thought as many others do/did that staying with Brawn is the most sensible. It’s his team, he gets on well with them and is very settled. But he may feel not valued now and if he beats Rosberg his reputation will not be enhanced, but if he loses then it will be severely dented.

        Going to McLaren, Hamilton’s team, is risky and will take him a while to settle in. However, as you say, if he loses to Hamilton his reputation will not be massively damaged. Whereas, if he beats him, he will have super respect from everyone. With the no-refuelling rule next year and greater emphasis on tyre management, he may fancy his chances against Lewis.

        I think I’m coming around to the McLaren move!

  4. arale says:

    No way Kimi will be a part of Mercedes as
    1) he is not a German
    2) he will probably blow Rosberg (sorry Nico fans, no offense but I never consider him a top driver) away and Dad Keke hates that!
    Kimi mentioned several weeks ago in Finnish media he got a contract from McLaren for his review, which was far thicker than his Ferrari contract. This clearly he and McLaren at least approached to the final agreement, but some details really hang around. For him I think it’s McLaren or the END of F1.

    On the other hand as of Jense, I am not sure whether you have checked the double interview of Zetche and Haug, in which they implied there are few possibilities of German duo in the team, yet No.1 car is not their biggest concern. Personally I think it means the Germans want Button but only at a reasonable price—Jense can choose to accept the offer but he can not really bargain much.

  5. My view is that he’s playing the wrong game. Or at least his manager is. The statement that Button feels unwanted and that he should get a share of the Merc deal doesn’t help. Button is not a shareholder at the end of the day. Sounds like someone is doing the percentage game and it may just backfire.

    1. artorwar says:

      He has been poorly advised too many times in his career. He must know inside that he is not in the same league as FA, LH, KR etc. Settle for a good seat and think about next years prize money, unless he isn’t confident about his abilities with revitalised Ferrari & McLaren Cars/

  6. Daniel Gomes says:

    As much as I concede it´s a similar situation to Damon Hill´s in 1996, I think Button is a better driver now and, besides, he is much younger than Hill when the latter won his maiden and only championship back in the 90´s.

    Come to think about it, Damon was one year shy of Rubens Barrichello today when he clinched the crown in a time when Mansell´s astonishing climb to the championship at 39 has been for 4 years already.

    The cars were different, with much more electronic evolution going into them.

    What I mean is that Jenson has a long career in front of him (at least 5 years being competitive) and despite his poor 2nd half of the 2009 season, he managed to score consistently for 16 races.

    To picture Button out of a winning car is just absurd. I think he deserves a shot at defending his title at either Mercedes GP or McLaren and he still has plenty of room for improvement whereas Damon was actually past his peak when he won the title.

    I hope Button succeeds in 2010!

    1. Baktru says:

      I do not honestly believe that Button stands a chance at defending his title even in a good car.

      The fact that the Brawns absolutely rocked at the beginning of the season had more to do with Jenson clinching the title than him being better than Alonso, Hamilton or Raikkonen. If the playing field evens out a bit next year, and the McLaren/Ferrari get back to building a car that works, then my money is on either hamilton or Alonso. Or Kimi if he ends up at McLaren.

      Not only is there less money floating around in F1 than a few years back, I believe Ross Brawn also knows that Button was not the deciding factor this year, the car was. As such, I’m not surprised that Brawn doesn’t just throw out a golden contract for Jenson. If I were him, I’d start thinking of signing what is on the table..

  7. Lisa says:

    Oh dear I just pray that Kimi won´t be out of F1 next year. It would be sad to see the most honest driver leaving the grid. Even more sad to see guys like Piquet or Senna on the grid and real talents like Kimi leaving it.

  8. Lady Snowcat says:

    Feel sorry for Jense but it looks pretty clear that Mercedes don’t really, really rate him…. and maybe Ross is ambivalent…

    Otherwise the deal would have been done before now…

  9. Clearly Jenson is a good driver as he beat, hands down, Rubens in the same car last year. Heidfeld would consistently score points but will he be a front runner challenging/beating Mclaren, Ferrari, Red Bull next year – I dont think he would do the same job as Jenson.

    I sincerely hope Jensons management have not called the bluff of Brawn GP and found out that Brawn GP actually hold all the cards now.

    He might succeed at Mclaren but I cant see anyone going into Mclaren and out performing Hamilton – that said with all this new development it will be interesting to see how much Mercedes want Hamilton in their cars??

    I predict we will see Kimi in the Mclaren and Jenson staying at Brawn (for a damm sight more per year than I earn lol)

    1. Dan says:

      “hands down” ?

      uh, yeah, sure.

      1. **Paul** says:

        This is the thing with F1, it’s impossible to judge a driver against another driver unless they are in the same car and have equal treatment.

        Is Hamilton really that good? The evidence is sketchy at best. He beat Kovalinen, but Heikki was a #2 all day long, and the strageies employed for him were awful heavy fuel loads that rarely worked out. Hamilton managed to match Alonso, but lets be honest here, Alonso never really got a fair crack of the whip and still managed to beat Lewis numerous times, even with a team against him, kudos to Fernando for that one.

        Button? We’ll he’s beaten most of his team mates, so why shouldn’t he fancy a shot at Hamilton? If so many people think LH is the best, why not take a crack at him?

        If JB can get equal machinery, opportunity and backing from McLaren I see no reason for him not to produce some good drives (as Hamilton has done).

        Who’s better? No one, and I mean no one, on this planet knows that answer for certain. Until they are in like for like cars we’ll not know, which is why all of the ‘Hamilton/Alonso or whoever else is the best in F1′ really grates with me.

  10. Andy says:

    To be honest, I hope that Button is left with nothing. A greedy man is always poor as they say. Give him 10 million, he will want 15.

    All drivers should have the same salaries as us, mortal people – 30k, 40k a year and then complain.

    Honestly, all this Button-wants-more saga makes me sick already.

    1. Neil Smith says:

      Yes, because we all earn 30 – 40k a year… what a d**k.

      Frankly, in an age where a no-name footballer can earn more in a year than you in a lifetime, do you really begrudge Jenson (as the world champ) anything other than the best salary? Do you really think that Massa, or Rosberg, deserve more than the world champion?

      1. jose says:

        They should be earning all more or less the same. May be button a little more this year, because of the title.
        But we have a golden oportunity to keep their salaries under control, so they do not think they are gods, and fight on the track for every dollar, the way they should.

      2. Med says:

        No, we just begrudge them when they start complaining about it.

    2. Ridiculous – most folk will go on working until their mid-60′s; a racing driver’s top flight career is potentially over in his mid-30′s.

    3. **Paul** says:

      Button greedy? I think you must have him confused. I think he’s very much entitled to ask for remuneration in line with his standing as F1 World Champion (given how much his employer stands to make from him in sponsorship etc). I also think he’s more interested in getting the best car he can for 2010 than the hard cash.

      I think Alonso will correctly head the below list next season (as a 2 time WDC), but it’s amazing to see so many people above JB in the list.

      09 Basic Salaries:

      1. Kimi Raikkonen $45m
      2. Lewis Hamilton $18m
      3. Fernando Alonso $15m
      4. Nico Rosberg $8.5m
      5. Felipe Massa $8m
      6. Jarno Trulli $6.5m
      7. Sebastian Vettel $6m
      8. Mark Webber $5.5m
      9. Jenson Button $5m
      10. Robert Kubica $4.5m
      11. Heikki Kovalainen $3.5m
      12. Nick Heidfeld $2.8m
      13. Timo Glock $2m
      14. Giancarlo Fisichella $1.5m
      15. Sébastien Buemi $1.5m
      16. Rubens Barrichello $1m
      17. Jaime Alguersuari $0.5m
      18. Vitantonio Liuzzi $Nil
      19. Adrian Sutil $Nil
      20. Romain Grosjean $Nil
      21. Kazuki Nakajima $Nil

      1. Phil says:

        not sure where you are getting your numbers from but I thought Kimi was getting a 17m euro from Ferrari for next year if he does not drive in F1 or 10m euros from Ferrari if he takes another drive in F1. McLaren only offered him £5m hence his reluctance to sign up.

        If your numbers for Rosberg are correct then someone loves Nico. A 4 season driver who has scored more points with the ladies than he has on the track.

      2. **Paul** says:

        ’09 Salaries, not ’10.

        They demonstrate nicely the value put on F1 drivers heads and why Jenson deserves a pay increase.

        If JB stayed at Brawn/Silver Arrows would Rosberg get more money than him as well?

  11. rich says:

    whats your gut feeling JAMES? button to mclaren or stay at Brawn/Merc

    1. James Allen says:

      It’s a really tough one. If I were advising him I’d tell him to stay put, in fact I wouldn’t have got into this public money spat. I’d have celebrated the championship, signed the Brawn deal and looked to the future. I’m told sincerely that he is not being pushed out. Other media colleagues are convinced he is being pushed out. I just hope it doesn’t turn out that he’s not that close to the negotiations and is leaving it all to his manager. I really like Richard Goddard, but you want to feel that he’s doing Jenson’s bidding here, rather than saying, “Trust me, it will work out…”

      1. KNF says:

        Hi James, is Brawn and Haug showing their hand and putting pressure on Button and his manager?

        Brawn certainly wants Button to stay, based on his past statements, and he’s not the sort of leader who would fold to demands by the majority partner to field an all-German lineup.

      2. Phil says:

        We will probably never know all the details but I would have thought that Brawn would only offer a 2 year deal to any driver as they keep one eye on what Vettel will be doing after 2011.

        If McLaren are offering a bit more money and guaranteeing an extra year AND a good car/engine package then Jenson would be foolish not to spend a few days considering that.

        I would put my money on him staying at Brawn though.

