BAR issues Button statement

BAR has expressed satisfaction that Williams has lodged its Jenson Button contract with the Contracts Recognition Board and intimated that if the decision goes BAR's way, then there will be no problem in continuing to work with Button

BAR issues Button statement

The team's statement said: "BAR understands that Williams F1 has lodged a contract between itself and Jenson Button for 2005 with the Contract Recognition Board (CRB), and this now sets in motion the correct procedure for arbitration.

"BAR is pleased that, after weeks of speculation, the legitimate process of arbitration is being followed. The team places its faith in the CRB's judgement over the matter and will abide by the outcome.

"In the event that the CRB upholds BAR's contract with Jenson Button for the 2005 season, the team very much looks forward to working with him, and taking another step forward in its ambitious plans to win the world championship."

From the moment the dispute arose, many have doubted whether Button's defection can realistically be reversed even if the decision goes BAR's way. The suggestion is that with the damage already done to the relationship between Button and BAR, a ruling in the Brackley team's favour will not necessarily result in Button staying but will ensure that the team is properly compensated by Williams.

As to whether the Williams move is the right one for Button's career, opinion is also divided. On the one hand, at BAR Button had a rapidly improving team fully behind him, against a team-mate, Takuma Sato, over whom he has the upper hand most of the time. BMW-Williams, meanwhile, has underperformed this year by its normal standards and has already signed the highly touted Mark Webber, who is expected to forge a strong working relationship with technical director Sam Michael, a fellow Aussie.

On the other hand, the future intentions of BAR partner Honda are not clear as far into the future as Williams' partner BMW, and the future ownership of the team is uncertain beyond 2006. The European tobacco advertising ban comes into force at the end of July next year and the sponsorship agreement with current team owners, BAT, expires at the end of 2006. As well as that, F1 form tends to be cyclical and a Williams drive, like a McLaren seat, has historically been as good a guarantee of success as you are likely to get.

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