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Brawn and Button – who needs who the most?
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Brawn and Button – who needs who the most?
Posted By: James Allen  |  26 Oct 2009   |  6:11 pm GMT  |  91 comments

There has been a lot of talk this week about Jenson Button’s contract talks with the Brawn team. Proving what an unsentimental business this is, the champagne soaked clothes are barely back from the dry cleaners and both sides are publicly playing hardball. It’s a question of who needs who the most.

The team have come through a lot together. It was really noticeable on the day the titles were clinched in Brazil that Ross Brawn’s first thoughts were for the employees he had been forced to let go when the team downsized from 700 to 450 in April.

Equally, Button was singing “We are the champions” over the radio on the slow down lap. Both are indications of the strength of team feeling, something Brawn has always known how to create from his days at Ferrari.

But in those days no-one, especially the media, could ever drive a wedge between star driver Michael Schumacher and the team. Here there is an obvious problem and Button’s side have used the press to leverage their position, with stories this week about Button having to pay for his own laundry and of course the infamous rumours about a McLaren dream team with Lewis Hamilton.

Schumacher would never have played that game, but then the Ferrari team would never have contemplated life without him. The same is clearly not true of Brawn and Button. He did a great job for them in the first half of the season, but made heavy weather of it second half and that isn’t the ideal platform from which to drive a hard bargain.

Ross Brawn said on Sunday that he was very confident a deal would be done with the new world champion, “We want Jenson to stay in the team and I think we will find a solution.

“Jenson has a contract with us, but of course that contract is not the salary of a world champion and not the salary of a team that is now in a much stronger position than it was ten months ago.

“We are working with Jenson to find a balance between what we can afford and what he feels is fair for his status and what he can contribute in the future.

“You are never 100% but I would say 99% [certain it will happen].”

Brawn makes the point that the difference between what Button’s contract says and what he is looking for is enough to make a significant difference to the performance of the car. It’s something of the order of £5 million.

This is all taking place against the backdrop of the Resource Restriction agreement kicking in, which is a mutual agreement between teams to keep costs under control. This was what the teams came up with instead of the budget cap.

It also comes at a time when Brawn has landed sponsors and is selling a 75% stake in the business to Mercedes. In two years time, if the deal goes through, it will become the official Mercedes works team and I would put serious money on them wanting Sebastian Vettel in the car in 2012.

Things are changing an there is even talk that the Mercedes management might base themselves at Brawn’s motorhome next season, rather than McLaren. Either way the team looks really well set for the future.

For that reason, Button really needs to stay with Brawn for the next two years, but you can’t blame him for trying to squeeze a better deal.

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"Firsties" ?

What you really mean is, "Hello world, I'm a pathetic loser who

believes that if he posts first on a web forum it means I've

accomplished something".


Sounds like someone's jealous...


i find myself really torn over this James - on the one hand i've always liked Jenson as a driver, and have an unmeasurably amount of respect for Ross Brawn and what the team has acheived from the ashes of Honda; yet on the other hand, i'm a Woking boy and the thought of Jenson and Lewis in McLarens next season... well lets just say it can make a grown man giddy!

i do hope Jenson can come to terms with Brawn, but if not i really hope he does end up with Lewis (though out of a former and a current F1 champion, who would be Number 1 in the team???)

Mike from Medellin, Colombia

Hmmm, I wonder....a driver who struggled to outperform Rubens or a a driver that outpeformed Alonso in his rookie season?

Jenson would have the No. 1 on his car. But like Luca De Montezemolo said - we can have two No.1s - No. 1a and No. 1b - JB would be No. 1b


It's crazy to suggest that Jenson needs Brawn, he doesn't need any team. He has already made more than enough money in his career to keep him insanely rich for the rest of his life.

He now has the world championship title so could quite easily leave F1 and live happily ever after.