      3. David says:

        I agree Button should have been more cautious, but bad contract decisions involving switching teams seem to be part of his F1 history. As a McLaren fan, I’d much, much, much rather see Raikonnen than Button. Kimi may have been undermotivated at Ferrari, but seeing him and Hamilton race it out sounds far more exciting than seeing Button trail in steadily with a few points and maybe beating Hamilton once or twice when the latter pushes too far. I think Hamilton should prefer being pushed to the limit by KR too. Also better for McLaren (viz Alonso v. Hamilton which would have ensured them the constructor’s championship in any normal year).

      4. GiganticBanjo says:

        Hi James, what do you think of the possibility of Mercedes snatching Hamilton from McLaren over to Mercedes G1 GP by making him an offer he cannot refuse. Has anyone considered that possibility?

      5. James Allen says:

        In a few years time, yes

  12. Dave Roberts says:

    James, another insightful post, that is why I always use your site to give perspective on all things F1. I have been biting at the bit all day to get home and find out what has been happening. I have felt resentful that Brawn have not rewarded Button with a decent contract and I have felt that they have deliberately prevaricated over doing so. However, having now read your article I can see that Button’s management team are playing a dangerous game with their charge’s future.

    I also don’t want Jenson to go head to head with Lewis because I do not see a happy ending for him if he does.

  13. Mike from Medellin, Colombia says:

    If Button knew all about the Mercedes deal, then it has to be said that his manager is not very smart….rather he thinks that he is.

    Salary formulas have to be negotiated before results, otherwise what is the incentive to pay if you are in a position where you have replacement skills available? These basic supply and demand factors are Economics 101.

    Button feels that he delivered them the championship, and thus should be paid more. Brawn probably feel that they provided Jenson with a killer of a car, and perhaps a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to win the title. Brawn won the title DESPITE not having the best driver pairing.

    Heidfield is the winner here, and I remember him feeling very bitter at McLaren when they signed Kimi back in 2001. To date he is a journeyman, and Mercedes will have a questionable pairing if they put him in with Rosberg.

    Mercedes should pay up and hire Kimi in the event that Rosberg does not perform. Button should try his hand at McLaren, and if it doesn’t work out ……. well at least he’s won a WDC and no-one can take that away from him.

  14. Alias says:

    But didn’t Nobert Haug said that Mercedes is an international company, and they don’t want two German drivers?
    I thought that meant that they where going after Button, Rosberg has also said that Button is still the favourite for that seat. I hope Button can get the deal done, wouldn’t Mercedes want the no.1 on their car? Some interesting comments about Button’s motivation and consistency.

    All of these talks of getting drives just because of their nationality is a bit unsettling and a sad direction for F1 to go into. One of the appealing factor in F1 is that it is a international sport and you can support anyone you like. What are they trying to say to us who are international fans, that comes from countries with virtually no F1 representation whatsoever? Who are we now suppose to support or should we stop watching F1? I hope F1 doesn’t turn into another A1GP.

    There was a French website that claimed that Brawn and Mercedes are now after Raikkonen. I hope this driver situation will be resolved quickly.

    1. James Allen says:

      He said that they don’t want to choose a driver simply based on nationality, depsite criticism that in all the years they never had a German driver. But if the best two candidates available are German then so be it.

  15. F1 Fan says:

    With the surplus of available and talented drivers on the market. Button should sign the contract before Merc throws it out. The only thing he brings to a car is he’s number 1 plate. I’m not being disrespectful, but Heidfeld and Glock would do equally as well as him as I dont believe there’s much between them. Kimi would be the obvious choice for McLaren as he’s one of the best and would be unaffected by the prospect of walking into Lewis’s team. McLaren now more then ever need the two best drivers there can get. Lewis and Kimi are probably equal also with seb and alonso on any given day.

    1. Doug says:

      Sorry F1 Fan but I can’t agree with you on this.
      Glock & Heidfeld, good as they are, are not proven F1 winners & do not have the coveted No.1 to bring to the table. Jenson has shown that he can win even when he does not have the best car & is one of the best over-takers in F1 along with LH & FA. Kimi is very quick but his mindset is at best questionable, IMO he’s much more of a gamble for McLaren to take than Jenson.
      The great thing about Button & Hamilton in the team is that it’s like having Prost & Senna (hopefully without the poison) from a driving style point of view. Button may not have the ultimate raw pace but counteracts it with a smoother tyre friendly style. I hope he does go to McLaren as Brawn really haven’t re-paid his loyalty..I think he’ll do a lot better than most people think against Lewis..I just hope he doesn’t beat him cos I’m a big LH fan!

  16. Nick H says:

    Jenson should sign for McLaren ASAP.
    Its clear from the derisory pay offer to a current world champion that they dont really want him and want a German driver to be the main man.
    Some wil say it will be a mistake for Jenson to sign for a team that has been built round Lewis Hamilton but at least he would get equal status in the team, something that i feel he wont now get in a German team with a German driver who is the ‘chosen one’ next to him in the garage.

    1. Mark D. Johnson says:

      NH, Ask Kovalainnen if he thinks McLaren is an equal status team.

  17. HR says:

    Hmm..don’t we all love these great driver games!

    I agree with you that Mercedes long-term target is Vettel. Perhaps performance clauses might make him available for 2011 and Mercedes only wanted Brawn to offer a one year deal to keep the Vettel option open. Maybe Button wanted a two year play and pay deal (meaning money wasn’t the only problem) and MB weren’t willing to take the risk of an overlap and miss Vettel should he become available.

    Pure speculation of course, but with so many moving parts in this whole MB/McLaren/Brawn dynamic who really knows what’s really going on. But if I was a betting man I would put a few bob on Jenson taking his Number One to Woking.

    1. HR says:

      Forgive me replying to myself, but if Alan Henry writing in the Guardian is correct I just won myself a few bob!

  18. El Shish says:

    James,
    Do you think there is a chance here that Kubica could come back into play? While there doesn’t seem to be too much difference in their performance over the two seasons at BMW, he seems to be rated as a better (at least quicker) driver than Heidfeld. With the uncertainty over Renault’s involvement, wouldn’t it have been prudent (natural?) for Kubica to have some kind of get-out clause and wouldn’t he be an attractive option for Brawn?

    1. James Allen says:

      I’m pretty sure he spoke to Brawn and took the view that he didn’t want to wait around to see what Button would do. So he took the best offer he had at the time, which was Renault. He had been speaking to Williams but got a bit phased when they cut short the conversation with Renault and went with Cosworth engines. Time will tell if Kubica made the right choice

    2. Kav says:

      I feel really sorry for Kubica. He is a top driver, maybe not in the same league as Alonso, Hamilton, Raikkonen etc, but he’s not that far off. I just hope the top teams still remember his amazing 2008 season, otherwise I just hope that his career doesn’t stall. Back in 2008 he said “I wish the team carried on pushing because you never know if this win maybe my only win in my career” At the time I thought it was rubbish, I had faith in BMW producing a great car, and I thought even if they failed that another top team would take him…

  19. El Shish says:

    Also, is it completely out of the question to suggest that Heidfeld signs with Brawn and Kimi with Mclaren? Where would such a situation leave Jenson? Renault with Kubica? Also, I understand your point about Button and Brawn still having a chance together but, is there not a chance that a return would suit neither? What’s say Button returns on a money that everybody knows is less than he feels he is worth? Surely there will be a sense of resentment and what happens if Rosberg then outperforms him. I can see things getting ugly if that happens.

  20. Crid [CridComment @ gmail] says:

    Excellent post, James. It must be particularly galling for Button to be hearing this year that “Times have changed”…

    …But a lot of us have heard things we didn’t like from our markets this year. Nuthin’ personal.

  21. Barry says:

    At the end of the day your only worth what someone is willing to pay you. If Brawn don’t want to pay what he wants it’s his choice if he wants to price himself out of one of the best drive’s available.

    1. James Allen says:

      A very good point, Barry

      1. Doug says:

        Hi James,

        Great article BTW…but don’t you think if he ends up getting 50% more from the most improved team of 2009 (who are established F1 front runners) that he’d be mad not to sign with McLaren? OK, the LH factor might make him think twice, but he knows his style is more suited to the 2010 regs than Lewis’s is!
        Whilst I appreciate that Mercedes may be a good bet in the long haul don’t you think that next year McLaren may well have the better car?
        A poll on this question on the ITV website seems to indicate that many readers feel that McLaren will have the quicker car next year!

  22. Niko says:

    I think Jenson is playing this all wrong. He has much more of a chance of retaining his crown by staying at Brawn-soon-to-be-Mercedes, and it will be enough of a fresh challenge as it will be practically a new team, at least as much so as the Honda/Brawn transition was.

    But if he wants the challenge of going against Hamilton, good luck to him, kudos, and I won’t be able to wait for what would be a very exciting battle.

  23. Dom says:

    Not sure how Jenson can play this hand well now – more cash and the challenge of Lewis would probably trump a Nico centric Mercedes team, especially as all German eyes will be on Vettel for the future.

    Personally I hope he stays at Brawn as I’d love to see Kimi take on Lewis but surely Jenson has to follow the cash – worst case would be a drumming by a favoured Nico and then his F1 choices would be fairly limited going forward.

    Incidently, I thought Damon played a blinder in ’06 – he got a good deal at Arrows and surprised everyone in ’07 with a brilliant performance in the Hungarian GP paving the way for a switch to Jordan on better terms than he would have achieved the preceding year.

    1. James Allen says:

      Yes, but the car he stepped out of won the 1997 world championship

      1. michael c says:

        surely Damon was dropped because he was a bit hesitant on too many occasions – shades of Jenson perhaps at times too this season – both of them possibly doing so for the entirely understandable reason of not wanting to let the F1 world champion title slip away from them.

        That said – unless Ross is being overruled in the background – to lose both Rubens and Jenson in favour of what at present are worthy drivers but not proven winners seems a strange way to try to win back to back constructor championships – Jensons wage demands are (or at least seem to be) pretty paltry ( wouldnt it be nice to be able to do the same!!)against the money Mercedes are putting in.

