Jenson Button may have his future decided at Silverstone, the home of the British Grand Prix, on the first weekend in July. On loan from Williams, Button had a tough year with Benetton in 2001 and came under fire from boss Flavio Briatore on more...
Jenson Button may have his future decided at Silverstone, the home of the British Grand Prix, on the first weekend in July. On loan from Williams, Button had a tough year with Benetton in 2001 and came under fire from boss Flavio Briatore on more than one occasion. In the opening races of this season the Englishman has picked up his pace, scoring two fourth places for Renault so far and Briatore has changed his opinions.
"It is very difficult now to say what will happen in 2003 because Williams have the option on him," said the Renault boss. "When we arrive in Silverstone then maybe we will decide something. But we have a different Jenson this year, he has changed completely, he concentrates; he is fantastic. We have a very good driver and he has done a great job."
Williams have already contracted Ralf Schumacher until the end of 2004 and have an option on Juan Pablo Montoya. If the team retains both drivers the chances of Button staying at Renault will increase, although he will have to continue his good performances as Briatore has the highly-rated Fernando Alonso waiting in the wings.
Briatore thinks that the arguments he had with Button last year ultimately did the Englishman good: "Last year I was very hard with Jenson because I saw that the guy had a lot of talent,"he said. "It was important to shake Jenson, to make him understand that at 21-years-old you have either a great future in F1 or you are finished. I believe he understood that. We had a lot of arguments, but I did it to help him because if I helped Jenson I helped the team with better results."
"He had a very good season in Williams and after that, especially for the British press, he was very popular. He had a lot of distractions and maybe he believed he was a top driver. But in any business you have to work very hard to succeed. He is a very intelligent guy, he understood he was going in the wrong direction, turned and now we have the true Jenson Button."