Of course the hunger for more is still there and he is a good driver, so I can't see that scenario playing out. Button will certainly have more than one seat available to him next year. It comes down to who he can get the best deal from, and that doesn't just mean the money.

I think it's safe to say that Brawn would like to keep Jenson more than he needs them though.


I seem to remember Alonso singing "We Are The Champions" over the radio when Renault wrapped up the Constructors' title in 2005. Three months later, he signed for McLaren....

Furthermore, we know from the past that Button is unlikely to do anything purely out of loyalty to his team. If he can get himself a better deal elsewhere, he will take it. Trouble is that he might find himself pricing himself out of the market, as it looks like Raikkonen is doing at the moment.


Hi James. Again first rate insight to the situation. However with all the new investment and unity that is within the team going forward to next season.You still have to ask that with the head start on last years car and the disfuser issue along with the rate in which the other teams caught up. James what Im trying to ask is do you really believe that next season this team will be able to run at the same level, or even produce a race winning car. I have the greatest respect for Ross Brawn and his ability. But the big four are on the back foot and wont allow another season like we have just witnessed. Also James why really have Williams decided not run Toyota engines. I dont understand it. I have seen mentioned that Renault may provide engines for why. I cant understand what Renault would gain from this?? Cosworth is un-tested can Williams really afford another experimential year with an unproven engine?? Or do you think they have already signed an agreement with another manufacturer and are just letting the media run off. Thnaks James keep up the solid work.


I think there is a bigger picture with Williams, to do with Cosworth and the future.


Given Frank's just announced they'll be using Cosworth, is there anything you can let us in on or is it a case of wait and see?


I must confess, the combination of Williams, Cosworth, Rubens and potentially the only car on the grid with KERS is one I'm looking forward to. Almost as much as James writing up what he knows about them in the off-season!


I think that in the context of Button's pay cut, his loyalty to the team and his performance this year it would be unfair of Brawn to try and retain him for less than his original Honda salary.

James, once you start saying that the performance of next years package would be comprimsed by losing that amount (or whatever the difference actually is) I have to say that for JB, if he really wants the best car available to him he ought to perhaps consider this as an investment in his title defence.

It is hard (even as an ardent JB fan) to ignore the memories of the previous contractual issues he has had, but them I believed that he was trying to get himself into the best team for the future, which has now paid off.

Mike from Medellin, Colombia

Salary negotiations are not about fairness - they are about what the company, employee and the market can bear.

JB has few alternatives, Brawn has drivers lining up to chat with them, and driver salary trends are downwards.


I imagine you would have to spend a lot more than £5m on the car to deliver the increased season long performance that messrs alonso and hamilton can bring. That's why, in my view, it is worth spending on them as opposed to someone like button who can only deliver (but deliver exceptional speed nonetheless) in a perfect car.


I didn't say that performance would be compromised, merely that £5 million less spent on drivers is £5 million more to spend on the car..


I know what you mean James, but top drivers command top fees - when you consider what Alonso, Kimi and Hamilton command as a fee then is £8m for Jenson really that much? Can he be considered a top driver?

If you are rating the best of the best then you probably have Kimi, Alonso and Lewis, and maybe Massa, but then after them comes Jenson, Kubica, Webber, Rosberg, Ruebens and Vettel.

I dont know? I dont put Jenson in that top drawer, yet he has won a title which Massa hasnt?

What it does show is that we are blessed with talent.

Im really keen to see how Rosberg fares in a top car as its his time to prove himself. He has earned his right to have a go with the big guns, and id say Kubica is next to follow. I just fear that should Brawn take a step back then he might have missed his chance a la Webber (and up to now Jenson) with Renault.

Just on that do you have any idea how much Kubica and Rosberg are costing in comparison to Jenson?

Adam Baldock-Apps

I think Buttons position is more to do with driving the merc deal through - you want number one on the car next year norbert, then pony up some cash for the boy and pronto!


