According to reports, Jenson Button has begun negotiations to renew his contract with Honda.
Button faces tough decisions as to whether to stay loyal to Honda, or to defect to a rival team. Jenson has been with Honda for the past five years, and the team have repaid his loyalty both with financial remuneration and legal assistance Williams claimed Button was contracted to them.
The stumbling block is Honda’s success or lack thereof. Once hailed as the golden boy of British motor sport, he has just one victory to his name after 140 race starts. This is in stark contrast to Lewis Hamilton who has won five races out of 23 starts and is now considered to be Britain s top driver.
Negotiations around Button s contract are likely to question how competitive Honda will be in coming years, and without solid evidence, Button could look elsewhere. It is believed that David Coulthard may soon hang up his racing boots, which could open an opportunity for Button to join Red Bull Racing (assuming fellow Brit Davidson doesn’t get there first). BMW may also be on the look-out for a driver of Button s skill and experience, and with rumours over the future of Felipe Massa, there could even be a spare seat at Ferrari.
According to the British newspaper The Times, a source close to Honda said that finances are not the main concern facing contract renegotiations. “Money is not an issue in these negotiations. Jenson knows what he is worth, but he would take a pay cut to drive a winning car, like the one Kimi Raikkonen has at the moment, no question.â€
Honda look keen to retain their top driver, and both Ross Brawn and Nick Fry are confident that they can produce a winning car in the next two years. “We are investing huge amounts in our factory, in our manpower and our resources, all geared to have a World Championship-winning driver,â€ Fry explained. “Jenson has seen what we are doing and he is very impressed and excited by it.â€
But will the talk be enough to convince the 28-year old Brit, still keen to win a World Drivers’ Championship, to stay, or will he be swayed by the relative successes of another team?