Analysis: BAR Loss Leaves Button Free

BAR's two race ban from Formula One over their illegal fuel tank has all but sealed Jenson Button's switch to Williams next year

Analysis: BAR Loss Leaves Button Free

Irrespective of what impact the ban and disqualification from the San Marino Grand Prix has on Button's relationship with the team he tried to leave last year, the much talked-about performance clause that decides his future is now looking almost certain to fall into Williams' favour.

Button needs to score 75 percent of the World Championship leader's points by the end of August, which effectively means the Turkish Grand Prix on August 21.

With no points on the board at the moment, there is a likely chance that his return to Formula One at the European Grand Prix on May 29 will see him down on current Championship leader Fernando Alonso by almost 50 points.

And although there would still theoretically be able to score heavily in the eight races up to Turkey, the chances are pretty slim of him closing down the Championship leader at such a rate to get within the 75 percent margin.

Even with the kind of competitiveness the BAR007 showed at Imola in its illegal form such a feat would be difficult, but a factor to consider is that BAR will be hindered from now on by having to make modifications to the way in which they run their cars in a bid to not fall foul of the regulations again.

If BAR technical director Geoff Willis' claims are correct and the team's Honda engine will not run without less than 6kg of fuel on board, which cannot be counted as ballast on the car, then the team are going to have to carry a pretty major weight penalty for the rest of the season.

Rivals whose collector tanks need only two or three kilos of fuel to run efficiently will now be handed a weight advantage over BAR, whereas under BAR's previous interpretation of the rules they were the ones who had the edge over the other teams.

Although the extra 6kg weight will only penalise BAR by around two-tenths of a second per lap, that it still enough to hinder qualifying performances, car handling and overall race pace - as well as putting further stress on the car and its brakes.

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Series Formula 1
Drivers Jenson Button
Author Jonathan Noble
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