Interesting, I hadn't thought of it that way...I had (as I think had a lot of people) assumed that this was a battle between Jenson's people and BGP...when as you point out, it could be possible that Ross is being as cunning as ever and using the chance of seeing "1" on a rival's car to help get Merc on board...


I love your choose of phrase "heavy weather". I know that, as an F1 commentator and journalist of many years, those words were chosen with F1 history in mind.

And personally, if I were Button and I wanted to win again, I'd jump to McLaren. But also I don't think this prospect has seriously crossed his mind. It's a cheap bargaining ploy, and one which shouts of a lack of confidence...


James, Jenson doesn't have a great track record in driver negotiations with the Williams/Honda debacle an example of that.

He should be fairly remunerated, his success and contribution should be recognised, but as you say he must position himself for maximum results in the future, particularly in these uncertain times. Aside from Ferrari, Mercedes is probably the least likely manufacturer to turn away from F1 in the medium term.


Button needs Brawn. The team is built around him and we all know he wouldn't have won the title if he was in any other car than the Brawn this year.


To play the statistical game, there are two teams with vacancies likely to produce winning cars next year: Brawn and McLaren. Renault is an outside bet with Toyota and Williams remote possibilities.

There are, however, four theoretically unsigned drivers who are probable winners in the right machinery: Barrichello, Button, Raikkonen and Rosberg (all of whom have been speculatively connected to Brawn). Kovalainen and Trulli are the outside bets here.

We already have one supposedly smart cookie walking away from Brawn (and a prestigious motor manufacturer) to trail around with Manor, it would be absurd for another to do something similar. Sure, Button deserves a fair salary by F1 standards but, given the amount that has been written about his worthiness as a world champion, it would be utterly self-defeating to drive for a lesser team.


Out of interest, where would Brawn's pit be next year if they were not wearing numbers 1 & 2 courtesy of Button?


They would still be P1 because it depends on Constructors' Championship result


James, I don't know where in the world you are right now but the site's clock appears still to be on British Summer Time!


So what about McLaren then James, anything to the "talk" about McLaren picking up BWMs engine department and becoming a full blown independent unit??



Also worth pointing out is McLaren's forthcoming road car is powered by a small capacity, lightweight high revving V8 (albeit with turbochargers) developed completely in house.


See thats what has got me thinking. if they can build a engine as is then why bother buying the entire BMW engine section, just employ the staff from BMW, would be a hell of alot cheaper.

As for a independent McL, its about time. Its clear Merc are going to Brawn, they missed out this year on a 3pointed star on front of the BGP01, they wont let that slip for 2010.


They are certainly active and Ron Dennis is central to it


Now that would be interesting to read...


I've been in touch with McLaren Road Cars about purchasing the new MP4-12C; this car is the first in a line of new McLaren road cars that is headed by our old friend Ron Dennis.

They are making a big fuss about it being a pure McLaren - including a brand new McLaren engine. The car will compete directly with the new Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG.

This, to me, is a clear indication of McLaren's intent - be an independent car & engine make, which will not have gone down well with Mercedes and is probably the reason for them going their separate ways.

I guess the BMW engines would be appealing to McLaren as it gives them an excellent shortcut to a proven F1 engine.

Wouldn't surprise me to see McLaren & Mercedes split well before the end of their current agreement, which expires at end 2010 I think.


Wow, although I did think this acquisition was a smart move by Mclaren as the BMW engine is a quality motor, I seem to remember Whitmarsh quashing these rumours and retaining their commitment to Mercedes. But this is an interesting move...


Well, Whitmarsh said specifically that McLaren wasn't "purchasing BMW's engines," not that they weren't purchasing "BMW's engine department" or "purchasing BMW's engine IP."


I just think that Jenson wants to be careful. Damon Hill didn't leap at a new contract with Williams and ended up pottering around at the back of the field in a crappy arrows/yamaha.


I bet Mercedes would like a certain German with a burning desire to race again under the guidence of his old chum Ross....


One can only dream!


