AUGUST 9, 2004
Why dumping Button is not smart
BAR team bosses may want to drop Jenson Button for the rest of the year because of his decision to move to BMW Williams next year but this is not going to achieve a great deal. Anthony Davidson, the most likely replacement for Button, has not raced single-seaters for a couple of years and is unlikely to be able to score with the same kind of frequency as Button has done. And BAR needs points to maintain its position in the Constructors' Championship because the difference between its current third place in the series and fourth or fifth places is a considerable amount of money, much more than is involved with any dispute over whether Button stays or goes. The team currently has 76 points. Renault is only nine points ahead but more worryingly behind BAR are Williams and McLaren with 47 and 37 points respectively. Both are showing signs of improvement and so BAR needs to keep an eye on the situation, in the light of the fact that Button has scored 61 of the team's 76 points this year. Takuma Sato has scored just 15. If Button is taken out of the equation the scoring potential of BAR will be reduced considerably, unless Sato can step up and deliver the goods.
The best solution would obviously be to accept what has happened and try to maintain as good a relationship as possible with Button until the end of the year.
BAR however seems to want to get involved in legal action, which is all very well but, as Frank Williams pointed out, the important thing is that Jenson "wants and expects to be at BMW Williams next year". Even if BAR wins the case the relationship with Button is never going to be as good as it was.
The other reason that the team will not drop Button is that it would prejudice any case that might be brought.
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