Button changes manager after Williams affair

Jenson Button's career will be guided by a new man from next year after his controversial manager John Byfield became the scapegoat for Button's ill-starred attempt to leave BAR-Honda for Williams earlier this season.

Byfield was part of the management team which publicly tried to switch Button to Frank Williams' team only to see Formula One's contract recognition board block the move.

Button admitted at the conclusion of that saga that he had been badly advised but stood by Byfield and his Essentially Sport group.

Now the 24-year-old has extended his contract with Essentially Sport by another three years, but as part of that announcement the group confirmed Byfield would leave his position as chief executive and chairman.

Byfield's role will be taken on a temporary basis by the director Duncan Hickman until a permanent appointment is made.

Announcing a profitable year for the group, Hickman said: "The group continues to perform well with all areas of the company contributing to the improved performance at the nine-month stage. Since we published our interim results I am delighted to announce that the company has signed a new three-year commercial agreement with Jenson Button."

On Byfield's departure, he added: "John has done an excellent job as CEO and chairman and, in particular, has established the group as one of the market leading management companies.

"We have identified the candidate who has been selected to succeed John and we hope to announce their appointment shortly."

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