OCTOBER 5, 2009
Button and money
Jenson Button and Brawn GP are continuing their discussions about money but it is not expected that there will be any change in the relationship in 2010, when Button is expected to be joined by Mercedes-Benz nominee Nico Rosberg.
The delay in confirming the deal is based on talks over money as Button wants to be rewarded for his achievements this year and for his loyalty to the team, having agreed to a salary cut to help the team survive over the winter. Things have changed fairly dramatically since then in terms of the world economy and the value of drivers has plummeted because the number of good seats in F1 is a limited commodity and a driver must take what he can get if he wants a competitive car.
The word is that Brawn is only offering $8m as a basic salary, while the stars in F1 these days have been used to numbers in the $30m range in recent years. The reality is that those days are gone and drivers must accept what they can get. This is fine when one has a dominant car but, when that changes, teams may find themselves struggling to get the best when times are hard.
Williams went through a series of years when the team ditched World Champions because they wanted too much money. Now Williams needs top drivers but cannot get them because the cars are not quite competitive enough. The skill is to get the whole package with everyone happy.
The reality is that there will be a settlement between Brawn and Button, probably with bonus schemes that work for both sides.