      2. Mike from Medellin, Colombia says:

        Shades of Damon Hill, yes. They both seem to have had terrible managers. From what I remember Michael Breen (Damon’s manager) was a source of irritation for FW and PH.

      3. Mike says:

        Hill was dropped because of his terrible 1995 season

      4. jose says:

        Don’t forget that more or less the same happened at williams in 1992 with mansell, and i doubt he had the same manager that hill had in 1995.
        So it is a williams thing.
        And brown looks to me, he is very much like frank, on paying big salaries to drivers. They both know, they are not worth that much. Many drivers on the grid, can win races given the best car.

      5. Dom says:

        Don’t forget the Williams decision on Damon was likely taken in ’95 so for a damange limitation exercise, Arrows worked out extremely well for him – he never really had any chance to stay with Williams for ’07.

        He really responded well (after a slight and understandable wobble) to his sacking though and pulled off a strong victory in Japan at the season end if I recall.

  24. Chris says:

    Oh dear. Can’t help the feeling Jenson is going to get shafted. He just needs to sign the deal. Kimi is stalling with Mclaren over money but Jenson needs to bare in mind that Mercades wether it be Mclaren or Brawn are big Kimi fans and either one could offer Kimi if not the money but a champoinship challenging car.
    Why the hell would you not want to sign for the full Mercades works squad especially when you don’t actually need the money, These are “The Silver Arrows” for god sake. There is only one team as famous.
    Kimi to Maclaren and Jenson stays where he is. I don’t see what the hold up is.

  25. George says:

    I think you’re right about this, Ross Brawn doesn’t seem the kind of guy to say he’s ’99% sure Button will stay’ when he has no intention of signing him, although I guess that would depend on how much say he has in the team after the takeover.

    As I said the other day, he’ll end up without a job if he’s not careful, especially if McLaren are playing games with him.

  26. True Blue says:

    Mclaren would be wrong to sign Button if Kimi was available. If Kimi has his motivation back he would be a far better test for Hamilton.
    Button will be in the record books but he will never win another F1 championship

  27. Lewis Jones says:

    Hi James,

    I still get the impression, as you highlight, that it has been a case of Jenson and his manager (who you know I have my doubts about!) mucking up their negotiating position. Why should Mercedes pay ‘silly money’ when there are drivers queueing up to drive the new Silver Arrow car?

    I would like to think Button would take the better sporting option and stay at Brawn, albeit on less money than Alonso, Hamilton and probably even his team mate Rosberg. But something tells me he might take the Macca money and be content to play second fiddle. Which would be a shame.

  28. Rizzrazz says:

    personally I feel Jenson has shot himself in the foot for not taking the deal on offer brawn made initially, perhaps of course the delay in the signing was due to internal knowledge of a Mercedes partnership, but i think button going to Mclaren is unlikely, simply put- he will be embarassed by Lewis, and this his f1 stock market value will plummet.

    Surely he’s earned enough from honda over the last few seasons, so why the focus on money? didnt he say that championships were more important to him than cash on Top Gear once?

    Perhaps his asking fee is quite humble compared to other WDC,but the mere fact that brawn werent willing to meet his demands, even with his WDC for leverage shows how much confidence they had in him as a driver compared to the rest of the market- Brawn didnt shirk on signing shumi ever now, did he?

    For me jenson is no where near the top flank of drivers, the trio – Alonso, Hamilton and Kimi- it took him 9 seasons to achieve his title, and it will be his only- you can hold me to that!

    i hope kimi gets the Mclaren drive, and Heidfeld deserves a seat in Brawn, if anything as a reward for being overlooked at Macca for Kimi when he was groomed under Mercedes’ young drive program in the late 90′s.

    From what rumors i hear, Button may even fall into the laps of the new teams, count it as an outside bet!

  29. Martin Collyer says:

    Difficult to know what is going on here.

    Herr Zetsche has been fairly non-commital on the subject of German drivers, we’ll leave the decision to Ross etc.

    Rosberg/Heidfeld or Rosberg/Glock combinations don’t sound like championship chasing potential, sound but not brilliant.

    Hamilton/Button or Hamilton/Raikkonen sounds, on paper, a stronger combination.

    Two drivers of the same nationality in any team is rare. Perhaps the long game, for Brawn/Mercedes and McLaren, is to await developments at Renault, Kubica may yet be on the market.

    1. michael c says:

      Kubica and Hamilton – that would be sparky!! I still hope Kimi gets another chance though

  30. Ginger says:

    It’s being reported on the Guardian’s website as a done deal.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/sport/2009/nov/16/jenson-button-joins-mclaren-contract

    Not sure that it is the best idea but maybe most of us are wrong, perhaps JB will be the driver to get the best out of the heavy cars and look after the tyres better than Lewis?

    I hope that the sport doesn’t lose Kimi. Okay he can’t be bothered with wasting words but in the right car he may prove to be the dark horse in a market that would have Lewis and Fernando to win the WDC.

  31. IanM says:

    JB is next to a rock and hard place. McLaren must be attractive to JB, up there with Ferrari, the development and pace they found last year from what was a milk-cart at the start of the season was wow, they can pay him what he wants etc. But as has been said he’d be joining a team that already has one of the fastest and best drivers on the grid, where the car will need to be developed to work for two very different driving styles.

    Staying with BGP (MGP) he is the one with his feet under the table and now it’s a factory team. But he’s obviously not happy with the deal on the table, as “1″ he wants to see a return to the money he was on as Honda.

    My 2-cents, is he should stay where he is. At MGP he can hit the ground running he knows the team and now has the silver-arrows behind him also. While next years regs have several big changes so it’s probably going to be another yoyo season with performance but with his driving style and the kindness to tyres the BGP01 seemed to have that could be several tenths per lap.

  32. TinyJim says:

    If Button were to find himself stranded then this surely devalues the World Drivers Championship. If the World Champion can’t find a drive in a top team then what does it actual mean to be World Champion? It brings the sport into disrepute, well the drivers title to be specific. I say this with a touch of jest, but it does raise questions.

    Of course everybody knows it’s 90% car in F1 and we all play the game of hyping up the drivers title as if it actually correlates to who the best drivers really are. But it’s not good for the sport to see the ‘Best Driver of 2009 according to the Championship Table’ out in the dark.

  33. Steve says:

    Why did Williams axe Damon? Too young to remember.

    1. lynnduffy says:

      He wasn’t fast enough. The 1996 Williams was so far ahead of the field that I could have won the WDC in it.

      Well not quite, but you get the idea. He was nearly beaten to it by the very mediocre Jacques Villeneuve, in his rookie season.

      Top bloke, but never a top driver.

    2. Martin Collyer says:

      As far as I can remember, there was a lot of opinion about in the mid-nineties that Frentzen was even quicker than Schumacher. I don’t know where this theory came from, it might have been Peter Sauber building the price for which he could sell Frentzen’s contract.

      I think Frentzen was signed by Williams for the ’97 season, at the end of ’95. Frank and Patrick probably thought that Damon should have won the WDC in ’95 but didn’t, and Frentzen was the driver to do it for them. Damon was thirty+ points behind Schumacher in the ’95 season compared with just one point adrift in ’94 so you can see Frank and Patrick’s point of view.

      The other thing I remember about this period was that a lot of people thought that when Coultard moved from Williams to McLaren at the end of ’95, Williams had let the wrong driver go.

    3. John Gibson says:

      I distinctly recall reading something along the lines of Frentzen being signed to try to woo BMW as an engine supplier (Renault had announced in mid-95 that they would quit as an engine supplier from F1 at the end of ’97). It was reported by sources in Autosport at the time that the Frentzen-Williams deal was completed at the end of ’95 and that there was little that Hill could have actually done to retain his seat, WDC or not. Personally, I thought Williams should have informed him of that a bit earlier.

      That said, I’ve always thought his ’96 title to be undervalued. The car advantage was nothing like that enjoyed by Mansell in ’92.

      Speaking of Mansell, Button’s situation is surely much more akin to that of “Our Nige” (cringe) than that of Hill? Trying to negotiate more money from a position of weakness.

    4. BrightMinds says:

      Old, and potentially expensive being a world champion. Don’t forget Williams took a risk with Villeneuve and he was ace, so why not with Frentzen?

  34. Maria says:

    I have always said Brawn are making Button leave ship on his own using the salary card. Wait and watch Kimi arrive at Brawn.

    Norbert Huag also said today there could be a surprise in the 2010 line up for Mercedes GP.

    Does Nick Heidfeld sound surprising to you? Nope. Does retaining Button sound surprising to you? No, its a case of ‘I told you so’. Enter Kimi Raikkonen and now you have a surprise.

    Brawn and Mercedes are serious and they need serious drivers with great potential, thats Nico and Kimi. Unless Kubica comes back on the market like some have already mentioned above.

    I have to disagree with you James, Kimi’s lack of motivation does not explain the sudden upturn of performance just when Massa was out of action for the time. Its simple, Ferrari started to give Kimi the support they didnt afford him all 2008 season long and 2009 first part in terms of strategy and development paths. Its very typical of Ferrari, there is always a favorite driver and favoritism at Ferrari.

    Whoever is making these claims at the teams in question are obviously trying to weaken Kimi’s bargaining power by feeding bad vibes. Kimi has shown his hand and those who like to play cheap will not be getting him. I doubt Ross will be this naive to buy into these useless claims about lack of motivation or hunger. If anything its a bargaining tactic. No one in the right minds will say Kimi is not good enough.

    And I doubt Norbert and Ross Brawn will be ready to make that mistake and let Kimi slip. You don’t get drivers of his caliber on the market that often.

    1. Segedunum says:

      Pretty interesting Maria. I hadn’t thought of it like that with Raikkonen to Mercedes. Yes, Norbert has said there will be a surprise and no Heidfeld and Rosberg doesn’t sound that surprising. There’s so much speculation at the moment because everyone is playing everyone else and Heidfeld is being thrown in to bludgeon Button and Raikkonen with. Button would be crazy to pass up a Brawn contract to go to McLaren where his stock might fall quickly.

