BAR Deny Offering a Deal for Button

BAR have not offered Williams any 'driver-plus-cash' deal in a bid to keep Briton Jenson Button, team boss Nick Fry said on Tuesday

BAR Deny Offering a Deal for Button

"No offer has been made and there have been no discussions," he told Reuters.

"I've read a number of stories which have suggested a deal is being put together. That is not the case."

British newspapers reported that the Honda-powered team planned to offer Williams their highly-rated test driver Anthony Davidson plus a significant cash sum in exchange for allowing Button to stay at BAR.

The papers suggested BAR, who are fighting hard to keep Button, would pay Davidson's salary for two years as part of a soccer-style transfer deal.

Williams, who gave Button his Grand Prix debut in 2000, agreed a contract with the driver last year.

Despite Fry's denial of an offer, team sources said BAR would be happy to discuss a deal although there was no indication that Williams were interested.

"There is no suggestion to date from Williams that they want to do a deal," agreed Fry.

Frank Williams said at the weekend that he expected Button to join them in January and could see no circumstances that would change that.

"Frank has always had a good relationship with Jenson but he is not taking kindly to the way he is trying to avoid returning to the team," The Sun quoted a 'Williams insider' as saying.

"At the moment Jenson is one of the team's greatest assets and Frank is not about to be turned over."

Legal Battle

Williams and BAR fought a legal tug-of-war over Button last year after the Briton said he wanted to return to the BMW-powered team.

Since then, former champions Williams and their German engine partners have fallen out while Japanese car giant Honda have bought 45 percent of BAR.

Fry has said Button wants to stay with BAR, who believe they can offer the 25-year-old a better chance of being World Champion.

Button has refused to comment on the situation and Fry said BAR did not know the details of his contract.

"The contract which allegedly exists is between his (Button's) company and Williams," he said. "We haven't seen the contract and nor do we have any knowledge of what is in it, barring the apocryphal."

Fry said that it was in everyone's interests for the situation to be sorted out quickly: "I'd say three or four weeks, but we'd prefer it to be sooner."

BAR blocked Davidson from testing with Williams last year when they had a vacancy alongside Australian Mark Webber but Fry said they would not stand in his way if a top opportunity came along.

"He's used to driving for a decently-resourced and run Formula One team and I think Anthony is raring to drive. We wouldn't unreasonably stand in his way to do that."

 

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Series Formula 1
Drivers Jenson Button
Author Alan Baldwin
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