I'd love to see Jenson at McLaren next year fighting with Lewis, but I can't help but think Lewis will would quite comfortably come out on top. Jenson is good, but he's not the best driver on the grid. It wouldn't surprise me if Brawn don't accept his demands and take someone else in his place. You would have thought that with sponsorship deals coming his way now he is crowned the world champ, he doesn't need the extra 5 million he is asking for. I'd do it for free!


Agreed that Button needs Brawn the most. He's undisputed number one in the team. Even if Kimi moved there he would still be seen as number one. Over to McLaren and the Hamilton camp will try to make sure that is not the case. Having said that I doubt if is of any interest to keep having drivers that do not push LH. Very interesting times and quite disappointing that the driver market really didn't evolve much after FA move to Ferrari. Sure, there is lot of uncertainty but no real exciting names to play with. Just the same old faces. What happened to all the new talent? Or is there none?


Interesting to make the comparison between Button and Schumacher. I wonder if Jenson is being paid more than Michael was during the Benetton years? I wonder who had more input to the teams success?

Also conversely what mattered more to MS. A competative car for the following year or the trappings of success?


Hi James

i have been a JB fan since 2001, he is a fab driver, smooth, looks after his car, loyal 2 his team & a typical English gentleman. Yes he has passion for driving an F1 car & he has proved he will drive for less money. If it was me i'd get rid of his manager.
No one has mentioned that most of JBs negotiations will be done by or influenced by his manager who prob gets a decent cut of JBs earnings. Obviously he's not earning as much as JB.
Also JB was correct when he tried 2 get out of his Williams contract. They have been nowhere near as gd as Honda & he prob wouldn't have got his drive with Brawn. Nico Rosberg has driven a very average F1 car very well but i don't understand why the whingy whiney Barrichelo is moving there if the rumours are true.
I would ask F1 fans to give JB a chance, when the car was gd so was he remember that, as sn as the car had problems & RB had a paddy he wasn't a team player. JB has never been like that!!! JB IS THE WDC SO ACCEPT A BRIT WON & be more supportive.
Wrote a lot as very upset with British fans, what more does an athlete have 2 do to be appreciated!
Aluap -:)


You must be joking... loyal to his team?? Did you forget Buttongate? He's loyal cause he won and thinks Brawn will have a good car next yr.


Yes, he's so disloyal that over the winter he jumped to another team just to save his career and a couple of years ago when Honda were producing rubbish cars he took the first offer that came his way to get into a better car..., wait, hang on that's not what happened is it?

Okay, so he handled the Williams/BAR contract situation beddly, but how much of that was down to his management? As I understand it he changed management team after that (maybe he should get on board with Brundle's team though, I don't remember DC having any of these problems!!). And Williams didn't come out of it too badly when they got their engines paid for in return for letting JB go...


I feel that Brawn and Jenson need each other. Getting rid of Jenson and starting next season with two new drivers is damn risky and could cost Brawn a lot more than the extra few million quid required to tie him down to a new contract. Plus, i feel the new Fuel regulations will play to jensons strengths. He is a safe pair of hands.

Jenson needs Brawn because they are a top team with good people, great facilities and kick ass mercedes engines. He could get those three things plus a bigger salary at mclaren, but he would have his ass handed to him by Lewis. Not a good look for a reining world champion.


Just ask Alonso..!!


Damon almost won a race though, don't think Jensom is same calibre.x.


I think it make some sense for FW to purchase it outright, do a badging deal with a pretige name or a up and coming car maker, would make a nice profit center given the number of supply deals in the pocket already. Would compliment nicely with thei flywheel kers system too.


Let's be honest, both Rubens and Jens put Ross Brawn through the wringer this year and they very nearly didn't get there ... We can't blame him for taking a long look at all the options.

James, do you think Kimi is a serious option? Personally I'd like to see him at McLaren but surely this would be a phenomenal combination: KR, a fast car, and Ross Brawn. Rosberg would be an ideal teammate also imo.

