OFF THE BUTTON: McLaren driver Jenson Button's huge salary and poor form are contributing factors to his uncertain future at the British Formula 1 team. Image: AFP / Andrej Isakovic
LONDON, England - Two British journalists do not believe reports that Jenson Button will definitely be a McLaren driver in 2016.
A report by British broadcaster Sky this week claimed that the team's boss Ron Dennis "insists Jenson Button will stay at McLaren for 2016".
The headline followed his comments at Silverstone at the 2015 British GP on July 5 which declared: "Jenson Button has a two-year contract with McLaren. We are not even thinking about drivers at the moment."
However Daniel Johnson, writing for UK newspaper The Telegraph, said 35-year-old Button's future was as clouded now as it was for much of 2014. Ne wrote that the popular Briton's deal was actually not for two guaranteed years but "one plus one" - a definite year and then an option that McLaren must trigger.
Andrew Benson, the BBC's chief F1 writer, agreed: "Let's get one thing clear. Jenson Button is not guaranteed a seat at McLaren in 2016."
He said Dennis' quote was "both factually accurate and misleading".
The Telegraph's Johnson again: "(Dennis) has never been a master of communication. His latest comments on Jenson Button's future... are just the latest example."
Indeed, McLaren team boss Eric Boullier said at Silverstone: "Between now and, let's say, September 2015, which is more or less the time when we have to decide, maybe we have not sorted out the situation faster, they (the drivers) get frustrated, and want to go, so it's not in my hands."
SALARY A STUMBLING BLOCK?
Another factor could be money. Boullier was quoted by Spain's El Confidencia as saying: "So far we have a good prognosis for coming years but the lack of success is going to hurt us in terms of revenue and we're going to have to find a way to cover this."
McLaren pays Button the equivalent of R125-million a year so switching to a promising junior such as Kevin Magnussen or Stoffel Vandoorne could save the struggling team a considerable sum.
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