Exclusive - Jenson Button on Williams, Webber, BAR and Barrichello... 06 Sep 2005
Two years in a row Jenson Button has kept the paddock guessing about his future with the same question: will he stay or will he go? We caught up with him in Monza to see if an answer is any closer.
Q: What is the state of negotiations between you, BAR and Williams?
Jenson Button: I talk frequently with Frank (Williams) and I have been at Grove but Frank knows that I want to remain with BAR as I want to stay with a team that is able to fight for the championship. Last year Williams was BMW-Williams, which meant it was a manufacturer team, but with BMW gone Williams will be a privateer team with an engine supplier that has a big history in F1 but a rather uncertain future. And at the end it is my career that has priority for me so, I want to be where I think I can achieve my goals.
Q: There is a certain irony in your current situation. Last year you desperately wanted to leave BAR for Williams, this year you desperately want to stay with BAR and not move to Williams
JB: Looking at it from the outside it sure seems theres a lot irony involved, but the truth is that the situation at BAR had seen a dramatic change with Hondas acquisition of 45 percent of the team. When that happened it was clear that Honda is committed to fight for the championship and will set free all resources to win, whereas the situation at Williams has changed from a potential winning team to a question mark.
Q: Staying at BAR would make Rubens Barrichello your team mate; move to Williams and it would be Mark Webber. What is your feeling on both possibilities?
JB: I do not have any preferences, as I have teamed up with neither one of them before. Both are experienced drivers, with in my opinion Rubens being the one able to have a bigger input on the development of the team. And in general it is always preferable to have two drivers that have the ability to win because it boosts motivation. I would find it very annoying to have a team mate who is one second slower than myself.
Q: Last year BAR catapulted themselves into the big time with second position in the constructors championship, moving the team and their garage to the sharp end of the pit lane . What has gone so wrong this season?
JB: We had problems with the new regulations and went aerodynamically in the wrong direction - as Ferrari did. But from mid season we saw big improvements that make me guess that specially in Brazil and Shanghai we will be very close to Renault - if not to Mclaren. And regarding the paddock position - the same thing goes for Ferrari, they also will lose their number-one spot and move way down the paddock. But such is racing.
Q: With only four races to go, how would you sum up the 2005 season?
JB: Sure, I cannot be satisfied with how it went so far, but seeing where we are heading to I will predict that we will be able to add quite some points to our 24-point constructor championship account. And I am very confident for next season.
Q: There has been much talked about a new qualifying format for 2006 with a proposal submitted by the drivers suggesting two flying laps each. What would be your preference?
JB: I grew up with the single-lap qualifying format so I would like to stick with it. If you make a mistake it can happen anytime. And I do not have problems in concentrating on only one flying lap.