The E50m wage bill? Maybe that nice Mr Virgin could be touched up for a good portion thereof.


Jenson needs to be careful. What has become obvious this year is that just about any driver on the grid is a potential champion. It's more about the aero and the tires, the engine and the team.


Hi James,

I'm a longtime reader of your blog and love coming here for F1 insight. I do have to tell you that the profile picture of Button is horrible on the banner! Please change it.


James, do you have any insight on how that bigger picture at Williams may look?

I think Jenson should take Brawn's offer and enjoy it, as he isn't going to find a better offer elsewhere, and proved that it most definitely wasn't all him this year. If Brawn run out of patience and get someone else to partner Rosberg then he will only have himself to blame.


You write as if the sale to Mercedes is a done deal James - is that the case?


If Brawn want value for money, they should sign Kobayashi. It would only cost the price of raw meat.....(because he's wild okay, nothing derogatory).

Seriously though, no one's been writing about Kamui since his fast and furious debut.

Quick from the get go, impressively competitive and incredibly dangerous...just ask Nakajima...have heard nothing about that incident....penalties/fines etc.

If you were allowed to drive like that,Webber would be the champ.

..sorry if I was off topic but it seems like the F1 media have been too busy with JB and Abu Dhabi.


The media were so busy with Button they barely mentioned Webber winning the race so I'm not surprised Kobayashi didn't get much of a look-in either 🙂 Actually, if anything he got more attention than Webber because of his battle with Button.


Well Webber won but not in any memorable way. Kobayashi is what I remember from Brasil, really. A rookie that actually impressed me this year, as opposed to quite a few others.


Definately Button needs Brawn more than viceversa.

Brawns this year would have won the Constructor and Drivers Championship without Jenson, no doubt about that.

Jenson was in the right car at the right time.

Now, Brawn should have a very good car for next year but, if rumours are right, McLarten should have a very good car too.

Will McLaren have the ability to keep up with Brawns now that Mercedes is backing Ross team?

I think in the next 2 years Jenson will have more joy on the Brawns for a number of reasons

Mercedes backing, probably the best engine on the grid right now

Ross Brawn is a winner and capable to win for years on end, did it at Ferrari.

Easy partnership with the team and the other side of the garage for this season.

On another note I can see Lewis joining Brawn and having 2 Brits on the Brawn in 2012, Mercedes will love him as a marketing tool.

What do you think James about this idea?


I don't think the McLaren deal is realistic, how would the PR department explain away Lewis Hamilton being effectively a #2 in what is widely regarded as his team? Clearly Jenson would bring in the #1 onto the silver car for another season but surely in the global sense Hamilton is much more well known and marketable then Jenson? I know drivers relish a challenge but I have a niggling feeling Jenson wouldn't want to go up against Lewis in equal machinery. If Lewis was to dominate him Jenson's confidence would take a hammering.

If Jenson stays at Brawn next year how do you feel he would fare without the car development input from Rubens? Jenson has made no secret Rubens really helped push the car forwards..

Finally isn't McLaren's car design ethos all about having a sharp strong corner entry turn in? (ie very heavily focused on front end grip?). This would possibly be a nightmare for Jenson given his preference for cars to run almost on rails. Lewis we know is an oversteer monster and I think McLaren would struggle to develop the car to suit both drivers. Any ideas on the difference and preferences between both drivers?

I think realistically we'll see Brawn retain Jenson and sign Rosberg. At McLaren I see Heidfeld or Glock, I think Kimi's missed the boat.


Play hardball Jense but don't go overboard. Stay with Brawn and maybe ina couple of years it will be the top team.


GBP5m would certainly make Jenson Button the cheapest world champion of recent years.

James, where would that rank him in the drivers salries standings?


Raikkonen is top paid, then Alonso, then Hamilton. Button would be alongside Massa and Kubica, is my guess.


