[Update is below with comments from Ross Brawn.]
The Daily Mail is reporting that Brawn GP is more than likely going to match the salary demands of Jenson Button. This, after rumors of a possible move to McLaren, has been suggested by Button’s manager Richard Goddard.
Apparently Button is asking for Â£8m and one has to assume that while it is a tidy sum; Button to a hefty pay cut and paid for some of his own travel expenses this year to keep the team afloat. So it comes with some understanding when Goddard was quoted as saying, â€˜We were led to believe that if Brawn were successful, then Jenson would be as well,â€™.
Brawn GP’s finances are something of an enigma if you ask me. They were rumored to running ona shoestring budget and then it was suggested that Honda had put some serious cash upfront to see the team through the 2009 season. Then Virgin came in with sponsorship but that was soon accused of being very little money. Just a few months ago, team boss Nick Fry told the press that they had secured some serious sponsorship deals that would fund the team for the next three years but the car was never re-branded nor were there changes tot he name (i.e. Vodafone McLaren Merces). Now rumors are rampant that Mercedes is seeking a serious investment position in the team if not to take control of the team altogether as the McLaren partnership sours milk in the sun.
So which is it? Poor as church mice or kings of cash coming off a world title year? It is a bad economy and one can forgive Brawn GP for being prudent with their cash but in the end game; Button really has no choice but to demand what he wants as he may never be in a better position to do so.
If I’m honest? If money is tight, I’d let Button walk and take Nico Rosberg as well as pick up Bruno Senna and his Brazilian sponsor money that is rumored to be dripping from his pockets. Nothing against our man Button but he is not Alonso, Hamilton, Vettel or Kimi.
The BBC is reporting today that Ross Brawn is 99% sure Button will return to the team.
Here are the salient bits:
“We’re working to find a balance between what we can afford and what Jenson feels is fair for his status and contribution,” said Brawn.
“You are never 100% sure but I would say 99%”.
Brawn said: “For those teams out there without full their complement of drivers, he has got to be a target.
“We want Jenson to stay 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’s now in a much stronger position than it was 10 months ago.”
Brawn also said that his team has set a target of two weeks after the final grand prix of the season – in Abu Dhabi on 1 November – to reach a deal with Button.
“It’s finding the middle ground between what we can afford compared to all the things we need to do with the team,” he stated.
“We have a finite amount of resources and we have to look at the best way of spending that.”