Brawn ‘99%’ sure Button will stay

Brawn GP team principal Ross Brawn has said he is 99% sure that world champion Jenson Button will stay with the team.

In the last few days urgent negotiations over terms have been going on between the team and Button’s manager Simon Goddard, but Brawn said his team were confident of retaining Button.

“We’re working to find a balance between what we can afford and what Jenson feels is fair for his status and contribution,” Brawn told the BBC.

“You are never 100% sure but I would say 99%”.

“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.”

Button’s management has made it clear that he will go to other teams if his salary demands – thought to be in the region of €9m – are not met. Toyota and McLaren, still with seats available, are well able to pay Button highly.

Even if Brawn were to pay their star driver what he wants, he would still be the worst-paid world champion on the grid. Lewis Hamilton, Fernando Alonso and Kimi Raikkonen are all on much higher salaries, with the caveat that Raikkonen’s plans for next year are yet to be confirmed.