I wonder if there has ever been a comparison of driver's pay per championship point per season?

I'm a Kimi supporter, but even I think he isn't worth $25 million based on last year and this year's form.

I remember an anecdote about Ayrton Senna asking Ron Dennis for 1 million USD per race (in 1993?), but has there ever been a driver on a fixed salary with a variable portion depending on the number of points scored, and a hefty bonus if he won a title?


You are right about Piquet Snr and in signing for Arrows, Damon Hill turned down a similar deal from Mclaren because it wasn't fitting his status as new world champion. We all know what happened ay Mclaren for 98/99 while Hill went to Jordan, who admittedly were on the upswing, but a very good middle-order team. His one win at Spa in '98 could have been many, many more.

Mike from Medellin, Colombia

I believe that Nelson Piquet Sr was on this type of deal in his final years at Benneton


Yes. Lewis Hamilton in his first season.

I can't remember the details but every point he scored was worth an additional £X,000. I think X was 7, but not sure. Read it on ITV-F1 I think.

I wouldn't be surprised if most drivers are not on performance related bonuses. Its an obvious motivator alongside the championship standings.


Not sure if points per pound would be a particularly telling statistic - if your driver wins the championship by 1 point then that 1 point might be worth the extra millions he was paid compared to the guy who came second.



This "resource restriction" is coming accross as a bit of a myth. Have you any details on it at all?


It's no myth, it's in place and legally binding. I'll be doing some writing on this after the season finishes


I am a big JB fan, but he isn't bigger than the team.

It seems likely that Rsoberg will be at Brawn and he will have no problem in getting the best from the car. Who else could Brawn pick up to replace JB, I'd personally tip Anthony Davidson to be a rejuvinated choice.

Button would do well if he could do an MS to the Toyota Team.

It's a bit of a gamble - especially with Toyota debating whether or not to pull out of F1, but if he could focus the team, he'd have a real powerhouse of engineering behind him and it could very well be mutually beneficial.


How many years when Button was with Honda, did he complain about not having a championship winning car, but he had lots of $$.

Now that he has another chance in a championship car, he complains about money!

I think Ross and the team realize that the car won the title, not Button, as Jenson and Rubens were both in contention. Its not like he won the title in a terrible under-performing car.

I think Button (and his manager) should understand that a chance at another title, and the opportunity to work with RB, is worth more than pure money!

Maybe have a few words with Alonso & Hamilton for advice, as im sure they would trade money for the glory of winning another championship!

If he goes to another team, his title days are over!


Interesting point, James

I think that Jenson needs much more the Brawn team than the other way around. Jenson is a capable midfield driver who was fortunate enough to be in the right place at the right time. But who can forget all the previous years and his contribution to the sport? Who can forget his track record during the second half of the year where he did not have the car advantage. If I read between the lines he is getting a raise, so he is being thanked for his contribution this year. His "sacrifice" to have a lower wage this year got him the drive, without it he would probably be in Nascar or some other lesser category. Being a champion should be compensation enough. Asking the price that he could get 2 years ago when each team was spending like hell, strikes me as not seeing the reality. This is not the time to play hard ball or play tricks by naming other teams so that he can get a higher price. He should see sense soon, before he finds himself in Toyota and motorsport oblivion.

Brawn on the other hand is strong in organisation, vision and team building. For him the drivers are probably one piece of the winning puzzle and not the key one. So if he can get Nico (who is a rising star) and a consistent second driver (such as Heidfield) he could really make a Mercedes team and use the resources saved plus the ones gained by Mercedes to continue building on his team, which right now can not sustain its champion position.


I think Brawn will need Button as Much as Button will need Brawn next year.

Ross Brawn will be only too aware that there is no better driver in Formula One that can look after tyres better than our Jenson - probably to the level of Prost - and that alone will give the Strategists at Brawn a whole lot more options on race days next year than with a driver who HAS to stop because he`s chewed his rears to pieces - next year it`ll be a balance of time in the pits versus time that can be made up on new rubber - the permatations for a SMOOTH driver will be huge and Ross Brawn - with all his experience of no-re-fueling knows that only too well !