      The Robertsons are certainly chancers if nothing else! Brawn and Mercedes does seem to be the place to be next season if you want to win, and they’re in prime position.

      As for Raikkonen’s ‘motivation’, it seems to be an oft repeated topic but I see no evidence at all that he hasn’t been trying. People point to 2008 over and over but you don’t get ten fastest laps in a season and not be trying. Something else is wrong. He’s the one with the championship at Ferrari, not Massa, and I rather sense that the development weight and politics at that team leaned firmly towards Massa at times. Any driver paid what Raikkonen was paid needs more firm support from the team if they believe he is that good. Just ask Schumacher. That was Ferrari’s loss. The fact that his performances got better as soon as Massa wasn’t around wasn’t a coincidence. This season has given Ferrari an insight into what might have been possible with Raikkonen if they get rid of the political nonsense.

      Maybe Raikkonen should have thrown an Alonso fit, I don’t know. Next season should be interesting at Ferrari, but Raikkonen was better off out anyway. Ferrari just isn’t the place to be with Red Bull, Brawn Merc and McLaren around.

      1. Fuchsia says:

        Completely agree with your comment on kimi’s motivation. Ferrari made a deliberate choice last year to develop the car to suit massa’s driving. Kimi made it clear to Domenicali last year that the car’s front suspension wasn’t to his liking. Domenicali didn’t make the changes for Kimi until Monza. By then, it was already too late for the WDC.

        Also, as for his performance this year, I can’t believe that people still think he is unmotivated. There is only so much that a good driver could do for a hopeless car. Kimi scored Ferrari’s first points, first podium and only win of this season.

        I can’t help but feel that he might be left without a seat for next year. Would be a travesty if mediocre drivers get strong cars while Kimi is left out.

    2. Segedunum says:

      Could be Michael Schumacher though. ;-)

    3. Bog says:

      Maria, I agree with you.

      However, by the same token Heidfeld might be considered a suprise while Kimi not so.. as everybody expects now he’ll drive for Mercedes (since Button is rumored as signed for McLaren).

      1. Maria says:

        Now that Kimi unfortunately has stopped short of confirming its a 100% sabbatical with his manager admitting that Mclaren talks have broken down, its looking like Nick is in the frame for the Mercedes drive.

        Thats hardly earth shattering for a team who is hiring Ross Brawn, putting faith in the good engineers at brackley and claiming to be serious title contenders.

        Yes it is a surprise if Nick is signed up, not for the quality of that call but for the most laughable decision a team can make.

        What on earth are they doing….

        This leads us to further believe Ross brawn has no power at all, its all Mercedes who is pulling the strings now. If it truly was Ross brawn calling the shots, he would be the first to grab Kimi over anyone else, the man has genuine admiration for Kimi since a long long time, from the time he was at Ferrari masterminding Schumacher’s titles.

        And not for a minute I buy these useless money claims that Kimi and his management are allegedly greedy. Anyone can see Brawn will be strong next year with the 2010 cars already taking shape in their respective factories.

    4. Relativity says:

      A very interesting way of looking at the drivers market. In my opinion Kimi in a Brawn/Silver Arrows will be golden. Haug has shown his affection for Kimi in the past as well.

      Expect the unexpected in F1. This waiting game is killing me………

  35. Martin P says:

    One element I hear no one talk about is the length of contract on offer from Brawn.

    Is it a one year deal taking them up to a potential grab for Vettel?

    Or two years, which suggests more respect for his talents even if the cash doesn’t.

    To me the term on offer is as big a sign of intent and future strategy as the cash on the table.

  36. Andy says:

    Guardian just announced that Button is going to McLaren. Greed won.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/sport/2009/nov/16/jenson-button-joins-mclaren-contract

    1. Mike says:

      if this story is true, then Button has been offered a 3 year deal at one of F1′s best teams. That length of contract is very rare in the sport and I think he’d be a fool to turn the opportunity down.

      That McLaren are offering him that amount of job security also suggests to me that they intend to allow him to race Hamilton.

      How can you say that greed has won when McLaren are only offering a bit more cash than Mercedes, a wage that is 1/2 that of hamilton’s.

    2. Steve says:

      If this report is correct then I don’t think greed was the issue. Far better to have a three deal than a probable one-year at Brawn.

      Whether he is thrashed by Lewis is open to debate but the one thing nobody has mentioned is that David Coulthard spent eleven years in full employment without once winning a championship at McLaren in what was a championship-winning car. It has to be assumed that his ability to play a roll in the corporate field suited McLaren as well as being a superb back up driver to Mika, because that’s what he was.

      Jenson will no doubt be allowed to fight for a championship but should he be beaten by Lewis he for sure will not be far behind…just like David was. Should be good for the McLaren team. Same cannot be said for Raikkonen who is an embarrassment to watch and listen too on TV.

  37. Dave says:

    Do we have any idea how long a deal Brawn are offering Jenson?

    If Mercedes have plans for another German driver (Vettell?) and are only offering one year that might explain why he hasn’t signed.

  38. C.M. says:

    I wonder if McLaren feels that Kimi might be a threat to Lewis winning the drivers title? And better take Button insteed. Also taking Button, would make Mercedes weaker, as Button is best what Mercedes could get as he knows the team and the car best and as Kimi would not go there, Heidfeld would be even worse than Button there I’m afraid.

    I find best solution for F1 would be Kimi to McLaren, Button to Mercedes, Heidfeld to Qadbak-Ferrari.

  39. Clackers says:

    I am startled that Button’s management can ruin this opportunity. Is this the same manager that has ‘guided’ Button throughout his F1 career? Jenson needs to fire the idiot. And fast. Unfortunately, I think it’s too late. Jenson should have signed the deal with Brawn ASAP. He didn’t, and now IF he does back down and sign a less-money contract he will be the laughing stock of the paddock (at least until he wins in Bahrain) and I am not sure a wideboy like Button will enjoy that humbling embrassed feeling. So pride will make him sign for McLaren, just to prove his worth per se, and I am afraid he will be blitzed by Hamilton, it won’t even be close. I could also see happening, such is Button’s mismanagement, Jenson being forced to take a drive in one of the new teams (thus ending his career effectively) because what if McLaren sign Kimi and Brawn go for the much cheaper and just-as-reliable Heidfeld? It goes to show that, although JB deserved his title, his stock is not high enough in the paddock to be able to command his own wage. He needed to have taken whatever Ross Brawn offered him. He didn’t. It’s over, Jenson. Well done, you’ve won your title, but unless you do sign for Mercedes team, we won’t be seeing you on the radar again.

    1. Maria says:

      Blitzed by Hamilton?! Button is every bit as good as they get. For someone who couldn’t handle Alonso without the Mclaren hampering Alonso in every conceivable way, what blitzing is Hamilton going to do?.

      Button may ruffle Hamilton’s cool and beat him to such an extant there could be the repeat of 2007 only this time people blaming everything squarely on Hamilton clan.

      There is a lot of naivety with suggestions of Hamilton somehow being able to handle Button when he couldn’t even handle Alonso.

      1. Mav says:

        The only naivety around here is in your posts Maria. You sound like you were brought up on a diet of Carlos Miguel and Kevin Eason.

      2. James Allen says:

        Washed down with…?

      3. cliff says:

        So your contention being Button is better than Alonso I would imagine.

        Its high time you take off your rose tinted glasses.A little bit of objective reason helps a great deal rather than portraying yourself like a botched job in logic reasoning.

        Alonso is a great driver no question….Hamilton,Raikonnen,Button are not far behind.

      4. Williams4Ever says:

        Maria, While your Kimi-Ferrari argument was strong Button-Hamilton argument doesn’t stand water. I don’t say that there will be no preferential treatments at McLaren etc. Favoritism has always been part of modern F1.

        At this point of year where all the teams (including BMW and Toyota though they are not on 2010 grid) have made significant development of 2010 car. Button likes car with understeer and Hamilton likes car with oversteer. So Button will anyways start with his hands tied to the back.

        A team will not make fundamental design philosophy change on 11th hour and It will be for Button to prove how fast he can adapt to the car that is not to his liking. If you look at his resume, barring the BAR years (where the car was designed for him) he suffered miserably in 2007-08 and even in final leg of 2009 when Brawn stopped developing 2009 car. He for one is not the driver who can work around the car which is not suited to his taste.

        If indeed Button moves to McLaren I see Hamilton-Heikki like results for McLaren next year. If Button really takes the fight to Hamilton, he will prove that he is top shelf driver.

        Another interesting aspect will be if it is indeed repeat of Hamilton-Heikki year at McLaren and Button goes to press with his woes of car not suiting his style, how will British Media/Fans who have not spared single opportunity to slay Hamilton team-mates so far deal with the situation :-?

    2. Amritraj says:

      It is amusing that you can so conveniently state that Button will be routed by Hamilton. I think with a world championship under his belt, Button can really free his mind and start to enjoy racing more. As they say, the 1st one is the most difficult one.

      Hamilton had 1 season with a top-class driver, in 2007. And they finished on equal points. You might argue that Hammy was a Rookie and Alonso a double WDC. However, it is very difficult to judge who was more disadvantaged: Hammy, because of his rookie year in F1 (but with a team which practically reared him and on tyres that are very similiar to the ones run in GP 2) or Alonso, who shifted to a new team and new tyres.

      I am not going to make any judgments. Let’s wait and see what happens in 2010.

      1. James Allen says:

        Let’s wait and see, indeed Amritraj. If it happens you and I can have a small wager on it..

      2. Williams4Ever says:

        Amrit, in your Alonso-to-McLaren logic lies answer to 85% probability of outcome of Jense-to-McLaren move. McLaren 2010 car project will be in advance stage as we speak to make changes to accomodate Jenson’s needs.

        Needs of Alonso and Hamilton were close match in 2007 and given that McLaren had switched off 2006 season even before the 1st race in Bahrain, meant McLaren had entire 2006 season to take into account impending move of Alonso while designing 2007 car.

