Button's best future is with us, says Brawn

Team principal appeals to world champion but deal to form British ‘dream team’ at McLaren looks likely

Ross Brawn broke his silence yesterday to cast doubt on reports that Formula One world champion Jenson Button is poised to join rival team McLaren next season.

Speaking exclusively to The Independent, Brawn strongly advised the 29-year-old British driver that it is in his own best interests to stay with the team that took him to the world title this season, and dismissed suggestions that Button may have already signed a deal with McLaren that would see him drive alongside Lewis Hamilton in an all-British "dream team".

"Negotiations [with Button] are continuing and the reports that he has already agreed terms with McLaren are not helpful. I would be amazed if that were the case," said Brawn. "His best future is with our team, where he has a good group around him, and there's a lot to be said for that. The logical thing would be for him to stay with us, but of course logic doesn't always prevail."

Brawn, widely perceived to have saved Button's Formula One career by providing him with a car capable of winning the world championship, said that he last spoke to the driver at the weekend. That he is now heading off on a fishing holiday would appear to indicate he is reasonably relaxed about the situation.

Even so, the weight of opinion from pitlane insiders suggests that the move to McLaren is still on. On Friday Button fuelled rumours by making a very public tour of the McLaren headquarters in Woking, and he and his manager Richard Goddard returned to McLaren for further talks on Monday evening.

Button clearly hoped the takeover of Brawn GP by Mercedes, announced on Monday, would give the team the financial clout to increase their offer. Brawn, who remains team principal, is understood to have offered Button a basic salary of £4m with the freedom to boost that figure by signing personal endorsements and sponsorships. McLaren's offer is at least £2m a year more, but would deny the world champion as much freedom to chase commercial deals. Brawn GP paid Button £3m last year.

The takeover – which saw the car manufacturer take a 75 per cent stake in the team that won the constructors' championship – is reported to have made Ross Brawn, as majority shareholder, at least £35m, with some reports putting the figure closer to £70m. The team will change its name for next season to Mercedes F1.

However on Monday, Brawn chief executive Nick Fry made it clear the takeover did not mean their offer to Button would be raised. "We've had discussions with Jenson on what we think is a sensible salary and this is not going to change anything," Fry said. "We're running with a budget that is probably less than most and that's what Mercedes likes."

Not all observers believe a move to McLaren, which would place Button in direct comparison with the talented Hamilton, would be wise. Bernie Ecclestone, F1's commercial rights controller, is among those questioning the likelihood of the move. "Button and Brawn are probably just sparring and something will be worked out," he said yesterday.

Voices
There will be a chance to bid for a rare example of the SAS Diary, collated by a former member of the regiment in the aftermath of World War II but only published – in a limited run of just 5,000 – in 2011
charity appealTime is running out to secure your favourite lot as our auction closes at 2pm tomorrow
Arts and Entertainment
Mark Wright and Bianca Miller in the final of The Apprentice
tvMark Wright and Bianca Miller fight for Lord Sugar's investment
Arts and Entertainment
X Factor winner Ben Haenow has scored his first Christmas number one
music
Arts and Entertainment
James May, Jeremy Clarkson and Richard Hammond in the Top Gear Patagonia Special
tv
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
File: James Woods attends the 52nd New York Film Festival at Walter Reade Theater on September 27, 2014
peopleActor was tweeting in wake of NYPD police shooting
News
Claudia Winkleman and co-host Tess Daly at the Strictly Come Dancing final
people
News
i100
Extras
indybest
News
peopleLiam Williams posted photo of himself dressed as Wilfried Bony
Sport
Martin Skrtel heads in the dramatic equaliser
SPORTLiverpool vs Arsenal match report: Bandaged Martin Skrtel heads home in the 97th-minute
Arts and Entertainment
The Apprentice finalists Mark Wright and Bianca Miller
tvBut who should win The Apprentice?
News
The monkey made several attempts to revive his friend before he regained consciousness
video
Extras
indybest
News
Elton John and David Furnish will marry on 21 December 2014
peopleSinger posts pictures of nuptials throughout the day
Life and Style
A still from the 1939 film version of Margaret Mitchell's 'Gone with the Wind'
life
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

The 12 ways of Christmas

We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

The male exhibits strange behaviour

A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'
Marian Keyes: The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment

Marian Keyes

The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef creates an Italian-inspired fish feast for Christmas Eve

Bill Granger's Christmas Eve fish feast

Bill's Italian friends introduced him to the Roman Catholic custom of a lavish fish supper on Christmas Eve. Here, he gives the tradition his own spin…
Liverpool vs Arsenal: Brendan Rodgers is fighting for his reputation

Rodgers fights for his reputation

Liverpool manager tries to stay on his feet despite waves of criticism
Amir Khan: 'The Taliban can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'

Amir Khan attacks the Taliban

'They can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'
Michael Calvin: Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick