BAR Press releases about Button leaving BAR
Date: August 07, 2004 18:35
BAR Press Releases
Button Leaving BAR
Following reports yesterday that Lucky Strike B*A*R Honda's lead driver
Jenson Button is leaving to join the Williams team in 2005, B*A*R Team
Principal David Richards has made the following statement:
"We are absolutely astounded to hear that Jenson thinks that he is leaving
B*A*R for Williams next season. Neither myself, nor any other member of the
B*A*R team, has been contacted by Jenson to discuss this matter.
Jenson is under contract with B*A*R for 2005, since we took up an option on his services only last month. At no time during the last few months has
Jenson expressed anything other than his desire to continue working with
B*A*R to achieve our collective goal of winning the World Championship".
Jenson joined B.A.R in 2003 from Renault and has seen his career transformed as a result. During the four and a half seasons of his F1 career he has scored 106 points, of which 78 have been in the last year and a half with B.A.R. In 2004 Jenson took his first F1 podium and he is currently lying third in the drivers' championship.
At the German Grand Prix, 23 July 2004, Honda confirmed their long-term
commitment to B*A*R announcing the extension of their existing contract to
at least 2007, with an even greater commitment of engineering resources.
Their track record of 11 F1 World Championships clearly places them in an
outstanding position to provide the resources to take the team and Jenson to
the very top.
David continues: "It is our intention to enforce our current contractual
position with Jenson. My duty is to the 400-strong workforce which has
worked tirelessly over the past two seasons to give Jenson the car he has
today; and to our partners, whose unfailing support and commitment to the
team has contributed to the solid structure we now have in place.
Unfortunately this is now a matter for the lawyers and I have every
confidence that the legal process will confirm that yesterday's announcement has not only been premature but also invalid".
B*A*R has issued an ultimatum to Jenson Button's management company,
Essentially Sport, requiring them to arrange a face to face meeting between
Button and B*A*R executives by close of business on Monday or face immediate action to enforce B*A*R's contract with Button.
"We have been trying to talk to Jenson for days," said David Richards, B*A*R Team Principal. "He has a clear duty to all of those who've worked with him for the last two years to explain to them what is going on."
"We have complete confidence in the strength of our contractual rights,"
said David Richards "and in the option that we have exercised for 2005."
The option was approved at a board meeting of B*A*R on 20th July. Jenson and his management team were informed of this in writing well before the end of the option period on 31st July, a fact acknowledged by Essentially Sport. Notice of exercise of the option had also been lodged with F1's Contract Recognition Board in Switzerland.
"If people make commitments they should keep them - and I will use every
means available to me to make sure that all the requirements of our contract
are met," said Richards. "If we do not have a meeting with Jenson by Monday night to sort this out, the processes to enforce our rights under the
contract will commence without further notice."