Schumacher grabs pole as Button row rumbles on

Hungarian Grand Prix: Williams threaten court action to keep best of British while Barrichello agrees switch to BAR

If the Hungaroring is to excitement and overtaking what political correctness is to freedom of speech, at least some of the off-track action has entertained. First of all there has been BAR-Honda's clumsy handling of Jenson Button's hope of breaking his Williams contract to stay with them. Then came confirmation that Rubens Barrichello will be quitting Ferrari at the end of the season to go to BAR. Whether he will partner Button or the current No 2, Takuma Sato, is unlikely to be resolved for many months.

"I suppose it is ironic," Button conceded, having done everything he could 12 months ago to try to leave BAR for Williams. "But I need to be in the best position that I can be, with the best team. I've been in F1 six years and I haven't won a race. I want to win races and fight for the world championship, and I cannot afford three years to build up another team. It was definitely a mistake to sign a contract so early, I was a little misguided, but that's ultimately my responsibility."

To which Sir Frank Williams countered: "Jenson could have been better advised. Williams have a fully binding contract. There is no let-out clause. It is very clear and straightforward. There needs to be a clear understanding of the word 'commitment'. Once you give your word, you should keep your word.

"We have a right - and proper and correct legal right - to expect him to be here. English law is as clear as it comes. We will defend ourselves in court. We will protect our interests. Jenson Button emphatically, in capital letters, is not for sale."

The news about Barrichello lacked such drama. BAR's sporting director, Gil de Ferran, who has known his fellow Brazilian Barrichello since childhood, simply told Brazilian television: "It's always nice to work with old friends".

There is no word yet on who will replace Barrichello, but Sauber's Felipe Massa must be a good bet after several excellent drives in 2005. Asked recently who he thought was doing a good job out of the limelight, Michael Schumacher replied: "Massa. Give him a good car and I am sure that he will shine." Massa said yesterday that nothing has yet been agreed, but he was Ferrari's test driver in 2003 and has proved he is more than ready to move up.

Ferrari, like BAR and Renault, face other problems. This race marks the last time that cars may officially appear with tobacco advertising, which first appeared on Colin Chapman's Lotus F1 cars in 1968. The pan-European ban comes in at midnight tonight amid confusion over possible clarifications that would allow these teams to continue carrying logos at certain venues.

The anti-smoking pressure group ASH launched a public attack on those teams who plan to carry on. Their director, Deborah Arnott, said: "It is deplorable that Formula One teams, under pressure from their tobacco sponsors, are threatening to undermine the new law when its intention is perfectly clear - that is, an end to the glamorisation of smoking via sport.

"It is also regrettable that the European Commission have not given member states clear guidance on the implementation of the directive. But that does not give Formula One free rein to ignore the law."

Legal matters, meanwhile, appear to be the only hold-up to peace in Formula One, after a meeting in Cannes on Saturday morning saw FIA's president. Max Mosley, agree to the technical and sporting aspects of proposals put before him by the newly named Grand Prix Manufacturers' Association, aimed at unifying the sport from 2008 onwards. Further talks are expected, but there is hope in the air.

Hope is also blossoming in the Ferrari camp after Michael Schumacher surprised all his rivals by snatching a dominant pole position for this afternoon's race from McLaren's Juan Pablo Montoya and Toyota's Jarno Trulli. Kimi Raikkonen did a brilliant job to line up fourth despite being the first man to qualify, when the track was at its worst, while the series leader, Fernando Alonso, failed to get the best from his Renault and is only sixth in the line-up. The question everyone is asking is just how little fuel Schumacher has on board, and whether he can convert such a bold strategy into his second race win of the season, though he put the improvement down to a new Bridgestone tyre.

The normal ups and downs of Formula One life. One day, all that is rank about the sport surfaces, the next day all the good. But amidst it all, a footnote to some but not to his family and friends, McLaren's chef Darren Hawker was mourned after falling to his death on Wednesday morning from a hotel balcony in Budapest. For these people, the other aspects of a self-centred and avaricious sport paled into their true perspective.

News
Russell Brand was in typically combative form during his promotional interview with Newsnight's Evan Davis
peopleReports that Brand could stand for Mayor on an 'anti-politics' ticket
News
The clocks go forward an hour at 1am on Sunday 30 March
news
Arts and Entertainment
The Doctor finds himself in a forest version of London in Doctor Who episode 'In the Forest of the Night'
TVReview: Is the Doctor ever going stop frowning? Apparently not.
News
Voluminous silk drawers were worn by Queen Victoria
newsThe silk underwear is part of a growing trade in celebrity smalls
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Sport
footballMatch report: Real fight back to ruin Argentinian's debut
News
Candidates with surnames that start with an A have an electoral advantage
newsVoters are biased towards names with letters near start of alphabet
Arts and Entertainment
Isis with Lord Grantham (Hugh Bonneville)
TV
Arts and Entertainment
Jay James
TVReview: Performances were stale and cheesier than a chunk of Blue Stilton left out for a month
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

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news: musician splits with manager after police investigate assault claims

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news

Former Dr Feelgood splits with manager after police investigate assault claims
Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands ahead of the US midterm elections

Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands

The Senator for Colorado is for gay rights, for abortion rights – and in the Republicans’ sights as they threaten to take control of the Senate next month
New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

Evidence found of contact between Easter Islanders and South America
Cerys Matthews reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of Dylan Thomas

Cerys Matthews on Dylan Thomas

The singer reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of the famous Welsh poet
DIY is not fun and we've finally realised this as a nation

Homebase closures: 'DIY is not fun'

Homebase has announced the closure of one in four of its stores. Nick Harding, who never did know his awl from his elbow, is glad to see the back of DIY
The Battle of the Five Armies: Air New Zealand releases new Hobbit-inspired in-flight video

Air New Zealand's wizard in-flight video

The airline has released a new Hobbit-inspired clip dubbed "The most epic safety video ever made"
Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month - but can you stomach the sweetness?

Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month

The combination of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg (and no actual pumpkin), now flavours everything from lattes to cream cheese in the US
11 best sonic skincare brushes

11 best sonic skincare brushes

Forget the flannel - take skincare to the next level by using your favourite cleanser with a sonic facial brush
Paul Scholes column: I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo

Paul Scholes column

I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Jones and Rojo
Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

While other sports are stalked by corruption, we are an easy target for the critics
Jamie Roberts exclusive interview: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Jamie Roberts: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Wales centre says he’s not coming home but is looking to establish himself at Racing Métro
How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?