Honda F1 website

JULY 28, 2005

Button has a problem - a contract

Jenson Button has a problem. He can get out of his BAR contract because the team's performance this year has been such that the contract has been automatically terminated but Button's problem is that while he would like to negotiate a new deal to stay where he is, he is contracted to go to Williams.

Ironically, a year ago the situation was the reverse with Button stuck at BAR and desperate to join Williams.

Button thinks that BAR-Honda is a better bet for success than is Williams and on the face of it, that seems like a sensible attitude but that being the case he should not have agreed to the option that Williams has on his services for which he may even have been paid over the years.

Button got his first chance in F1 with Williams back in 2000 and was only dropped by the team because it had contractual obligations with Juan Pablo Montoya and Ralf Schumacher in 2001. Jenson thus went to Benetton but with a Williams option in the background.

The problem that Jenson now faces is that if he chooses to break his Williams contract he will need a settlement before he can race anywhere else and Frank Williams will certainly set the bar extremely high as his team needs Jenson more than anything else at the moment because the Englishman's presence will buy the team time to get itself sorted out. Button's presence does not guarantee good press but it is a good step in that direction.

Williams says that there is no way that he is selling Button but there will come a point, if the numbers get big enough, that Button's presence will become surplus to requirements. The question is how much Honda is willing to pay.