Decision day for Button

After months of speculation and countless arguments from lawyers, Jenson Button should finally find out his Formula 1 future on Wednesday when the Contracts Recognition Board delivers its verdict about which team he is contracted to for 2005

Decision day for Button

The CRB, which finally met in Milan on Saturday to discuss the case, has spent the last three days deliberating its verdict and preparing an official judgment on the case. That is expected to be delivered to the lawyers of both Williams and BAR on Wednesday afternoon - before the news is then conveyed on to Button and the public.

Both BAR and Williams have kept their cards very close to their chest since Saturday's hearing as they await the outcome of the case - and neither side has been willing to express any overtly optimistic comments about its outcome.

Although there had been fears that the CRB's ruling would mark the beginning of prolonged legal proceedings, with the possibility of further action being taken in the High Court by the losing side, insiders claim that such a scenario is unlikely.

Once the Button decision has been made, then the losing team will almost certainly make a swift decision about finding a replacement driver for having lost Button.

In BAR's case, team boss David Richards made it clear last week that he would likely promote third driver Anthony Davidson to a race seat alongside Takuma Sato.

Williams is believed to have already decided that if it does not get Button then it will promote Antonio Pizzonia to the race seat alongside Mark Webber - although Nick Heidfeld is believed to still have an outside chance.

All of this could be exceptionally bad news for David Coulthard, whose hopes of staying in F1 next season are fading rapidly. His only realistic chance is that whoever buys Jaguar is interested in a deal with him.

Button himself is also likely to abide by the CRB's decision - despite speculation this week that he would rather sit out the 2005 campaign completely than race for BAR. What is more realistic if BAR wins is that he accepts a one-year deal with the team before joining Williams for 2006.

With BAR chasing its maiden victory in this weekend's Brazilian Grand Prix, Richards for one is hoping that a line can finally be drawn under the whole controversy.

"Clearly I can't hide my frustration over the situation that arose with Jenson in the middle of the year, but hopefully by the time we get to Brazil there will be a result from that and we can put it behind us," he said.

The one uncertainty that will remain after Wednesday, however, will be Button's future with manager John Byfield. Speculation is rife that the British ace will part company with his manager at the end of the season after being disappointed with how the whole planned team switch was handled and made public.

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