Benetton signs Button on two-year lease

Williams driver Jenson Button has been leased to Benetton on a two-year contract that could see the 20-year-old back with the Grove-based squad for 2003

Benetton signs Button on two-year lease

The announcement, predicted in Autosport magazine on July 20th, leaves the way clear for Champ Car ace Juan Pablo Montoya to join Williams from Chip Ganassi Racing. The Colombian's signing to partner Ralf Schumacher will be officially announced at the US Grand Prix on September 24th.

Williams has a five-year contract with Button and has stressed that the two-year deal is a temporary release.

Benetton is in a rebuilding phase following its buy-out by Renault. In theory, placing Button with the Enstone-based team allows him to hone his skills in a less pressured environment, before potentially returning to Williams in 2003 as a fully-developed Grand Prix driver.

"I am very thankful to Williams for having given me the great opportunity of stepping in to Formula 1," said Button. "I hope to be able to continue gaining valuable experience in F1 in order to reclaim my seat with the Williams team."

Williams boss Sir Frank Williams said: "Jenson has astonished the BMW Williams F1 Team with his immediate grasp of Formula 1 and with the calmness of his approach to driving an F1 car even under the greatest of pressures in a qualifying situation. There is no doubt in my mind that Jenson will go on to be a truly great racing driver."

Button will partner the recently re-signed Giancarlo Fisichella at Benetton, replacing Alexander Wurz. Next season, the team will use Renault's all-new 110-degree V10, as a precursor to dropping the Benetton name and becoming the official Renault F1 team in 2002.

"I am really happy to have signed with Benetton and Renault for the next two years," said Button. "They are not only a team with a world championship-winning history, but there is also a strong future with Renault. I want to start winning races and it's great to know I will be with a team that can help me do that."

Benetton boss Flavio Briatore appears unconcerned over the prospect of 'fine-tuning' Button for two years, then losing him again to a major rival.

"Jenson has done an incredible job for his first year in Formula 1," he said. "He has shown natural talent and intelligence, which are two important characteristics for a driver. I think his partnership with Benetton and Renault will be very beneficial to both sides."


shares
comments
BAR boss backs Zonta for rest of season

Previous article

BAR boss backs Zonta for rest of season

Next article

Legal Threats Block Ecclestone Biography

Legal Threats Block Ecclestone Biography
Load comments
The 70s US superteam that tried and failed to crack F1 Plus

The 70s US superteam that tried and failed to crack F1

Vel’s Parnelli Jones Racing was briefly one of the biggest names on the US motorsports scene, but its ambition outstripped its resources. STUART CODLING relates the story of a Formula 1 campaign cut off in its prime

The key details that boosted Red Bull and held back Hamilton in Verstappen’s USA victory Plus

The key details that boosted Red Bull and held back Hamilton in Verstappen’s USA victory

As the 2021 Formula 1 title battle winds towards its climax, the United States GP added another thrilling act in the Lewis Hamilton-Max Verstappen battle. Although Hamilton aced the start, Verstappen and Red Bull took the initiative with strategy and were richly rewarded, despite Mercedes' best efforts as the race went down to the wire

Formula 1
Oct 25, 2021
US Grand Prix Driver Ratings Plus

US Grand Prix Driver Ratings

On a baking hot afternoon at the returning Circuit of the Americas, Formula 1 drivers were tested to their limits. As the pressure on the title contending squads reaches an ever-greater level of intensity, the foremost challengers again showed their class, but were outshone by a standout drive from the upper midfield

Formula 1
Oct 25, 2021
Why F1's misunderstood party animal will thrive in retirement Plus

Why F1's misunderstood party animal will thrive in retirement

Three years on from Kimi Raikkonen's last Grand Prix victory at Austin, he is now six races away from ending the longest Formula 1 career in history. His friend and former Ice1 Racing rally team PR man ANTHONY PEACOCK explains why there’s nobody quite like the 2007 world champion and why F1 will miss him (but he won’t miss it)

Formula 1
Oct 24, 2021
The 10 greatest drives of lost legend Jo Siffert Plus

The 10 greatest drives of lost legend Jo Siffert

It's 50 years since Jo Siffert was killed in his prime at Brands Hatch. The Swiss scored just two world championship wins in a Formula 1 career spent largely with privateer teams, but showed on numerous occasions in single-seaters and in sportscars with Porsche that he could beat any of the best drivers of his era given the right equipment

Formula 1
Oct 24, 2021
Verstappen exclusive: How Red Bull’s ace has become F1 champion material Plus

Verstappen exclusive: How Red Bull’s ace has become F1 champion material

As Red Bull and Honda go all-out for victory in the Japanese engine manufacturer’s last season of its latest Formula 1 dalliance, Max Verstappen finds himself thrust into a compelling title fight with Lewis Hamilton. He told OLEG KARPOV about his evolution into a world championship contender and why Red Bull's no compromise ethos suits him down to the ground

Formula 1
Oct 23, 2021
How Mercedes went from Austin practice domination to "very tight at the front" with Red Bull Plus

How Mercedes went from Austin practice domination to "very tight at the front" with Red Bull

Mercedes has been on a roll of late in the ultra-tight fight to win the 2021 Formula 1 world championship. It started off well in practice at Austin for this weekend’s US Grand Prix, but Red Bull got closer as Friday unfolded and even seemed to find an edge in one critical area of what seems set to be another close contest

Formula 1
Oct 23, 2021
The six critical factors that could hand F1 2021 glory to Hamilton or Verstappen Plus

The six critical factors that could hand F1 2021 glory to Hamilton or Verstappen

The 2021 Formula 1 title battle is finely poised with six races remaining, as just six points separate championship leader Max Verstappen from seven-time champion Lewis Hamilton. In such a closely-fought season, the outcome could hinge on several small factors playing the way of Red Bull or Mercedes

Formula 1
Oct 22, 2021