2009 has seen Jenson Button and Brawn GP rise from the ashes of Honda to claim both championships and impress the critics who it couldn’t happen. However, according to Motorsport.com, this match made in heaven may be over after only one year. Recent reports of a rift in the championship camp, and Martin Whitmarsh adding fuel to the fire may see the champ in at McLaren with fellow Brit Lewis Hamilton for an all British lineup.
While this rumor has been out and about, only recently have comments from Martin himself added a gallon of fuel to this very combustible situation. When asked if McLaren were looking at the newly crowned champ, he was quoted as saying: “We’ve talked to a number of drivers. It wouldn’t be appropriate to say more than that. We’ll hire the two best drivers available to us as we always have.” While this comment does not openly say yes to the rumors, it does indicate that perhaps McLaren may try to swoop in and snatch the champ to form the only all champion team on next year’s grid.
Trouble has been brewing in the Brawn camp in regards to Jenson’s retainer bonus and future salary. The champion who has claimed he raced for next to free is looking for a large resign bonus given his success and championship. While it is no secret that Brawn are a low budget team, Jenson seems to forgotten the fact that he was nearly out of a ride at the beginning of the season, and thanks to Brawn was able to enjoy the success he has had. While Nick Fry has openly come out and crushed the rumors of a rift on the team, this salary argument is one that cannot seem to stay away for too long. Jenson Button has stated the time is now to discuss the pay problem since the season is over and the pressure of trying to win the championship has been cast aside. Time will only tell if this dispute is truly over or only just starting.
McLaren on the other hand have been searching for a #2 to Lewis Hamilton and have even negotiated the services of 2007 champion Kimi Raikkonen. Nico Rosberg has also been mentioned for the seat and now Button which all but certainly means that Heikki Kovalainen will be replaced. Rumor has it that Vodafone (lead McLaren sponsor) welcomes the prospect of both Button and Hamilton occupying the silver cars in 2010. One thing remains clear, as the season is set for its season finale in Abu Dhabi, the silly season continues to become more clustered and foggy as before. Keep it at Open Paddock for all of your silly season talk and updates.