With teams spending hundreds of thousands of pounds to find a tenth, 10 seconds in the bag `cos you ain`t gonna stop for fresh rubber has got to be worth a mint ! 😉 or maybe £5 million a year 🙂


give me a break. anymore attitude out of jenson and he will be shown the door just like Damon Hill, who also looked after tyres and qualified well! Ask him how it felt driving for arrows while Villeneuve was winning the championship.


Good point, that factor could really play into Jenson's hands next year.


If Brawn's 2009 had been a "normal" year, then I think a good case could be made that Button's request for more money would be ill advised. But Brawn's 2009 is coloured to a huge degree by their parlous financial state. Button's reduced 2009 salary was needed and he accepted it, but it does seem right to me, now that funds are dropping into Brawn's coffers, that an increase for 2010 would be fair.

Ross Brawn has said as much and there has to be an amount that reflects Buttons position as WDC without drawing funds away from car development. It seems highly likely to me that both Brawn and Button will benefit greatly from renewing contracts and that is what I trust we will all see soon.


i believe that Jenson will stay put, however i am interested in the new teams. Would love to see the ginger Ant driving for lotus, any news or gossip on the new team James.


Sorry James I must have misunderstood what you wrote. I suppose my question should have been "do JB and BrawnGP feel that he will bring £5million worth of performance over a season.

With resource restriction that is a tough call. I still think he is worth it though.



I'm interested in Norbert Haug's position/influence on the possible Brawn switch... as Head of Mercedes Benz Motorsport surely he has quite a large say in the direction of the companies motorsport activities. Do you think he's leaning more towards staying with McLaren or starting a new relationship with Ross Brawn?

He's always seemed like a good fit with McLaren... part of the team. If he is getting messages from the board advising to jump to Brawn do you think he would protest this or see the same opportunities they seem to be seeing?

And is the wait on Jenson's contract part of this too? Are Mercedes as keen on JB as Ross Brawn is? I understand their want for a German driver in one of 'their' cars, but do they see more potential WDC's from JB or do they think he's a one-off? If they are to make a Mercedes works team out of Brawn then I see a Rosberg - Vettel line-up being a very good combination... Of course I'd want the best for JB though... So a Button Rosberg line-up is in my eyes just as good..


Haug is a very important figure in the Mercedes set up and he has a view of the bigger picture of where F1 is heading. He's excited by the prospect of teams being able to compete in F1 for a third of what it used to cost, or even less. He and his board see this as the right moment and the right opportunity to control their own team.


doesn't the restriction on spending ignore salaries of drivers>?


remember Damon Hill anyone? dont try and push around F. Williams or R. Brawn. At the end of the day it's the car. Rubens almost upset the apple cart and I am sure Brawn feels that Rosberg could have and will do the same job on a cheaper retainer. Jenson is world champion but he's kidding himself if he thinks he will win this war.


Cheaper retainer ? Williams were paying Rosberg 8.5m last year - don't suppose he's moved for less 😉


So if Button as WDC agrees to sign for £8m he'll be paid less than Rosberg? maybe that's the real reason for the contract talks stalling. Or could it be that Rosberg will take a reduction in order to get his hands on the 'winning' car he keeps referring to?


I wouldn't call it war, it's just mind games and's just Formula 1 🙂


all my comments are awaiting moderation!!

I think there could be an issue with your website.

I am only able to view the latest post if I use the address


without the + your article on Brawn and Button is not published.

Could just be me.



I believe the salaries of drivers are out of control, at the end of the day no one remembers how much money drivers made from f1 but what they contributed to f1.

Button should except the drive with Brawn as it's his best chance to defending his title. It's also his best chance of staying on top of his team mate, as it will probably take Rosberg half the season to get on top of the car and team next season. Lewis has the power and the speed within Mclaren.

