Button stalemate in Williams talks

"We've been talking," Goddard said, "but there has been no progress so far. Various things have been batted about, but we have definitely not discussed things such as how much or when. We have not yet reached a bartering stage."

Button said: "I have been to Grove [the Williams team headquarters in Oxfordshire] to see Frank and we have talked, but not yet to my satisfaction."

Goddard is hoping that 15 September might bring some pressure to bear, as that is when Williams-BMW have to decide whether to take up an option on their current driver, Nick Heidfeld. The young German missed last weekend's Italian Grand Prix after complaining of headaches on Saturday morning after a crash in testing. He will drive again at Spa this Friday, before making a decision whether to compete in next weekend's Belgian Grand Prix.

Red Bull are expected to confirm in Belgium that they have bought the Minardi team from Paul Stoddart. The company's founder, Dietrich Mateschitz, will set up a junior team so he can accommodate all four drivers he currently has at Formula One level.

But the Austrian is under increasing pressure over his insistence on retaining his fellow countryman Christian Klien, who will again race in Belgium, as David Coulthard's partner in the existing team, which will use Ferrari engines next year. The former karting world champion Tonio Liuzzi is thus likely to have to drive an updated 2005 Red Bull alongside rising American talent Scott Speed in the junior team next year, instead of partnering Coulthard as expected.

"A lot of people inside and outside the team are struggling to understand why he [Mateschitz] seems so desperate to bow to pressure from the Austrian media," one insider said at Monza. "It's as if he is scared of standing up to them. Within the team Klien has some support, but a lot of people think he has gone as far as he is likely to."

While Red Bull do not appear to appreciate what they have, BMW are known to be interested in partnering Liuzzi with Heidfeld in 2006 when they convert Peter Sauber's private team into their official works enterprise.

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