Richards 'confident' about CRB

BAR team boss David Richards has said that he remains confident about the chances of Jenson Button staying put next season, ahead of the crucial meeting of Formula 1's Contracts Recognition Board on Saturday

Richards 'confident' about CRB

The CRB, which is convening in Milan, is due to declare the outcome of its review of whether Button's 2005 contract with BAR is valid, or whether the Briton was justified in signing a deal to join Williams.

There is a mounting feeling within the F1 paddock that BAR will be victorious in the outcome of the case - and that will in turn lead to the Briton remaining at the Brackley-based outfit next year rather than a separate deal being agreed with Williams for him to jump ship.

Speaking to the British media about the situation on Tuesday, Richards said: "I know there are a few days before the CRB meet but I am very relaxed and confident.

"With Jenson coming third [in Japan] and Takuma Sato fourth we have extended our lead over Renault in the fight for second in the constructors' championship and it shows what a great team we are. You look at some of the other teams and how their relationships have broken down and the way we are performing.

"We've grown stronger as the season has gone on and it's a credit to Jenson. And it's a great credit to the team in the way they have got on with their jobs in a professional way."

Should Button stay at BAR, then it is likely that Williams will choose between Antonio Pizzonia and David Coulthard to be Mark Webber's team-mate - although Nick Heidfeld is also pushing hard for a deal.

There is also growing speculation that the way the whole Button situation has been handled, and especially the way it was made public, is likely to lead to him parting ways with management company Essentially Sport at the end of the year.

Button himself admits that his future is now out of his hands - despite comments earlier this year that whatever happened he would be a Williams driver in 2005. "The CRB hearing is at the weekend so I think we can wait a few more days before we get an answer," he said in Japan.

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