        Of course all Michelin runner struggled in early part of 2007 (that includes Kimi) and from that perspective Alonso should get credit for the way he quickly adapted to McLaren car with Bridgestone Tires.

  40. Terry Dart says:

    “The next move is Button’s. Which way will he jump?” If he has an offer from McLaren, that is the sensible move for him. For weeks Brawn have been saying they want him, but not in a very convincing way. The vibes both before and after the Mercedes announcement seem to indicate he is not wanted eg Fry’s interview on BBC Five Live. If no offer from McLaren he will still be better off personally elsewhere. No-one will perform well where they are not wanted.

  41. ToryBoy says:

    Well The Guardian are now reporting that Button has agreed a 3 year deal with McLaren (£6M a year).

  42. Ann Gilmour says:

    I don’t understand why people are saying Rosberg and Heidfeld aren’t championship winning material. Neither was Jenson this time last year(some may say he still isn’t).
    An Engerland/Germany battle in F1 will play right into tabloid hands. Rosberg/Heidfeld would be a solid and professional outfit. Mercedes could do a lot, lot worse.

  43. Over the years, Jenson’s deal-making seems to be like how I would be if I had the money to play the markets: Buy High, Sell Low.

    I actually suspect he’d be fine and dandy at McLaren in this new sans-Ron D era (his now being detached from the day to day operations of the F1 side, that is – apparently/allegedly). I’d like to see him and Lewis together – what an uber-cool team that would be.

    Anyway, if I was him I think I’d go there just to finally get away from Nick Fry’s incessant grin.

    Mind you, he – Mr Fry – has cause to grin even more currently, having trousered a fair few quid from the Merc acquisition of Brawn. Nice bit of business in the space of one year. Funny old life.

    Think I will get Mr Fry to pick my next Lottery numbers … ;-)

  44. Japanese Sage says:

    Seems to be a lot of negativity aimed at Jenson,maybe he knows next years car is not as good and thinks McLaren may have the edge in 2010. If next years Brawn was going to be the best would Ross be so quick at letting his name come off the car?

  45. Mike from Medellin, Colombia says:

    So, it’s official …..Hamilton will make mincemeat of Button next year.

    Jenson should have taken the easy option and taken on Rosberg. By Barcelona next year he will be wishing that he could pay the 2 million extra he will earn and pay Brawn for a drive in order to get out of Hamilton’s wake.

    Good for McLaren though…they get more TV airtime and someone who is slightly quicker than Kovalainen.

  46. Silverstoned says:

    McLaren need 2 big beasts to vanquish Ferrari next year. That’s Raikkonen and Hamilton. Simple fact. Why the silly runaround?

    James, it may seem impossible but can Haug be steering The Iceman towards a Brawn drive? could this be the “surprise” that he was talking about? Or is he actually, and this is my real worry, as ham fisted as he seems?

  47. Randal says:

    If Rosberg made $8.5 in 2009, double what Jenson made, what are Brawn/Mercedes going to be paying him?

    Even if Rosberg took a big pay cut to drive for Brawn/Mercedes (say down to $5 million – which is about what JB made), I would imagine Button would be insulted by the lack of pay differential. He is the WDC and would/should expect to make significantly more than Rosberg.

    Oddly enough, according to the recent report on driver’s salaries, Rosberg, Trulli, Webber, and Vettel were all making more than Button.

  48. Segedunum says:

    I don’t buy the Guardian story. If you read it there are too many ifs, buts and caveats in case it doesn’t quite work out as predicted. Indeed, with what Nick Fry is saying in that article they still believe that Button will sign. I also still can’t see McLaren being the ideal choice for Button at this stage of his career. He wants to ease into more race wins and championships.

    As for the Williams and HHF comparison, there aren’t any prizes for guessing how that turned out for Williams.

  49. Andy says:

    Interesting if Button really has signed the contract with McLaren now. I guess the question now is, has McLaren signed the contract as well. Somehow, I get the feeling Jenson is panicking, thinking Mercedes will get two German drivers and wants to secure a seat at McLaren before they come to an agreement with Kimi.

  50. Leslie says:

    Once again we see Jenson Button d**ng about over contracts. Can’t he see which way is up? He should just sign for Mercedes and the money will follow with the success.

    He’ll get buried at McLaren.

    Probably time he fired Goddard anyway, the guys just greedy trouble.

    1. Lewis Jones says:

      Couldn’t agree more about Goddard. Have no idea why the Buttons think he is a good manager!

      1. LMW says:

        I agree. I didn’t like the way he came across in the BBC TV feed when JB won the championship in Brazil, seemed quite arrogant to me.

  51. tony presser says:

    How extraordinary!The 2009 F1 World Champion looks like being out of a job next year.

  52. Gwion Daniel says:

    What must Honda think of this situation? They sold the team to Ross Brawn for £1, having invested hundreds of millions in the car, and financed the team for an entire season. I’m sure they wouldn’t be too impressed by another manufacturer coming along and reaping all their hard work, especially after the generous terms of their withdrawal from F1.

    1. James Allen says:

      And before that British American Tobacco who started the team, built the factory from scratch, invested billions, as did Honda. You’ve got to hand it to Mercedes, it’s a heck of a deal

  53. Paul says:

    All British McLaren all German Merc teem, USF1 and Force India, what is this A1GP?

    1. Supervly says:

      It will have to be as A1 doesnt exist anymore

  54. MikeW says:

    I’m from Woking, but definitely more of a Button fan…

    McLaren is always perceived as a strong contender, with the ability of coming up with a championship-winning car.

    Surely the question for Button isn’t about how people will compare him with Hamilton. It’s got to be about whether McLaren are capable of coming up with a car for his side of the garage, that suits his style of driving.

    If he can be given confidence that he can get that, isn’t it a no-brainer?

  55. Colin says:

    Good for Button shame for Kimi. Kimi is clearly, in terms of speed, every bit as good as anyone if not better. Ok maybe he is not a leader and motivator, and technical master but it’s just sad to see a talent like him gone. Of course for Kimi there is life after F1 including rallying where Kubica, Kovalainen have said they are interested in.

  56. Toga says:

    I think Button moving to McLaren would be fantastic for him and for the sport. 2010 is shaping up very nicely, although I have one impossible wish that would be more than icing on the cake.

    Which marque finished 2009 most impressively? McLaren. Right, let’s install the last two World Champions. One of them has a considerably superior strike record, so he’ll be the clear number 1, in salary terms if not numerically. But they’ll still have the same machinery, and you never know what the feeling of ‘World Champion, baby’ might do for a driver.

    McLaren’s likely closest challenger? That’ll be Ferrari. Let’s put the driver reckoned to be the best of the current crop there. And his teammate – could we have a 41-year old? Not for this fantasy F1, no. (See below.) You’ll have to make do with Massa, World Champ of 08 but for another driver’s tyres not lasting one more lap. All sounds good so far.

    Red Bull? Same again, though might be scrapping for more minor points than last season.

    What about Brawn, sorry, Mercedes? Can they really hope to match McLaren and Ferrari next year, especially after the latter took a virtual sabbatical for much of the season, concentrating on 2010? Probably not, even with this German ‘dream team’ of Heidfeld and Rosberg. (But I thought Rosberg was … oh, never mind.) Can we do any better for the Silver Arrows, to help them out of the second drawer bunfight with Red Bull? I think we could. A great German driver needed for a great German brand … ?

    1. Michael C says:

      now wouldn’t that put the cat amongst the pigeons!! – Bernies dream come true

  57. Ayrton says:

    The one thing I cannot understand James is why would Kimi give up F1 for money. For a guy who has an image of not caring about the politics and intrigues of F1 and just wants to drive he seems to be pushing too hard for money (specialley given his unique situation this year, with Ferrari paying him a hefty sum already). Might it be the issue is not money, but all the other stuff he dislikes (the PR and sponsor events, etc.)?

    1. Richard Mee says:

      So what if it is! News flash!!! It’s a high profile job being a Formula 1 driver… he gets paid well for it – so he can just deal with it.

      People on here are waaaay too soft on Kimi.

      It’s ironic; given the man acts as though the fans (i.e. you) are a tedium he’d rather ignore – he never seems enthused or to be enjoying himself. Is that appealing to you all? Maybe it’s just me? I’m of the firm opinion that Kimi fans must be ‘cat’ people.

      I’m fed up of hearing all the earnest excuses about him “needing to be motivated”, as if that’s anyone else’s responsibility but his.

      Fact is his career so far can be summarised thus “better than average with the odd flash of genius about once every 6 months”.

      Now he’s got god knows how many million already in the bank for next year but he feels he deserves god knows how many million more!…

      I’d like to take him to one side and whisper in his ear that he can gladly bugger off and drive his little buzz-boxes around a forest if he’d prefer. He can even help himself to a Magnum on his way out.

    2. jose says:

      It sure looks like money though. From my point of view, he is looking greedy.

  58. Adron Gardner says:

    I remember a good line from Hamilton not too long ago, obviously also a WDC.

    “I’m paid what I’m offered.”

    Bravo.

  59. MikeW says:

    Hmmm. Interesting news from the Grauniad.

    Any idea who will follow along? I would have thought he’d have a reasonable attachment to Shove at least..

    1. James Allen says:

      Can’t think of many drivers who have taken an engineer with them to McLaren. They value their own engineers very highly there. He will get Mark Slade, who worked with Raikkonen and Hakkinen.

      1. Jonathan Chan says:

        James if the Mclaren-Button move has been completed how do you see the inteam dynamics pan out? Will Jenson be as charismatic as he was with Brawn or will he be watered down to apese the sponsors and Mclaren coporate culture?

      2. James Allen says:

        No I think he’ll be the same. He’s very professional with the sponsors and so on.

  60. Janet says:

    Wow, all this over a 2-3 million, when you made millions for years at Honda. Take the pay, sign the contract.

