Jenson Button hasn't always been a 'friend of the team' at Williams

22-01-2021 14:54 | Updated: 22-01-2021 18:26
Jenson Button hasn't always been a 'friend of the team' at Williams

Jenson Button and the Williams F1 team announced Friday that the two parties will be reunited after 20 years. The 2009 world champion will take up the position of Senior Advisor. In the announcement Jost Capito, Williams' new managing director, said Button had "always remained a friend of the team", but that is not entirely true.

Button made his debut at Williams in 2000, but from day one he had no chance of keeping the seat. Williams was desperate to have Juan Pablo Montoya, who was racing in the C.A.R.T. championship, and behind the scenes, a deal was already in place with Chip Ganassi Racing.

Williams retained an option on Button's services until 2003, but the young Briton was sidelined first by Benetton and Renault and later by BAR. Team owner Flavio Briatore even accused him of not taking his job seriously.

A contractual mess from Button

However, after a strong season in 2004, Button's market value had risen again and he decided it was time to return to Williams, which at the time still had factory support from BMW. He signed a contract for 2005, forgetting that he still had a contract with BAR for that season. His manager didn't do a great job shall we say.

The BAR contract took precedence and so the move to Williams was postponed for a year. In that year a lot happened. Williams lost the factory support of BMW for 2006, while BAR became the factory team of Honda. Button decided to stay with BAR Honda for 2006 even though the contract with Williams was already signed.

Sir Frank was, to say the least, not amused and went to court. Williams demanded that Button had to hand over a large sum of money to get out of his contract. The judge agreed with Williams and reportedly Button had to buy out his contract for about 20-30 million dollars. A pricey decision, but one that won him the world title a few years later.

Video player

More videos

  • Small
  • Big