BAR Still Hoping to Keep Button

BAR still hope to retain British driver Jenson Button next season even though their task has been made more difficult by a two-race suspension

BAR Still Hoping to Keep Button

"We've made things more difficult for ourselves, no doubt," team boss Nick Fry told reporters at the Spanish Grand Prix on Friday where BAR were preparing to leave the Formula One paddock.

"It's now more complicated and more difficult than we first envisaged but we want Jenson for 2006 and beyond."

BAR and Formula One rivals Williams fought over Button's contract last season after the Briton, who finished third overall with 10 podiums in 17 races, tried unsuccessfully to leave his Honda-powered team.

Although details remain confidential, the Briton will be free to join Williams in 2006 if he is not within a certain percentage of the Championship lead by a given point in the season.

Now stripped of third place from the last San Marino Grand Prix, and with no points before that race, Button will now have to wait until the seventh round of the season before he can open his account.

Asked directly whether BAR had lost Button, Fry said that was not the case.

"It's far too early, we've got 19 races in total and the car is now getting faster and faster," he said. "We are in a position where we can win races. We won't give up on anything until the bitter end."

"Jenson is in absolutely great spirits," he added when asked about the driver's reaction to the suspension.

The ban was imposed for an infringement of the rules regarding a fuel tank and the weight of the BAR car.

The team announced on Friday that there would be no legal challenge to the ban due to problems with jurisdiction and a feeling that the disruption and damage would not serve the best interests of the sport.

"Jenson we treat as a part of the management of our team. He's been a part of the decision, he thinks this is the right thing to do and we're going to come out all guns blazing," declared Fry.

"This has reinforced everyone's resolve to do even better at the Nurburgring so we'll be out trying to win that one."

BAR's next race will be the European Grand Prix on May 29.

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