The Reuters global sports blog
Jenson Button’s eye-catching visit to McLaren on Friday is of obvious benefit to both parties, whatever the reality behind the headlines.
If a deal is done, the new Formula One champion gets the bigger salary that Brawn are reluctant or unable to pay as well as a potentially winning car for next season.
McLaren would get a line-up of champions that will appeal to global sponsors like Vodafone and show that they remain, along with Ferrari, a big hitting team that can always pull in the top talent.
At the very least, Button is able to send a clear message to Brawn that he has other, viable and possibly more lucrative, options and that they cannot assume he will just stay out of loyalty.
Jenson Button defied his critics and made a boyhood dream come true on Sunday as Britain’s 10th Formula One world champion.
Written off by some in recent years as an overpaid one-hit wonder with playboy tastes, the Briton capped an extraordinary season with a title that ranks as one of the sport’s most astonishing turnarounds.
If Bernie Ecclestone had got his way before the start of the season, Jenson Button might have been crowned Formula One champion in Singapore on Sunday.
The commercial supremo’s plan for the championship to be decided by an Olympic-style medals system, with the title going to the driver taking most golds, would have left Brawn’s Button out of reach.
After all the fuss we now have a verdict — the controversial diffusers on the Brawn GP, Toyota and Williams cars are legal.
“Based on the arguments heard and evidence before it, the Court has concluded that the Stewards were correct to find that the cars in question comply with the applicable regulations,”
the governing FIA said in a statement.
Brawn GP’s one-two win on their debut in the Australian Grand Prix may turn out to be the feelgood moment of the Formula One year (although maybe not for those locked in the great Melbourne diffuser debate).
Race winner Jenson Button and Rubens Barrichello were the happiest drivers in the paddock by a very long way on Sunday night and even team owner Ross Brawn seemed momentarily overcome.
This week’s Australian Grand Prix diffuser controversy was more of a confuser for the casual spectator, even if it was a classic of its kind.
Never mind the talk of air flow and aerodynamic interpretations. The bottom line is that it may be weeks before we know for certain who won Sunday’s Formula One season-opener.
The Brawn GP, Toyota and Williams Formula One teams have been cleared by stewards to race in Sunday’s season-opening Australian Grand Prix after protests by three rival teams over the design of their rear diffusers were rejected.
Red Bull, Renault and Ferrari had lodged protests on grounds the rivals’ cars did not comply with technical regulations. The three will appeal the protest’s rejection.
If that all seems topsy-turvy, it’s nothing compared to what’s been going on at Barcelona’s Circuit de Catalunya this week.
The last big pre-season test involving all the teams before the first race in Australia on March 29 has turned the world on its head for Britain’s two drivers and forced a hasty re-assessment of their prospects.
Jenson Button, who last year trundled around in an under-powered Honda that should have been put out of its misery long before it got anywhere near a track, was as bright-eyed as I’ve seen him since he won in Budapest three years ago after his new Brawn turned out to be quite an eye-opener.
The Briton completed an impressive 130 laps on Wednesday, lapping comfortably a second faster than anyone else. On Thursday, his Brazilian team mate Rubens Barrichello went even quicker.
Not bad for two supposed has-beens whose F1 careers looked as good as over only a few months ago.
World champion Hamilton, whose car was the envy of most of his peers in 2008, hit the tyre barriers on Wednesday and ended up last. He was just as slow on Thursday. So not many smiles there.
Button scored three points last season to Hamilton’s 98 and had been dismissed by all and sundry. So much so, that Graham Sharpe of bookmakers Williams Hill had another pot shot at him last week when Brawn finally emerged from the remains of now-departed Honda.