Jenson Button: Is He Right To Hold Out For a Bigger Brawn Deal?
Jenson Button was staring into the Formula One abyss at the beginning of the season. His team, Honda Racing, had been put up for sale, and at one point the British driver faced the very real threat of not having a drive for 2009.
Thankfully a management buyout of Honda Racing by team principal Ross Brawn gave both Button and Rubens Barrichello a car for the season, but in doing so Button had to take a huge wage cut.
Now of course, Jenson is four races away from being crowned World Champion after an excellent season at the wheel of one of the two Brawn GP cars.
Button believes his efforts this term have more than justified negotiations for a lucrative new deal, with the aim of increasing his reported current pay packet of three million pounds to at least eight million.
At the moment discussions are ongoing between Button and Brawn GP, with the English-based team's recent pay offer to Jenson being labelled as 'derisory' by the 29-year-old's representatives.
This however begs the question, is Button right to hold Brawn to ransom?
Obviously if he wins the World Championship he should be paid well for bestowing that honour upon the team, after all, the previous two World Champions, Lewis Hamilton and Kimi Raikkonen, earn substantially more than Jenson and, while their teams have bigger operating budgets, Jenson should still be rewarded for his efforts.
However, Button must play it carefully. There are so many drivers fighting for a place on the 2010 Formula One grid, and with so few drives available, Ross Brawn could easily make a move for another driver of equal talent to Button, like Nico Rosberg or Robert Kubica, who have both proved they can be competitive when given the right car.
Even if he wins the World Championship, Button may find a move to a bigger team than Brawn impossible. Ferrari and McLaren are likely to stick with the drivers they have, or look elsewhere, and Red Bull have announced their drivers for next year.
Meanwhile he is likely to view a move to either Williams, Force India, Torro Rosso or any of the new teams as a step down, leaving Renault and Toyota as the only available options, though they too are likely to overlook the Brit.
Button is a great driver, of that there is no doubt, but he must try and keep his feet on the ground if he wishes to be competing in Formula One next year to defend his potential World Championship.
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