    And Kimi, if you want to drive, just sign the deal and cut the crap!!!

    James, btw I love your column. It’s ALL i READ NOW:)

  61. Qiang says:

    Hi James,
    I don’t understand why Nick Heidfeld is so highly rated. I don’t think he was particularly good at all when BMW had a pretty good car last year. I believe the biggest mistake BMW made was to go with the two drivers that not at the highest level.
    A Nico/Nick pairing at the Silver Arrow? You got to be kidding!

    1. Kav says:

      Well despite his troubles in qualifying last year, he only scored 15 less points than Kubica. Okay he did get beaten by Alonso in the standings, but the Renault was a strong car towards the end and there’s no shame in losing to him.

      1. Neil Williams says:

        And Alonsos tally included 10 points for the ‘win’ at Singapore…

  62. andyb.wrc says:

    Jenson didnt look that special this year, he looked like a solid experienced, midfield driver. But not special.

    He drove well when his car had a massive advantage, but then afterwards – average.

    I’m going to put my neck on the line and say Ralf Schumacher would’ve been a more convincing world champ in a Brawn.

    Jenson isn’t worth 8 million.

    We are facing the possibility of Jenson taking Kimi’s seat, and if Kimi’s seat were to be filled by Button we, as fans, will have been robbed.

    Stop being greedy Kimi, and go back to the midfield Button.

  63. Chris Cole says:

    No-one seems to have picked up on the fact that McClaren have a deal with Mercedes to be supplied with engines until 2015. If Jense does sign for them, and I for one hope that he does, then he’ll have the McLaren/Mercedes package for the next 5 years by which time he must surely be very near the end of his career. If he stays at Brawn, what chance that they let him go next year by which time nobody else will want him? Surely a deal with McLaren that keeps him in a potential race winning car for the longer term is best for him.

  64. k9major says:

    So, you’re a talented F1 driver, you’ve been in F1 for ten years, ‘paid your dues’ – and then you get offered the chance to drive for Mclaren. It’s a no brainer. Get your pen out JB. The Rosberg/Heidfeld combo is likely to be the dissappointment of next season-not exactly a stellar line up is it? Hamilton/Button-two world champions in one team, isn’t this what a great many of us watch F1 for? And maybe, just maybe, the larger fuel tanks/smaller front tyres of next season will make the fight between JB and LH much closer than many think.

  65. guy says:

    1. The times are reporting Brawn have offered £8m (not sure how much fixed). Jenson is said to want more because of Mercedes deal. Foolish and greedy? BUT

    2. Everyone seems to forget he paid williams millions just to drive for Honda – this resulted in the higher salary. As such his income in part repaid his capital outlay.

  66. Mr G says:

    Hang on a minute !!!!
    Can we please analyse the last 5 years of F1 !!!
    So far Button has demonstrated to be a good driver, not a Lewis, not a Fernando not a Schumacher, but a good driver.
    This season has demonstrated that a good driver can win the WDC with a very good car.
    A excellent driver with an excellent team can develop a bad car, see Lewis and McLaren.
    Therefore Brawn has offered what they think is the value of a good decent driver, not an outstanding one such as Lewis or Alonso.
    Moreover Brawn now has the backing of Mercedes as far as it is marketing and he doesn’t need to bother anymore with that aspect of the team, Mercedes will sell cars with or without Button.
    Taking everything in consideration, I think Button should think about it his long term future instead of next year.
    My dad always said to me, better having a little bit of something rather than a lot of anything !!!!
    We need to remember that Brawn has the capability as a team manager to be able to do it again and again, he has done it at Ferrari.
    Button has to demonstrate that because so far has won with a better car

  67. DK says:

    Now this has turned into a suspense and fans from all camps concerned must be biting their finger nails. I hope to see the ending soonest possible and sit tight and wait for Bahrain 2010!

    Could it be Nick is offered only as reserve/test driver for Mercedes GP?

  68. Lee Gilbert says:

    James,

    It’s interesting that the official Mercedes statement on the Brawn GP website states that the relationship with McClaren COULD continue until 2015:

    http://www.brawngp.com/readstory.asp?bgp=j%C1%AA%C0rZ%7Cg

    I assume this means there is a break clause in there for around the time of the change in Engine rules (in 2013?)

    James, by the way – if you’re “looking for a bigger boat” for your server then I have loads that you can use. Get in touch

  69. Supervly says:

    The marketing perspective :

    Fact : Mercedes now own Brawn
    Fact : Brawn will become Silver Arrows
    Fact : Silver Arrows are celebrating 75 years in Motorsport .

    It seems pretty logical they will want to be carrying the number 1 on their car.

    Who wons no.1 next year

    So with logic I would say Jenson hold out you are a valuable commodity.

  70. Michael Grievson says:

    I agree. I like heidfeld and he’ll be a points scorer and bring the car home bit I don’t think he’s a champion

  71. Tom Gower says:

    James please could you answer the following.

    Hills driving style was very smooth (just like Jenson) Villeneve was far more aggresive (like Hamilton) yet they drove the same car with no problems just a different setup.

    Is this not possible anymore due to car design? it is just people keep saying the car will be more to Lewis’ taste.

    1. James Allen says:

      No, of course it is possible. And anyway, a really good driver is able to adapt to anything.

      1. Adrian says:

        And surely if any team can cope with developing a car for 2 disparate driving styles it’s McLaren…

      2. Neil Williams says:

        McLaren can but did it not lead them up several wrong roads when Raikkonnen was paired with Montoya who both had different front ends?

  72. Paul Mc says:

    Really surprised that Jenson has gone to McLaren (Providing the story is true). McLaren is built around Hamilton and many will see Button as the number 2 driver. Buttons stock will greatly devalue if Lewis consistently out performs him, which in my view he will.

    Walking away from a Ross Brawn/Mercedes package is either incredibly stupid or pure genius..only time will tell.

  73. Rob says:

    It seems to me Jenson has a contract from both McLaren and Brawn/Mercedes in his briefcase already – which to sign??

    Surely if money is the issue you take the highest offer. If performance of next years car is the issue you go to McLaren as they are the most competant developers of F1 cars at the moment. If he simply can’t decide based on the above, then I would suggest he wouldn’t want to be driving the same car as Lewis, even Alonso found that difficult, so why not take on Nico Rosberg at Brawn?

    Is it not that simple? Or am I missing something (assuming Jenson wants to be on next years grid?)

  74. Ginger says:

    James,

    I know that you are busy but do you think that it would be possible that MSC would race for the new Merc F1 team?

    There are a few reasons, Ross, German, experienced?

    It has been posted on the Andrew Benson site by another poster and thought you might have some thoughts on the matter.

    Thanks in advance.

    1. James Allen says:

      Well Michael was up for deputising for Massa, but has said he wouldn’t do a whole season. He’s 41 in January, for heaven’s sake!

  75. Owen says:

    Jenson has made a muck of things. The longer this goes on the more disingenuous he appears. All season he’s said its more important to be in a winning car one minute, yet he’s holding out for a better pay packet from the team that made him world champ. Which is it? And how much money does he need? He should look at the mistakes of drivers past – when Hill and Mansell tried the same game, their title contending days were essentially over. Suck it up Jenson, take the performance-based contract, land all the personal sponsors you can, and prove its more than Brawn’s genius that won you your title by becoming the first back to back English F1 champion.

  76. Huggy says:

    I don’t think its comes down to the total money on offer, I think its more about the length of contract. It may be better for JB to sign for Mclaren on a 3 year contract at £6M than Merc on a 1 year at £8M. If Vettel comes on the market for 2011, Mercedes are going to be all over him like a cheap suit and Jenson could be left out in the cold.

    Everyone keeps going on about Mclaren being Lewis’ team, but they have a long history of putting out two equal cars. I think that this could be a new Prost/Senna situation for them. Lewis being the super-quick Senna and Jenson the super-smooth Prost. Lewis will win more Grand Prix but Jenson might just find himself ahead on points at the end of the season due to his smoothness and consistency. Ok, he got the ‘jips’ at the end of the season, but lets not forget he did win the world championship with a race to spare and a lot of that was down to racking up points even on his off days.

    I think that whatever the polite noises coming out of Woking and Stutgart, there will be a degree of needle between the two teams. Signing Jenson gives Mclaren the reigning World Champion in their car and deprives Mercedes the coveted number 1.

  77. Phil Coles says:

    How about looking at it from this viewpoint- Brawn is now head of the factory Mercedes team, demoting McLaren to the former Brawn status of customer team. Brawn struggled in the developement race in the 2nd half of the season & McLaren reacted with great haste turning a dog into a race winner. Hamilton’s more aggresive driving style will cause tyre havoc on full tanks- Jenson’s smoother style could come up trumps. I think Jenson has more chance of defending his title with McLaren. What do you think James?

    1. James Allen says:

      Well I think Button’s smoothness will be a factor, but these tyres are pretty robust and Hamilton, like Alonso, is more adaptable. I just cannot see Button beating Hamilton in equal machinery

  78. Stephen says:

    I think this is about a lot more than just money. I think that length of contract is one of the big issues for Button.

    Mercedes have almost certainly signed Rosberg and clearly hope to sign Vettel within the next year or two. While I don’t think Mercedes is necessarily looking for an all-German dream team, or that Button’s face doesn’t fit, I’m not sure that Button could have a long-term future at the team. I can’t imagine Rosberg has signed a contract for anything less than 2 years (probably with options for more) and if Mercedes ever managed to get hold of Vettel, he’d surely be signed to a long-term deal (given Merc’s frustration at letting Schumacher slip through its fingers).

    Button’s 29 at the moment and can go on racing for another 6 or 7 years, maybe more. He needs to secure his long term future. His stock is high at the moment coming off the back of his World Championship and if Brawn/Mercedes can’t give him more than a 1 or 2 year contract, I don’t blame him for looking elsewhere. Aside from the fact that McLaren could have the faster car next year with which to defend his championship, could the attraction of McLaren be that they are prepared to sign Button for longer?

