BAR needs success to keep Button

British American Racing knows that it will need to have an impressive performance in 2005 if it is to hold on to Jenson Button next year. Button's contract with BAR stipulates that he will only have to stay in 2006 if he has more than 70% of the total number of points of the World Championship leader on July 31 2005. If Michael Schumacher and Ferrari enjoy runaway success again this year it is going to be tough for BAR to meet that option and Button would be free to go to Williams. This is one issue, the other point that arises from that is that there may be an entertaining competition going on for the second Williams drive in 2005 but neither Antonio Pizzonia nor Nick Heidfeld is likely to be offered anything more than a one-year deal because with Mark Webber already under contract in 2006 and Button a likely recruit unless BAR performs exceptionally well, the Williams team cannot make any commitment to a second driver beyond perhaps a Williams option for the future. Button in the meantime continues to talk up his hopes for 2005 and says that he will not start talking about 2006 until 2005 is out of the way.

BAR has confirmed that Button's option is based on a target which will be relative to the championship leader.

This helps to explain why BAR was so unwilling to release Anthony Davidson for a Williams test at the end of last year because the team knows that if Button does depart it is going to need someone who knows the team and the cars very well. Davidson would fit the bill perfectly.

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