Briatore denies blocking Button

Briatore denies blocking Button

Renault team principal Flavio Briatore has denied recent reports that he was blocking former driver Jenson Button from testing with his new team. Button has been signed up by BAR for 2003 but the Englishman is still technically under contract to...

Renault team principal Flavio Briatore has denied recent reports that he was blocking former driver Jenson Button from testing with his new team. Button has been signed up by BAR for 2003 but the Englishman is still technically under contract to Renault until the end of December this year. The British motor racing press apparently claimed Briatore was preventing Button from taking up testing duties with BAR until his contract with Renault expires.

Flavio Briatore.
Photo by Renault F1.
Briatore refuted this, saying if BAR boss David Richards had asked for Button to start testing, he would not have refused: "It is true that Jenson is under contract with us up until the end of December," he explained. "But we have never been asked by either David Richards or Jenson's manager John Byfield to release Jenson from his contract earlier."

"After the Japanese Grand Prix, I was asked by Jenson's manager whether Jenson could visit the Honda factory, which I had no problem authorising. If David Richards had requested Jenson for testing duties, I would probably have accepted that that was fair."

Test driver Anthony Davidson kicked off BAR's winter testing schedule this week in the absence of Button and team mate Jacques Villeneuve. Davidson is due to continue on track at Barcelona next week and Villeneuve is expected to take to the wheel as well. There has been no word of when Button may make an appearance.

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Jenson Button , Jacques Villeneuve , Anthony Davidson , Flavio Briatore , David Richards