    James – what do you think Mercedes’ decision will mean for Hamilton’s career long-term? Do you see him signing for the Mercedes team in the long-term? Despite the bond between McLaren and Hamilton, earlier this year it seemed quite plausible that Hamilton would move away from the team if better prospects lay elsewhere.

    1. James Allen says:

      It’s a marketplace and Hamilton, like Alonso is one of he most valuable commodities. If he keeps driving as he is he will be wanted by the best teams. It’s always been like that.

  79. Bluepoolshark says:

    There are lots of quite harsh comments being made about Button being greedy and his management team making a complete mess of negotiations and how if he goes to Mclaren it would be a mistake but does anybody know exactly what Brawn have offered contract wise? Is it a one year deal only, because i’m sure if it was a multi year deal he probably would have signed already, whereas Mclaren are offering an exceptional 3 year deal, so I can see why he would be leaning towards them now.

  80. Glen says:

    You have allured throughout the season that Mercedes wanted to create their own team. I feel Brawn signed Rosberg about the time of the Spanish Grand Prix, which could explain why Barichello broke ranks and could be open and show emotion and have his rant. I also think Button started negotiations with Mclaren around the Italian Grand Prix, which would explain why Hamiliton felt the need to chase him down aggressively in the race – with an aim to gain an early upper hand.

  81. Derek Lorimer says:

    James,

    Jensen should stay at Mercedes (nee Brawn) and repay the loyalty that the team showed him.

    1. FandangoF1 says:

      And what about the loyalty Jens had for BAR/HONDA/BRAWN?

      7 years, 4 Naff cars, 1 Medoicre car (2006) and 2 good cars (2004 when the Ferrari was unbeatable that year & 2009).

      It’s a shame Merc don’t want the No 1 on their cars next year, I personally think Jens will be able to take the fight to Hamilton. Go Button!

  82. MIKE LEA says:

    I sense that Mercedes and Brawn are not prepared to offer Button the big-bucks of an Alonso or a Hamilton because he was consistently outqualified by Rubinho in the second half of the year and seemed to go off the boil somewhat, although his Brazil race drive was epic. Maybe if he’d ended the year the way he started it then he would have looked a better bet. Does remind me of Damon and Williams. I read Maurice Hamilton’s new book on Williams and there’s one story of Damon’s manager meeting Frank in his office, slamming down a briefcase and saying ‘the bidding starts at 15 million’. Frank wasn’t impressed and told him where to go. I wonder if Button’s manager has displayed the same lack of tact. It certainly isn’t classy having it all out in the press, portraying Brawn as the bad guy. Either way, he will earn millions next year to drive a formula 1 car…I find it hard to cry for him!

  83. Peter says:

    I do not understand why people question Kimi`s consistency. Was Button consisten in 2009? Was Hamilton consistent? An undermotivated Kimi has scored quite good points with a crap car, I think.

  84. Peter says:

    Kimi`s management should just sign a contract regardless money. Kimi has earned approx. 300 million in his carreer so far…He should just go for it for another two years and finish with F1 at high.

  85. Mobeen says:

    It would be just awesome to see Kimi in a silver arrow. I think he’s the best there is in F1 and if his luck holds then will blow everyone away. Remember how fast he was at McLaren when Mercedes engines were all blowing off. I think Mercedes owes him a drive….at salary of Kimi’s choice!

  86. Andy says:

    I struggle to see why McLaren would want Button, they have never been interested in him in the past and surely the last half of the season he proved he was falable and his speed is questionable, would he have won the championship without the car advantage in the first half of the season? I dont think so…
    He is quick, but he is not the quickest and up against Lewis he will be beaten every time. McLaren know this and this is why they are taking him on to grab points to back up Lewis so that they win the constructors, they are not looking for a race winner, they want a drive to earn points, which Heikki failed to consistently do. Just my opinion…

    1. Carl says:

      Last season (and a couple before that) also showed that Lewis is fallable.

      Some key offs, spins and a fair share of Q1 grid slots at the beginning were only a reflection of what Button experienced in the latter half while Lewis enjoyed the spoils of a richly developed car and Button had to scrape by on his old chassis.

      Button had one off during a race, SPA (not his fault, Lewis retiring at the same time) and one spin only during the entire season.

      Not really that bad, nor that fallable.

  87. Kenny Carwash says:

    Button has repeatedly been described as being between a rock and a hard place, but I think it’s more like he’s stuck between a soft, feathery pillow and a slightly firmer, but still very comfortable, cushion.

    At the moment you’d have to say Mercedes is probably the best bet for Jenson. They’ve clearly bought themselves a really strong team and with Ross Brawn at the helm can be confident of sustaining their success so far. At the same time, I can’t ignore the fact that Honda had poured a staggering amount of money into the car that would become the BGP001, far more than Brawn were capable of spending and far more than Mercedes will be willing to. We’ve seen Brawn’s pace drop off in the latter half of the season, supposedly because they’ve been concentrating on next year’s car, but I find it hard to believe that more of that effort wasn’t transferable to the BGP001, given that the cars aren’t going to change that much going into 2010.

    On the other side of the fence you have McLaren, whose racing record speaks for itself and who would probably be more than happy to splash a little cash for the cachet of having the two most recent WDCs in their cars, and Button would be far cheaper than Raikkonen anyway. Any doubts about Martin Whitmarsh’s ability to lead the team I think have been soundly banished following McLaren’s strong march back to the front of the grid and, now there’s a bit more distance between themselves and Mercedes, the idea of McLaren as an all-British super team could be a strong marketing tool.

    The eight million dollar question though, is how would Hamilton and Button get on as a pairing? I don’t think Hamilton will automatically be quicker, straight out of the box. I’d certainly expect him to have an edge, but the rule changes should play into Button’s hands to an extent and if you look back to Kovalainen’s performances in 2008 you can see that he often had the measure of Hamilton in terms of ultimate speed, frequently posting a quicker fastest race lap, but he never had the consistency to match and was generally 2-3 tenths down on Lewis. Consistent lapping could be Button’s middle names, if they weren’t already Alexander and Lyons. If he can remain within a tenth of Hamilton, then you’d have to expect the mature, tactical racing Button has demonstrated this year to bring him home in front at least some of the time. The biggest challenge for Button will be integrating with the team, after having grown used to being the main man at Honda/Brawn. The culture at McLaren has not always been conducive to this, but based on what David Coulthard has said in the past, I have to wonder whether that will change now Ron Dennis is not in charge.

    1. Pat says:

      Good Comment !

      I also don’t subscribe to the notion that Hamilton will slaughter Button – next year is all going to be about tyres and their preservation, not about raw tyre destroying pace – Button will be “Prostlike” I’m sure whilst I think Hamilton is going to have to change his style & learn quickly (maybe from a few early Button master classes)how to drive smoother without the tyre wrecking loose rear end he seems to love so much especially on the heavy fuel loads they’ll be carrying at the start of the races next year – Button’s style / skills could even buy him (negate the need for) a complete extra pit stop in some races.

      And what a great boost & motivational tool it will be for the “Kovalainen” side of the garage to also be working with a British Formula One World Drivers Champion – the internal team rivalry will be great to watch as well as the on track rivalry between Hamilton and Button – whilst all being aligned with the common goal of whooping the new “German-ish” team on the Grid’s butts :) Roll on 2010 :)

      (But never underestimate an Adrian Newey Designed Car)

      1. Andy says:

        Your all kidding yourselves, Lewis will crush Jenson on the track, Lewis is by far the more skilled racer, Jenson is a second rate F1 driver and lucked into the title with a car no-one could touch. It showed during the second half of the season he could not win anything, because other teams caught up and his advantage quashed, Lewis on the other hand can race and beat them in a bad car!!

      2. Pat says:

        If Lewis could race and beat him in “Bad” car then why didn’t he – he only started to get better results when McLaren made the car better.

  88. james says:

    if kimi leaves f1,f1 will no longer be the same.please sign with someone kimi

  89. Carl says:

    Hmmmmm, Button beaten by Hamilton over a season. Maybe, Hamilton is more versatile for sure and more agressive. This pairing would definitely be the Prost Senna era replayed that I grew up on but without the messy in-fighting and bickering.

    I’m more of a Button fan but do acknowledge Hamilton as the better racer, however, I think it would be far far closer than most people think.

    People are continually going on and on and on about how Rubens out qualified Jenson.

    Didn’t do him any good whatsoever.

    Button well outraced Rubens. And if overtaking is anything to go by Button cleaned the floor.

    Rubens had the chance to win his coveted home grand prix and yet Button probably overtook as many cars and made up as many places during that race as Rubens had in the whole season.

    Rubens had a couple of pole to wins, but didn’t show much else the rest of the time, except a bit of whinging.

    I always wanted Jenson to stay at Brawn, but right now I couldn’t think of a more exciting future than racing against one of the best in equal(ish) machinery.

    I hope mercedes don’t ruin the special atmosphere that we all saw at Brawn and the one that enabled (an albeit initially well funded but nonetheless) a veritable minnow of a team take two titles in their maiden year.

  90. Williams4Ever says:

    About the Supposedly New McLaren Driver Pair, they have contrast driving styles and as already mentioned here about the New Refuelling fan and Tire management skills requirement, who adapts better than the other.

    How will Jenson who likes understeer adapt to car that is design around oversteering driving preference of Lewis.

    Irony of fate will be Jenson doing Sato like spins/crashes. I remember Sato suffering silently with “Uninformed Crowds” Jeering on his spins, totally unaware that the then BAR car was always designed taking into mind Button’s liking for Understeer.

  91. S2K says:

    Button is, without doubt, the worst World Champion Formula One had after 1996 when Damon Hill won. He didn’t win one sigle race after Spanish GP this year and I doubt he would have won the championship with the old point-scoring system 10,6,4 etc.

    Anyway, Button’s move at McLaren means to me that he is taking it downhill, just like Hill took it over a decade ago.

