Button linked with shock switch to McLaren

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The Independent Online

Brawn GP have been warned to sort out Jenson Button's contract soon or risk losing the new Formula One world champion.

The news comes amidst speculation Button could form an all-British dream team with Lewis Hamilton at McLaren next year.

With a number of vacancies still to be filled on next year's grid, Button may become a man in demand, especially as he would take the 'number one' on the car to that team.

The 29-year-old, who was crowned in Brazil on Sunday, has made it clear he wants to stay with Brawn after helping him become champion.

However, Button has yet to sign a new deal with Brawn for 2010 as it is understood he and the team are at odds over his salary.

After agreeing to take a £5million pay cut to £3million to drive for Brawn for this year following Honda's demise, it is believed Button is looking to return to his former wage.

Brawn GP chief executive Nick Fry confirmed after Button's title triumph the difference in negotiations was "a bridge that can be crossed".

Button's manager, Richard Goddard, maintains the situation should have been resolved by now, so avoiding all the gossip.

"Brawn could have sorted Jenson out weeks ago and none of this would be going on," Goddard told BBC Sport.

"We've been trying to agree terms with them. He's made it clear he wants to stay.

"Had they agreed a contract there would be no speculation, which won't die until Brawn offer him new terms."

In a warning shot to Brawn, Goddard added: "A lot of quality seats may still be available, so it's down to Brawn to make us an offer."

McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh has certainly not dismissed the prospect of signing Button, in particular as they are one team who could comfortably afford Button's demands.

"We've talked to a number of drivers," confirmed Whitmarsh, who are likely to replace Heikki Kovalainen after the final race of the season in Abu Dhabi next week.

"It wouldn't be appropriate to say more than that. We'll hire the two best drivers available to us, as we always have."

Mercedes Motorsport boss Norbert Haug has today seemingly poured cold water on the story.

However, the German's comments have to be taken with a pinch of salt bearing in mind Mercedes are looking to leave McLaren and buy into Brawn for next year, and would naturally want Button on board.

"There are no current negotiations with Jenson Button," remarked Haug.

"I do understand the fact that people in England are dreaming of an English team with two world champions in the cockpits.

"However, dreams don't always come true."