Fry: Button Wants to Stay with BAR

Jenson Button wants to stay with BAR for next season rather than join Williams, BAR team boss Nick Fry said on Sunday

The 25-year-old Briton, who got his first podium of a troubled season with third place at the German Grand Prix on Sunday, is thought to be obliged by his contract to return to Williams for 2006.

Williams said on Sunday they expected Button to join them next season and could see no circumstances that could allow him to back out of the deal agreed last year.

"We do have an existing contract for Jenson, with him for '06, and we fully expect him to arrive at Williams at the due period of time," team owner Frank Williams told Britain's ITV television.

He said there were "no conditions regarding engine partner or any existing JB (Button) contract" in the deal agreed between them and Button.

"There is nothing that will change that," said Williams.

Fry begged to differ.

"Jenson wants to stay here, and the ball is in Jenson's court to now sort it out with Williams," he said.

"Frank is no doubt correct. If he says it's a contract, then that's one thing, but I don't really think that's the issue.

"I certainly wouldn't want any employee, let alone a driver in my team, who didn't want to be here. You can take a horse to water, but you can't make it drink.

"The driver is the pivotal role in the team, and if they are not fully motivated and they don't want to be at a particular team, then they are not going to do anything to the best of their ability.

"You can't force people to do something they don't want to do."

Reinforced Desire

Fry said Button's performance on Sunday, which included an overtaking manoeuvre on World Champion Michael Schumacher, had reinforced BAR's desire to keep him.

"It was a great performance from Jenson and the team," he said. "Jenson demonstrated quite clearly why we wanted to keep him.

"He overtook a numerous-time World Champion who was fairly determined in front of his home crowd to keep him behind, and Jenson found a way by and pulled out a lot."

Although Sunday's race was Button's best of the season, he did appear on the podium at the San Marino Grand Prix in April before being disqualified when his car was found to be underweight when fully drained of fuel.

Button wanted to join Williams, the team with which he made his debut in 2000, for this season but was forced to remain at Honda-powered BAR for one more year after a legal battle between the two sides.

Honda have since bought 45 percent of BAR while former champions Williams have looked increasingly uncompetitive and have yet to confirm their engine supplier for 2006 after BMW announced they were buying Sauber.

"This is a team which is half-owned by a motor company that has won the World Championship 11 times," Fry said.

"The other team that wants him seems to be in trouble at the moment, so the long and short-term perspective, any driver would want to be here given a choice between the two."

Fry said Button had not been given deadline but BAR would prefer the matter was resolved before the Turkish Grand Prix on August 21.

"Clearly it's in the interests of everyone that we do this as quickly as possible," he said. "I'd ideally like it cleared up in the next three or four weeks."

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