    Doesn’t he know that Macca is in deep love with Hamilton? What makes he think that he will be treated differently than Alonso and Kovalainen were? He is British but he will still be “the other driver at McLaren” for as long as Hamilton will be there. And this is forever.

    Button needs a team that loves him and that is a full stop.

    Although I understand Merc’s option to hire to German drivers (one with Scandinavian blood), I don’t think is a good one. We have already seen the best of Heidfeld, while Rosberg could be “the next one” just like he could be a total failure. Only time will tell.

    As for Kimi… he would be a better bet at McLaren than Button because he is just good to play the lieutenant role that Berger, Coulthand and Barrichello played so well.

    1. Andy says:

      At last someone with some sense, Jenson lucked into the title with a car no-one could touch, when the others caught up, guess what, Jenson could not win a race, even with a faster car in abu dhabi he could not overtake webber in a badly handling car, Lewis would have done the job and made it stick..

    2. Keepitoffthepeg says:

      S2K
      During the Season all the top teams upped the ante, but Brawn admits work was stopped on on the Car in the season (Money?) to concentrate on Next years design.

      Looking at the performances when the first, so called, ‘Updates’ that Brawn installed to try and improve the car, they actually appeared to make the car worse.
      Was the original design one that they couldn’t improve on?

      So it was actually GREAT driving by Jenson and Rubens that produced results later on Not the Car.

      It was interesting that when Lewis Hamilton was interviewed, he said he couldn’t understand when the temperatures were high at the tracks, Brawn kept saying they couldn’t get temps in their tyres?

  92. Pete says:

    I think theres a to more to this than meets the eye. You have a driver who took a pay cut to secure the future of a team that had several unsuccesful buyout discussions pre season. Then the team organises a management buy out thats only possible with the help of mercedes engines. Fast forward end of the season team is now sold to merc and managers who orchestrated buy out get extremley rich, brawn to the tune of 35 million. I can understand why Button wants more money and i was honda i would be asking for some back!! brawn and fry have done something terrfic this season but lets not forget they are now both vey rich men, why not give jenson what he gave up and also the guys back at brackley who lost their jobs this year!!!

  93. Mark Gold says:

    Schumacher to make F1 return in a Mercedes?

    Schumacher has apparently quit (can you confirm) his advisory role with Ferrari. Maybe Heidfield is just a cover, and Michael could drive alongside Nico?

    Discuss…

  94. Daveyboy says:

    James

    Surely the biggest mistake Jenson made was last year in not taking an equity stake in the Brawn outfit in liew of such a big pay cut.

    You could therefore argue that Jenson and his management team aren’t really that switched on and it is more about the racing, hence why Maclaren seem so appealing.

    Anyhow, my main question is this debate about driving styles and car set ups. If Lewis is such an adaptable driver, would he prefer to have someone in his garage who he could compare a polar position to.

    So assume Jenson sets his car up differently, and is then quicker than Lewis, would this be more valuable to Lewis in understanding where the quick laps are.

    I would like to think that if you gave any top driver a car that is inherintly quick, they would not want to make it slower in order to suit their driving style!!

    They should have the ability to adjust the driving style, especially if its the difference between winning races or not.

  95. Matt says:

    James, can imagine German Schui at German Merc?

    I read your book about Schui and you said that Merc secretely tried to get him at Mclaren and paired again with Ross Brawn would be the dream team for all involved!

    1. James Allen says:

      Yes, except that it’s 10 years too late!

      1. Owen says:

        James, is there any chance Schuey could go to Mercedes GP as a consultant or is he completely tied up with Ferrari? He could be good influence on Rosberg.

  96. KeepitoffthePeg says:

    James
    Salaries quote;
    “But the teams aren’t looking to spend like that kind of money anymore.”

    How much is Ferrari paying Alonso?

  97. adrian says:

    For any real competitor it’s a no-brainer to go to Maclaren whether Maclaren is offering more or less money than Brawn. Obviously, Jenson believes that he is the best driver in F1, or at least better than Hamilton, and he wants the chance to show it. What media pundits and most of the posters here seem to fail to understand is that the competition is an end in itself – it is a fallacy that drivers are more concerned about their ‘reputations’ than actually going out and beating the best. If Button wanted a comfortable big pay cheque and guaranteed glory, he’d waltz off to Indy or something.

  98. C. Rodriguez says:

    Well, I had a good time reading everything here. Good to see all points of view. I will be brief with mine…..I have seen Button racing fiercely against Alonso in Utube and beat him ina great duel. I have seen this year, how this guy has overtaken cars with the accuracy worth of surgery. Button has never been able to get a championship winning car until this year…he got it, he won! It is well known that he used the same chassis all year long and that, from Turkey, Brawn switched the car development in to the BGP002 with will be the next year silver arrow. Button, had to push with an underdeveloped car and he delivered!.

    I personally think that Button’s move to McLaren will be the best move for him. Here are my points on why:

    1. He will get stability for 3 years
    2. McLaren, besides Ferrari has been the most successful team in history
    3. Hamilton’s skill will make him do his best and he won’t be crying like Alonso did in 2007 (Alonso had the chance of beating Lewis, but he was too agressive with the car, hurting the tires and suspensions, thus hampering the performance a couple of times…I cannot forget Sato overtaking him in a SA!). Button has proven to be a gentleman and mature enough to be the parfect team mate for Hamilton.
    4. The experience of Button will count when the races come by and we will see 2 great drivers fighting.
    5. Button has been very loyal to his former team and he absolutely deserves to get his sacrificed money back and a better contract.

    I am not too good at words but, I need to say that I predicted this years outcome stating that Brawn would be Champs and that Button would be the Driver. I have seen how McLaren has been using the this years races as “Testing Sessions” to develop parts for the next year’s car(parts that worked perfectly in raising the bar for the current car). I can foresee McLaren starting a new dynasty like the one they enjoyed in the Lauda/Senna/Prost era.

    We will see what happens next year…

  99. Roberto says:

    2+2 = 4. I don´t think Button is playing here, certainly the drivers should know for sometime what´s going on and hey were only a part on the chess game. Simple he Super Britshi team and the Super German team. The real only loser if everything goes according to rumors should be Kimi, but i think he´s money demands and he´s lack of commitment had made him undesirable for any top team, let´s face it if Ferrari dumps a World Champion a reason has to be there.

  100. Graham says:

    James,
    One of the interesting things in the whole Button McLaren Brawn/Mercedes saga is that whilst Mercedes have spoke about money for 2010 they have not discussed length of contract. McLaren, if the stories are true, have offered a 3 year deal. Personally I believe he would be better to take the longer McLaren deal – even if it was less per year as I get the distinct feeling that he would only be keeping the Mercedes seat warm for Vettel to arrive in 2011 – contracts as we have seen with the Ferrari/Kimi situation can be broken if there is a desire and you get the impression that Mercedes don’t want to repeat the experience of not having the best German in their car. Button is only 29 so you could expect him to reasonably have at least 5 years remaining so is there a piece about not so much this deal but the one after and I think the long game is where Button is pitching – at least if he gets in a McLaren now he has a good shot of finishing his career there as they have a history of holding on to their drivers.
    So back to the second seat at Mercedes – I think this could be Schumacher, whilst he is 41 next year I think there is a possibility of him coming back to Mercedes for one year until Vettel arrives in 2011. From a Schumacher perspective it would complete the circle going back to where he started with Mercedes, plus the Ross Brawn factor
    James, what do you think?

  101. Josh says:

    Good on you Jenson, you won the world championship under difficult circumstances. Unlike Damon in 1994-6 you didn’t really have just one single contender challenging you (the unforgiving Schumacher 94-95 and quick upstart Villeneuve 96′) but three (Barrichello – people forget how good he is, Webber – so underrated – blindingly fast, and young Vettel – a pain on any day!) And you beat them all.

    Hats off to Jenson. Hill, Mansell and Coulthard couldn’t have done a better job. As for Hamilton, I think he’ll answer that question next year when he takes him on as a Mclaren driver.

    Britain is proud of Jenson, he’s a true british racer, a deserved champion and one who will only get better and better. Here’s to 2010!

    And Jenson if you read this – don’t believe the “analysis” from all the papers, do your talking on the track like you did this year.

    And to the other staring columnists in this 100 point blog, show some respect to Jenson – he’s a real bloke with feelings!

  102. James B says:

    Jenson at McLaren a no lose situation ??

    If we asume that Jenson winning this years championship was a major unexpected bonus for him could a 3 year contract with McLaren be the perfect solution.

    Jenson knows that Mercedes main aim is to get Vettel on board and will expect them to make strong efforts to prise him away from Redbull and maybe his career at Brawn/Merc might be a short one.

    A decent salary that Jenson feels reflects his status coupled with a 3 year deal would appeal. What about Lewis?. Here is where I feel Jenson has nothing to lose. Many regard Lewsi as the out and out quickest guy out there. If jenson gets blown away by his teammate in many ways it will be expected and not a reflection on Jenson himself. If however jenson not onyl keeps Lewsi in sight but from time to time genuinely outpaces him, then this can only increase Jenson stock and reputation in F1.

    With a WDC in the bag, Jenson may just take the view that he can now relax, enjoy his sport and the earnings it provides and map out what he hopes will be a long career at the top end of the grid.

  103. David W says:

    Interesting comment earlier about a certain 41yr old. Will old colleagues be reunited – Ross and Schumi? Under a German constructor. The said 41yrs old could prepare and tune the car up for when Vettel joins in a couple of yrs. Would that not be a lovely surprise? Maybe the surprise Haug suggested…..

  104. rcw says:

    I hope Jenson doesn’t regret the move, Ross is one of the few people in F1 who can really deliver at the top, Adrian Newey being the other, IMHO.

    The tussle at McLaren should be great to watch though. Two drivers in the same team with equivalent machinery (lets hope) who can actually overtake should be fun. Roll on March.

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