Mike from Medellin, Colombia

James - thanks for this very honest assessment. The general British media are making out Brawn to be the heartless villains in this story. Whatever they end up paying JB over their initial offer will be to avoid negative PR.

What are Brawn's objectives at the end of the day? To be at the front and to sell space on their cars at the highest price. Let's face it...after many years of average performance Button is not hugely marketable...or certainly not as marketable as a fresh faced Vettel.

Brawn's biggest backers is Mercedes Benz - it is logical that they would prefer to spend the salary budget on a German driver.

The technical rules are clearer next year and we should see a more even playing field and it is unclear as to how competitive Brawn will be. With the engine freeze Mercedes have in a way hedge their bets by backing McLaren and Brawn until 2011. Regardless of Brawn's performance McLaren should come back strongly after pouring resources into their 2010 car. Brawn will want to pump in more money into R&D and personnel to ensure their competitiveness at the front. They must surely feel that money is better spent in these areas as opposed to Button's salary. They can then go on a spending spree for the driver that they really want in 2011 - Vettel.

Have Brawn signed another driver to replace Rubens yet? How will Button's salary affect this decision?

Mike from Medellin, Colombia

A separate question for you James. Currently, in all truth, how involved is Ron with McLaren's F1 effort?

Ron does not seem like a hands-off type of character that is happy to just concentrate on putting together anonymous looking road cars.

Now that Mosley has gone could we expect to see the shadow of the Ronster return?


Well now you mention it, I suspect that we might see Ron back in an F1 paddock this weekend. Now that Mosley has gone and with some big negotiations going on with Mercedes, I've heard a whisper that he might be there. After all he was not given any kind of FIA ban, of the kind which keeps Briatore at bay.


It's simple, Jenson needs Brawn more.

The drivers want the best car\team that they can get into. Ross's history proves he's a winner and whatever he touches turns gold, thus drivers are lining up to drive for Brawn.

Stay where you are Jenson... and don't haggle too much, you already earn a huge, huge salary compared to the rest of us (and oh dear, he's had to pay for his own flights - pass me a hankie to wipe my tears away!); what would make you more happy, earning mega-bucks (when you already have big-bucks) or being in contention for another drivers title?

The F1 history books don't look at salaries, they look at who won what.

Moving to Macca would be a huge mistake. Lewis is bedded in there, he has strong relations with his crew and management; whoever drives at Macca will struggle. I'm not saying Macca favour Lewis, more that Lewis has learned from Schumi how to get people on his side.

Similarly Jenson currently has people on his side at Brawn. Haggling for a bigger salary, will only antagonise people... keep your cool, enjoy the No1 status - you've worked hard to get there. Don't spoil it by being petulant!


James, Is Jenson being badly advised again? I have to say that I don't buy daily papers, so I have not read any of the comments that you have written in this blog, probably because of my distrust of the national press. We know that he took a large pay cut, but surely a bit of common sense is now required on both sides. This argument appears to be more about the status (WDC) Jenson now has and the 'Market Value' of a WDC rather than a drivers need to earn a living. Looking down the pit lane Jenson's options appear limited, if he wants a good car next year, he will need Brawn or McLaren and possibly one other team, and if he chooses to follow the money he will have a few more options. I hope he (JB) does not fall into the trap of 2004 and overules his advisors. Sometimes these guys can't see a good thing!


As a Button fan since his BAR days, I know who need whom more--Button needs Brawn.

Button must have a decent car that works for his silky smooth driving style. Save for 2004, BAR and Honda couldn't provide him such a car. With 2009 though, Button was paid in spades with the perfect car to suit him. Button needs to stay in a car of the same caliber, or he will stumble down the grid back into obscurity.


Time for Ross Brawn to get the cheque book out and give Jenson the contract he deserves. £8-£10 million a year should do it, plus a Braun Shaver.

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